Friday, 14 June 2019

Wandering, Wondering, and Welcomed Back

(originally journaled May 20, 2018)

A friend posted on Facebook that he's wondering if it's possible to return to Jesus without having to deal with church. Seems to me that the mere fact he's thinking about this means that You have probably already initiated the conversation.

It made me think of my own fears: that I won't be accepted after I've "denied" You or at least not stood up for You and complained about Your church and wondered if it's all trueafter all. Fear and embarrassment about what people might think of me if I "stood up strong and declared my belief in You" Fear of maybe "having" to go to church and be involved in programs and things there that I don't want to or am afraid of.

You know I sometimes even wonder if You are real, at least in the distinct terms or definitions of You I have been taught. Yet it's pretty apparent You keep calling me back--a miracle in itself.  Well, I know that my "wonderings" are more on an intellectual level since deep inside it always ends up that I know You are with me and always have been.

You don't let Your children go, do You (unless maybe they really, really want to, and really, really deny You)? I remember going to a church camp and there was a young man, a few years older than me, who had I guess wandered away, and then there he was, talking about how You'd drawn him back, and then they sang this song that has always stuck by me no matter my own wonderings and wanderings:

"Welcome back to the things that you once believed in,
Welcome back to what you knew was right from the start....
Welcome back to the love that is in your heart.
I know that you thought you could turn your back,
And no one could see in your mind,
But I can see that you know better now....
Sometimes you just don't know what you're missing,
Til you leave it for awhile.
Welcome back to Jesus."
(Chuck Girard).

I've found myself wondering, lately, where I got so off track for so long. And why? But maybe it was a stripping kind of time. Pulling away parts that were extras, padding that was blocking me from seeing You. (Which is maybe why I'm nervous about picking up so many things related to church--and even personal devotions and stuff).

I don't want to do things because I "should" but only because when it comes down to it, I know I do believe in and love You, even with all my doubts and wonderings and wanderings from all the paraphernalia that has gathered around You.

It's easier, I guess, to "do things" that "show love" than to actually bare one's heart and be vulnerable and actually love. I don't like to be hurt. I don't like to be scorned.

I like to be intellectual, because it feels safer. And it's easier to accept things that can be proved. I'm a bit skittish about things that can't be proved. Though it seems that a lot of things that once were "proven" haven't turned out to be so.

Faith is a difficult thing because we can't see it, quantify it. Can't even feel it emotionally a lot of the time. Yet ... You have always been here with me. I've never doubted You. (Though I've doubted, sometimes still do, the theology and theory of it).

I know I'm not the only one who thinks about these things. So many of Your children do (and yes, I'm pretty sure they're still Your children, even with all their wonderings and questionings and fears and stuff. Because You don't let go, do You? You patiently keep loving, drawing ...)

Like Octavius Winslow wrote:

"Child of My love, lean hard,
And let Me feel the pressure of thy care;
I know thy burden, child. I shaped it;
Poised it in Mine Own hand; made no proportion
In its weight to thine own unaided strength.
For even as I laid it on, I said,
'I shall be near, and while she leans on Me,
This burden shall be Mine, not hers;
So shall I keep My child within the circling arms
Of My Own love.' Here lay it down, nor fear
To impose it on a shoulder which upholds
The government of worlds. Yet closer come:
Thou art not near enough. I would embrace thy care;
So I might feel My child reposing on My breast.
Thou lovest Me? Doubt not then;
But loving Me, lean hard."

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