Sometimes in the past I have not felt very sure of myself as a Christian. I thought that I didn't understand enough yet about God's eternal forgiveness and love. Which is probably true. Can anyone really ever understand it entirely? But I had one of those lightning bolt moments last night when I suddenly realised that that's not really what I was worried about. I know that God will always be faithful, I know that he will always stick around, and I know that there's no need for me to worry about him abandoning me.
What I was worried about was myself. I am such a weak person. Now, most people I know may not realise this, because I don't let myself yield to temptation that people might find out about. On the other hand, if no one but God and I know or could know, I give in much more easily and quickly. And then feel terrible about it fifteen minutes later. Beyond the stuff I do, there's the stuff I think. Doubts (which I have talked about on here before), mean thoughts, unloving thoughts... I don't really have a beautiful mind. Some of this stuff might sound so mild to a lot of people, and I don't want to be one of those falsely humble people who confess their wickedness just to make everyone else feel bad about their own actions which are far worse. Like a song on my ipod, by Christian comedian Marcel Currin...
"I'm humble, and I love it,
It makes me feel so proud to know I'm humble,
When I do something good (which admittedly I do quite a lot)
I keep my head from swelling,
And make sure everybody knows I'm humble!
Take your eyes off my life,
It just reminds me of my excellence;
I'm sharing my ability ('showing off' is such an ugly phrase)
I'm nothing but a servant,
But to others I'm a good example, I'm humble!"
Okay, so that was a detour from the topic - but I love that song and just wanted to share it :)
Anyway: having spent all this time studying how people behave under totalitarian regimes, I keep thinking, how would I act? It really worries me when I see how easily I yield to anything in my ordinary easy cushy life in which I really should have no worries. I know now how unfair it is to judge the actions of normal people in terrible positions like Nazi Germany or Stalinist Russia, because I can see that so many of them were very much like myself. I don't expect to be in the same position as them at any time in my life, and I very much hope I will not be - but I think, God has given me such a cushy life, and what am I doing with it that is any more admirable than some of the people who failed to do the right thing during much tougher times?
So - I have felt for a long time very undeserving of God's grace and love. And I've seen other people falling away from him. And it was worrying.
But I feel like now I'm slowly coming to know, very firmly, that it is not MY strength that is important. I can't predict the future. But I know that God will always be in mine. I also know I will change my mind about a lot of things, doctrines, ideas. But God will always be my God. I know I mentioned this a few posts ago, but I love the song "In Christ Alone" by Stuart Townend, and especially these lines - "no power of hell, no scheme of man, can ever pluck me from his hand". The first time I sang those - wow. What an encouragement. It was sudden, a blinding vision. Despite all the stuff I'm not sure about, "I am his and he is mine", and he is never going to let me fall.
That gives me a lot of comfort as I go back to university this year. I meet weekly with other Christian students at church and at Navigators, but around uni and in my classes I am surrounded by people who think I'm indoctrinated or delusional or repressed, or, at best, idealistic. The things they say about the Church or the history of the Church or Christians might give me food for thought, but they can never separate me from the love of Christ. He's bigger than all of them.