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Saturday, November 17, 2012

On growing the seed of faith

At first when I was young, I believed in God. I believed that God the father sent Jesus his son to save all mankind from eternal damnation. I cried as I was led to salvation. I asked Jesus to intercede on my behalf. I asked him to care for me, teach me, and to write my name into the Book of Life.
Revelation 20:15 — And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
Never before, and never after, was my faith so great. But then I started listening to teachers in that place where that old snake the devil, who drips his poison into the river of knowledge we so thirst for, has built his stronghold. My faith was discouraged; I guess that's the best way of putting it. It was a process that can only be described as diabolical.

It all started with Santa Claus. The world—parents, teachers, television shows, everyone I met—went all out encouraging my faith in Santa Claus, then when I absolutely believed the legend, they yanked the rug out from under me with a big old grin. It was all in fun they proclaimed. They told me lies they explained, so that they could enjoy watching me, enjoy believing them. I don't know how it first happened that everyone decided to teach kids about Santa Claus, but I know the result for me. A nugget of cynicism was embedded deeply in the center of my heart. Yes, that was the very first slap in the face of my innocence. It was the kind of slap that has my ears ringing to this very day. The way the world makes fools of young children by tricking them into believing in Santa Claus is a terrible idea. Parents need to explain the meaning of make-believe before practicing make-believe.

At church I learned about God and Jesus, and at school they taught me about history and evolution. These subjects are not mutually incompatible, but let's just say they're not exactly peanut butter and jelly either. The only truth I finally came to accept is that nobody knows the truth. What else can a rational person believe? There is no absolute proof either way, and a rational and logical person who is forced to witness ideologues on both sides of this debate stand forth with these intransigent proclamations of what is and is not true, is left finally with the only theory that makes any sense: People are crazy! Thus was the seed of this, my great cynicism, watered and fertilized with both truth and lies and I neither knowing nor caring which was which.

Another seed besides cynicism was planted in my heart during those innocent days of my youth. That seed is faith. It was never watered. It was never fertilized. It has waited there all these long years, for this moment, for these days, and for these times. I witness for you today that I am changing. A few weeks ago could never have seen the person I was, writing the words you read this day. So today I have questions for you who read these words: Does faith in God make me weak or strong? Do my hopes and fears, my laughter and tears, make you ashamed for me, or for yourself?

I don't know how or why, but a few days ago I decided to ask God for faith. I witness that every day that prayer is answered. I still don't know the truth. I still don't even really know who I am. I do know I'm no longer the person who I was. These are days that will test us. Every day is a test, every moment. I am weak but prayer strengthens me. If you find yourself now, still reading these words then I believe that somewhere within you is that seed of faith. If you pray for its growth it will grow.

Words are funny things. They mean different things to different people. I don't stand here today and intransigently proclaim every word in the Bible is true, but what I do believe is that the truth is found within it, if you seek it, if you pray for it. There's not much time left. Across the land there is war and rumors of war. Iran will have nuclear weapons very soon. A powerful leader of this the most powerful country in the history of time, could stand athwart the tracks of destiny and say to the servants of Satan who lead Iran towards Armageddon: Hold! You shall not go another step! Alas, the free people of this nation—lacking faith—chose wrongly. Now it is, that the dark prophecy of Revelation looms over us all.

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