Thursday, February 15, 2018

In This Time of Desperation

I wake up with a general heaviness. It seems the world has turned upside down. Yes, there has nearly always been death and destruction and, yes, it has often been violent and ugly, but in the here and now, not a day goes by where I am not grieved by mass murder, kidnapping, sexual abuse, and a list of atrocities too long to mention.

Sometimes, it feels difficult to stand under the weight of these nightmares.

A theology professor (and pastor) from my university has been accused of sexual assault and rape. He admits to the relationship but says it was consensual. Regardless of the eventual verdict, he abused his position in the life of this young woman--whether criminally or not. Regardless, he betrayed his wife of several decades. Regardless, a community is reeling. A church is devastated. Countless pastors, religious leaders, and lay leaders, who studied under him for the years and years he taught as a professor, are questioning their education, reconciling the man they thought they knew with the man behind these allegations, moving forward after their world swiveled sharply off its axis.

I understand sin. I know that it is ever and always possible for me to make egregious error in both judgement and morals. I know that we are all sinners and fall short of God's glory and that we don't stop struggling with sin--on some level--until eternity. This is why I generally reject Wesley's notion of entire sanctification (this side of Heaven), much to the probable dismay of my alma mater and, I would assume, this professor. I don't know at what point one claims entire sanctification but, knowing my own mind, my own propensity for selfishness, and my own sinful desires, I have also always known that reaching, "...a state of perfect love, righteousness and true holiness which every regenerate believer may obtain by being delivered from the power of sin, by loving God with all the heart, soul, mind and strength and by loving one's neighbor as one's self," was pretty unlikely, for me, at least. That's ok. I still love my school and wouldn't trade my four years there. I'm grateful for an opportunity to have received an education where I could question a theological point, come up on the other side, and still be welcomed there.

I believe the words of 1 Timothy 1:15. "...Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners--of whom I am the worst."

So it is with a heavy heart that I am spending my waking moments. Because, most certainly, I am capable of evil. Most certainly, if a professor of theology and pastor can choose hideous sin (and many before this man have), I can too. Heck, if King David can choose sex and murder, are we not all capable of the same sin?

"We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way, and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all." Isaiah 53:6

I hope I run the race well. I hope it can one day be said of me that I was a good and faithful servant. I hope that I am never counted among those who fell away. I hope that I never stray beyond my own ability to hear the voice of the Good Shepherd and return. But if I do wander down a path twisted and hideous and lonely, and if I do wander so far that I cannot hear Him, I am grateful that He will come for me. In these days and hours of turmoil and destruction, I am so thankful to serve a Savior who sees me, loves me, and continues to rescue me.

"If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them wanders away, what will he do? Won't he leave the ninety-nine others on the hills and go out to search for the one that is lost? And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he will rejoice over it more than over the ninety-nine that didn't wander away!" Matthew 18:12-13

In this time of desperation
When all we know is doubt and fear
There is only one foundation
We believe, we believe
In this broken generation
When all is dark, You help us see
There is only one salvation
We believe, we believe

We believe in God the Father
We believe in Jesus Christ
We believe in the Holy Spirit
And He's given us new life
We believe in the crucifixion
We believe that He conquered death
We believe in the resurrection
And he's coming back again, we believe

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