I don’t believe it. There isn’t a chance. Impossible. There’s no way that would happen. There’s just no hope. It’s as good as dead. Inconceivable.
These statements never seem too far from my lips. Daily, I see hopeless circumstances to which I long to apply these official pronouncements of death. Sometimes it feels as if I’m training to be a coroner.
I don’t believe that marriage will work. There isn’t a chance he will ever change and get his act together. There’s no way I’ll ever get out of this rut. There’s no hope for that dream. She’s just going to die like that.
Inconceivable. Actually, it’s inconceivable how often we choose to operate in unbelief. It seems we’re constantly running spiritual system tests to verify the death of our unwanted and painful circumstances, and we’re running to others for second opinions and confirmations. We aim with the assurance and confidence that we’re being scientific. In the end, we seek quick resolutions because we know the value of moving on and walking in freedom. And we abhor wasting time. It’s not very fashionable after all.
Indeed our culture — including the church — prides itself in being reasonable and prudent analyzers of fact. Surely everyone possesses the ability, as well as the efficiency, to watch a talk show and arrive at a fair and balanced judgment within two or three commercial breaks. Faced with tragedies, we sincerely desire to make intelligent, beneficial decisions for ourselves and others. We long for wisdom.
But to what degree have we allowed the world to color our concept of wisdom? For example, were the decisions Jesus made intelligent and obviously beneficial? Would His story have made it past even your first commercial break?
Sure, we might follow Abraham on Twitter — but only for amusement, certainly not as an example for how to live our lives. The Bible says he refused to consider his body, or the womb of his wife’s body, as dead. Yet we’d likely post a link to this ridiculous story and joke with our friends that he “refused to consider” reality.
I’ve been wrestling with this tension lately. With so much brokenness and injustice enslaving my loved ones, I feel prompted to race to the same prudent conclusions — because I don’t want to hurt and I don’t want those whom I love to hurt anymore either.
But I also know how much God hates unbelief. I don’t have any easy answers. Without them, this tension simply points me back again to our desperate need to commune, personally, with the Holy Spirit. At some point, we have to seek the quiet of prayer and surrender everything, including our system checks and scientific analysis. We have to surrender our wills which seek to avoid suffering. And at some point, like Moses in the wilderness, we have to surrender our sandals and sit before a burning bush to hear from God alone.
I don’t pretend to know how God will always answer. But I do believe He will always speak most clearly to us once we are willing to sit before the bush and behold how it burns without being consumed. Of course, He will demand that we remove those nicely-fitted securities and certainties that we have fashionably buckled about our feet.
Yes, at some point, we will have to obey that inconceivable voice burning in the wilderness. But it’s the voice of a transcending protection from any flame of hopelessness that He sets before us.
If His voice says to go through it, then go we must.