It is hard to believe that it has nearly been two years since my family and I embarked on this journey. When I quit my job, sold our home and left all of the comforts we knew, I was confident of only one thing. That one thing was: I knew God. The last two years has methodically and often very painfully proven me wrong on that point. I have come to learn that I knew a lot about God, but did not really know him at all. I was raised on the Bible, attended private Christian schools, read and studied the Bible through countless times, taught the Bible and even studied Christian culture. I was busy understanding the history of Greek/Hebrew words and the context of the Bible passages (all really good things), but like the Pharisees and Scribes in Bible times, I missed God. As a result, I had great work ethic, solid morals, little debt, a great job, was respected in a faith community and had a beautiful family, but I was still missing something. I have come to learn that God is whom I was missing.
I have always seen God through rose colored glasses, even by most evangelical Christian standards. I would simply utter a prayer and bang, he would answer. Need a job? Bang! Need a new house? Bang! He was better than a genie in a bottle, because I could get more than three wishes! I would actually get excited when money got tight because it was an opportunity for God to demonstrate what Jenny and I called “God math”. That is when the amount of money that came in during the month was less than the amount of bills that were owed. In our early married life, this would happen often and we would be able to pay all of the bills, with a little left over, and no debt because of “God math”. Read the post “Did I Hear That Correctly” for a full accounting of the miracles we saw God do for us.
At this point you might be asking, why would you give up such a blessed life? I have asked that question many times over the last year and a half. It has only been in the last 6 months that I have begun to see things differently. Thanks in part to great men and women who knew God, and wrote about him. People like, A.W. Tozer, Oswald Chambers, Jeanne Guyon, George Muller and Miguel De Molinos. The greatest contributor to seeing things differently was my Bible reading. I was no longer reading it as a scholarly theologian, but as a desperate person seeking to discover a savior. As a result, I found one that is even better than I ever thought he could be.
I believe Jeanne Guyon most accurately exemplifies the change we have undergone, in her book “Spiritual Torrents”. She describes the beginning of the Christian life as fresh, pure water that comes out of a mountain spring. That water eventually grows to become a mighty river that is able to handle boats and even barges that supply goods to other people. Guyon contends that most Christians are content to be the river that flows through pleasant pasture land. Sometimes the water gets a little rough, but we soon find a quiet eddy to rest again. According to Guyon, these eddys are simply resting places and are not intended to become a permanent residence. She believes God is looking for those that are willing to risk the terrible bashing and breaking of the waterfalls that lead to the vastness of the salty sea. Here the river no longer retains it’s characteristics, it is engulfed into the mighty deep. Once this happens the river is able to carry the largest of loads, because it no longer does so in it’s own power.
As Jenny mentioned in her post “Can We Start Over”, this blog has been a way for me to journal our faith journey (our “adventure”), but I fear it may have been mistaken as a rant against churches and other Christians. I assure you that is not my intention. If you felt negativity or frustration, it was my own self loathing. Since this journey began, I have been frustrated with my own desire to stay on the lazy river or in a calm eddy, instead of following God off of the scary waterfalls that lead to the ocean. My safety loving self needed to die and my writings are the place that you got to witness his death. No, it was not pretty but it was necessary for me to be able to get out of the comfortable swirl of the eddy that sought to keep me until my death bed.
We have not arrived at the ocean yet, but we are now excited for every coming waterfall. Like the young married couple that was excited for “God math” opportunities, we are once again looking forward to the “scary” things, because they are bringing us a step closer to being one with Christ. Once that happens, he will be able to do so much more with our lives than we could ever have accomplished in the swirling eddy of our safe little river.