Nothing Wrong with the Manual

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As a young kid I built my share of model airplanes, cars and battleships. The process was often hard work requiring great attention to detail, painfully following step by step instructions, especially as I graduated from simple to more complex projects. It was all worth it in the end when I could drink in the sight and feel of my completed masterpiece all glued and painted with decals applied, with even a few moving parts. In those days all the instruction manuals were written in English for English speakers – not translated through a computer program —you could trust the manual to be accurate. Skip a step or attach some piece out of sequence and you’ll end up in trouble, having to frantically try to take it apart before the glue dries. Then you start phase of assembly again — per the instructions.
A friend was once venting as he was smack in the middle of a season of the bitterness of soul. Disappointment in his current outcomes in life, work and probably marriage too. Disillusioned with God overall, I could empathize very readily. Sounded like something from the book of Ecclesiastes – questioning some of the very foundation pillars that would support our “Christian” beliefs: the goodness of God, his fairness, even his wisdom in creating such a broken race, and ultimately if he’s really going to pull off some major victory plan in the end. Yet even if he did, how could a good and wise all-powerful God…? Well, how could he…fill in the blank. Be all that, or perhaps be at all?
Whether I’ve stretched my friend’s complaints beyond what he meant I’m not certain. But I know — we know, many of us have or will face some similar crisis someday, if not many times in our life on planet earth. Some of us will become so bitter we’ll abandon faith; others of us suppress all nagging questions in the name of well … “faith”. The result is a kind of sanitized schizophrenia where we outwardly adhere to our creeds while inwardly we are practical unbelievers.
I commended my friend for his honesty about the state of his heart/mind and chose not try to come up with some sage response.
As I quieted my own heart here’s what I arrived at: First, there are far too many intelligent and honest witnesses past and present who have weathered the most severe sufferings life could dish and came out worshipping and knowing God and his goodness in ways that stagger human logic. Second, to quote the lyrics of some contemporary worship from Bethel Church, “I’ve tasted and seen of the sweetest of Loves, when my heart besoms free and my shame is undone”… I have indeed and cannot deny it. Finally, the words of God — the scriptures. I believe the accounts handed down to us that promise God’s goodness here and eternal glory with Him. As C.S. Lewis said, “ I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”

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