It’s no secret that I have my doubts from time to time. Sometimes they are caused by stuff I read that challenge me theologically. Mostly, however, my doubts come from those moments in life when I’m no longer certain God cares anymore.
That’s how it was for me last week. I can’t think of one particular thing that set it off, though. It was more like a culmination of different things. Either way, I had all these thoughts and doubts and worries plaguing my mind. If God is all-loving, why does He allow the world to be so crappy? When does it get better, like the videos said it would? Maybe Rob Bell was both right and wrong: Hell is here on earth, but in the end love does not win.
And that’s when I started hearing that old sacred echo again.
It started when I was listening to Sara Groves’ All Right Here album. The first song, “Less Like Scars,” immediately stood out to me:
“And I feel you here
And you're picking up the pieces
It seemed out of my hands, a bad situation
But you are able
And in your hands the pain and hurt
Look less like scars and more like character.”
I thought, “That sounds like a great idea: God picking up the pieces. But does He really pick up the pieces, or do I have to pull myself up by my own bootstraps?”
Then while talking to my friend Renee about it, she sent me this passage from Scripture:
“Come, let us return to the LORD.
He has torn us to pieces
but he will heal us;
he has injured us
but he will bind up our wounds.
After two days he will revive us;
on the third day he will restore us,
that we may live in his presence.
Let us acknowledge the LORD;
let us press on to acknowledge him.
As surely as the sun rises,
he will appear;
he will come to us like the winter rains,
like the spring rains that water the earth.” --Hosea 6:1-3, emphasis mine
“A song about God picking up the pieces,” I thought, “and then this passage about God’s healing? Is God trying to tell me something?”
Later on that day I decided to read Hebrews chapter three, which was the passage we were going to discuss Monday night at Bible study. The first verse immediately got my attention:
“Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest.” (NIV, emphasis mine)
“Okay, so first there’s a song about God picking up the pieces, then a passage about how God will hear those who repent, and now the Bible’s telling me to fix my thoughts on Jesus. This is getting weird!” I figured if the Gospel text for Sunday’s sermon followed along the same lines, then God was definitely trying to tell me something.
Sure enough, my church’s bulletin said Sunday’s sermon was going to be on the parable of the two sons, which ends with this: “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you.” (Matthew 21:31)
This all may seem like random chance to you, but I couldn’t help seeing a pattern:
A second chance.
By the end of the night, I finally just said, “Alright, You win!”
Have you ever felt like God was trying to tell you something? Discuss in the comments below.