What do you do when you realize you have failed at life’s greatest mission?
When you realize you didn’t pass on your story of faith in a convincing enough manner, with enough authority, passion, commitment and power, to cause others to grasp hold of the greatest story ever lived and believe?
I know the person who wrote the following. I had no idea they were struggling with such an immense burden. I do know the circumstances under which this inquiry of years was taking place. I know the heartache that has been endured by this person. I can imagine the questions and pleadings and fears and doubts based on the history that I know; but each one of us goes through the “valley of the shadow of death”, each one of us faces heartbreak and heartache… so then what causes some to lose their faith and others to be strengthened in their faith by the very trials and tribulations we each must face during this journey called life? My friend’s words:
My former religious life in a nutshell, which was spread out mostly evenly over the last 9 or 10 years:
Christian -> Messianic -> considered mainstream Judaism -> considered mainstream Christianity again -> read the bible one too many times with scrutiny and reached the conclusion that at least some of it is not the word of god -> believed in the god of the bible but without the bible -> this led to deism rather quickly -> briefly considered buddhism -> became agnostic/skeptic -> became atheist due to the lack of objectively verifiable evidence for any god or gods whatsoever (the same reason why I don’t believe claims of alien abductions)
I have put countless hours of thought and research into these matters over the years, and at this point, I am more at peace with myself, my place in the universe, and the prospect of my own inevitable death than I have ever been.
Why does this young person no longer believe our story? I submit to you that it is because we have failed to recall with passion and authority and commitment and power our community story of deliverance. Yes, we still sing the songs, we still pray the prayers, we still read the words, we still have discussions on the finer points of scripture, but we have failed to take the passion and authority of the story and make it our story.
Joshua 4:21-24, He said to the sons of Israel, “When your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, ‘What are these stones?’ then you shall inform your children, saying, ‘Israel crossed this Jordan on dry ground.’ “For the LORD your God dried up the waters of the Jordan before you until you had crossed, just as the LORD your God had done to the Red Sea, which He dried up before us until we had crossed; that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the LORD is mighty, so that you may fear the LORD your God forever.”
When our children stop fearing the LORD God, YHVH, then we have failed to tell the story with authority, and passion and commitment and power!
Yashua said in Matthew 10:6-8 to “go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give.”
Have our children witnessed the greatest story ever told become life? Is our story real to them? (Is our story real to us?) At some point in their life some professor, or tragedy, or life partner, or some new tech gadget, or employer will question their foundation and will their house be found to be built on sand or on the rock?
My young friend’s post has troubled me greatly for in it I see my own failure as a storyteller and I teach scripture through stories!
During the great revivals of the 19th and early 20th centuries stories are told of revival preachers such as Finney and Spurgeon commanding people on their way to the altar to go back to their seats because they hadn’t repented deeply enough yet. There was public confession of sin, public displays of restitution, public disposing of idols, charms and fetishes; as a result curses were broken, bodies were healed, deliverance manifested and people believed and were saved.
In contrast now we have, “with every head bowed and every eye closed, no one has to know, no one has to hear, just make it between you and God…” And our children are leaving the faith in mass.
What is our story? Is YHVH real or not? Does He still move mountains and part the sea or not? Does He still heal and deliver and raise the dead or not? Is He really real or just a figment of our imagination?
Is He to you a fairy god-mother who with a wave of her magic wand gives you whatever you ask for? Or is He the wicked step-mother that only takes and treats you cruelly with unfair judgments and stingy hand-outs? Or is He to you a fickle combination of both that always leaves you guessing wondering if you will be blessed with His benevolence or cursed with malevolence?
Or is YHVH what He is; Almighty, All Powerful, KING of KINGS, LORD over all, Eternal, Ever Present, All Knowing, I AM everything that you could ever want, need or desire! If He truly is this to us then we must at this very moment begin to tell the greatest story ever lived with passion, authority, commitment, power and faith to believe that He is all that He says He is and will do all that He says He will do. We must pass on this living story of faith that will see our children through the trials and tribulations that as sure as the days turn into months and the months become years will come.
Our children are counting on us.