Monday, July 03, 2006

Frustration and Desires.

About the first time I first graduated from college, I had this idea for a series of six short stories. Basically, each of the stories were going to look at a man's life at three different points in his life, but from the angle of a life lived with faith and a life lived without faith. The first story was going to be about a young man who committs suicide in despair. The next story would illustrate how that man's faith had saved him from that. The next would look at the man in his middle years and how he had grown to become a cynic with the parallel tale of how faith helped him avoid that, and the last pairing would have told of the man in old age and how he had grown into a bitter, cranky coot and concluded with the story of how his faith had helped him avoid that, too.

I am a man of deep faith. I have been blessed to know Jesus for most of my life. I have had very long conversations with God on a fairly regular basis since I was about ten. My faith prevented me from the fate of the man in the first story. Suicidal thoughts I once had, but I know that it is because of my relationship with Christ and the Holy Spirit that is a part of me that prevented those from transforming into anything more than thoughts. I know life has a purpose and has a meaning.

Yet, despite trying not too, I am afraid I am becoming the cynical young man. I used to believe and know that Bible versus such as Psalm 37:4-5 (Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this.) were true. Now, even though I feel that I know they are true, I find myself doubting that I believe that. I am a sinner and I make mistakes and foul up. Yet, I keep pressing on. I do delight in God and all that he has given me and I find myself committing my way(s) to him often. Yet, I have yet to see the things I have desired most in my life come to be. The dreams I had for the first quarter century of my existence were swept away as I was carried to a new path. It is true that those dreams have been watered with hope recently. However, these things are still buds that are just beginning to poke out of the ground. They are not a deep rooted realization, yet. As for the other desires of my heart, they seem so remote and distant that I'm almost afraid to believe that they will ever come to be.

I've never been one to say that the Christian life is easy. Jesus never promised that in this life it would be that way. Yet, I see people who do seem more blessed than others. Often these are people of faith. This combines with the constant sermons I have heard preached of how if "you just do this" God will "bless your life abundantly." I often find myself frustrated when this happens. Part of it is because of my own sin--I find myself jealous of those blessings around me. Yet, part of it is just frustration. I said I am a man of faith, but that's not really true. I still can't command a tree to jump into the sea (and I have honestly tried that before) so I don't even have the faith of a mustard seed. My faith is so small especially when I think of those giant saints in my own life whose faith might have let them command a tree to jump. When I think of those saints, though, I remember that most of them had incredibly difficult lives.

This should provide comfort. It should, but usually it doesn't. I'm a sinful creature and I want to have the good life now. I want a decent job, a wife, maybe some children, and a nice house in a nice neighborhood. When I attend my next high school reunion I want to be like my classmates who are there and not the lone outcast who couldn't even convince the girl next door to come with him so he didn't have to show up dateless again. I want to teach for a little while. I want to write. I want to get a break in show business. I want to make a mark on this world and be a sign that points to my God. But, that is the crux of the matter. All the other desires in my life are subservient to that one: to love and serve my King and be a sign that points to him. I am a man of flesh and sometimes it is so difficult to keep that central desire in focus. But, that is the key. I just wish there could be an easier way to do it instead of working it out with fear and trembling all the time.

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