Do you believe there’s more?

The eight year anniversary of my baptism is tomorrow, and I’ve recently been thinking about what on earth keeps me plodding along to church each Sunday, when I know so many others who have parted ways with faith.

My own faith has definitely changed shape. When I first became a Christian, I thought of my faith as a series of truth propositions which I’d tested out and agreed to. I was very interested in apologetics and the historical evidence for the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Being part of seeing my parents were setting up a money advice charity where it seemed God was really at work, and reading Brother Yun’s autobiography ‘The Heavenly Man’ were also really influential, but mostly my experience of faith felt like a pretty straightforward matter of fact-finding.

This is no longer the case. Somewhere along the way, the framework of apologetics became wholly inadequate to contain the beauty and mystery – and pain and bewilderment – of life and faith. I had started with a black-and-white faith but was encountering a lot of grey. The experience of finding the limits and ineptitude of your framework can lead to total collapse; but while I lost my pride, I discovered that my faith was much more expansive than previously thought. It was big enough to hold the greys.

I have never had any direct supernatural experiences of faith (like experiences of healing, or praying in tongues), though I have been present where these have happened for others. I’ve never had a dramatic encounter or conversion experience, thought I know many people for who this is true.

But what I do have is a quiet, strong conviction that keeps me following Jesus. I deeply trust in God, and can’t shake it off. God speaks to some people audibly. God speaks to me in quiet, strong convictions to give money to someone or pursue a particular course of action. Sometimes when I pray or speak it is me doing the praying or speaking, and sometimes when I pray or speak it isn’t just me at all. I know what that feels like, but I can’t describe it.

I am now so in over my head with what my faith means that being able to convey it seems impossible. I am completely captivated by a love, a wisdom, and a power that is vastly beyond my comprehension but which I am always in pursuit of.

I recently read ‘Nowhere’ by Jamal Cassim, a gorgeous piece of writing which at one point says “like it or not, it’s the sublime we’re chasing.” I chuckled because like it or not, it’s the sublime I’m chasing. I want no less to see the face of God and know the fullness of the transforming power of Love that we call redemption.

A relative of mine I stayed with one summer once described my faith as my hobby. If only it was this containable! Alas, my faith is my all-consuming lived experience. At different points along the way I am tired and angry and frustrated by what Love demands. Love is unreasonable, exacting and being surrendered to it is difficult. But I know that Love has a name and its name is Jesus. And there isn’t a sweeter name than the name of Jesus.

A few weeks back I was praying on my way to church about a few different situations and felt God’s prompting, “Do you believe there’s more?” This was very well-played by God, who knows that while I despair in the immediate, I have complete hope in the ultimate. This was God was calling me to have a faith that is confident in hope for those things right just in front of me, and to persevere in praying over those situations.

And really, this is why I am plodding to church every Sunday. What first brought me to faith is not the same as what keeps me here. What my faith once was is not the same faith I have now. But I keep catching glimpses of a Love that I am in awe of, and I believe there’s more.

1 Comment

  1. Rachel,
    I like your insight and persistence in pursuit of the love of God in Christ. Today’s generation of instant results has not the patience nor forethought to stay the course, which may well deny them the fruits at the end of this most worthy journey.
    But note that in your pursuit you are pursued, as well.
    This is no better depicted in the Francis Thomas poem: “The Hound of Heaven”.


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