Faithful Wanderings

Dusty RoadDoes the concept of faith baffle you? Even as a maturing Christian with a degree in Christian Studies, I often find it perplexing to think of how much of myself I entrust to something I cannot see. I have studied the Bible cover to cover. I’ve examined the evidence in biblical, historical and archaeological reports, including those from secular sources. And I’ve heard countless personal accounts of God’s miraculous works. Including my own accounts and experiences. Yet, it all still comes down to trust.

At the core, and no matter how strongly we believe, we are all wanderers in our faith. I believe that God planned it this way on purpose.

This past weekend I participated in a conference at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville, TN. I’ve been told it is the largest hotel in the world without a casino. It’s basically a city in a bubble. It’s huge! I got lost many times during the five days I was there. But getting lost is the fun of it…

Cascades Atrium

Photo courtesy of http://www.marriott.com

After the event was over and the adrenaline wore off from all the mingling, networking and general busy-ness that a conference brings, I had difficulty sleeping. I needed to burn off some excess energy and all the fried food I had consumed, but I didn’t feel like going to the gym. Instead, I took a midnight walk around the hotel’s numerous meandering walkways and stairs, through atriums filled with tropical vegetation, fountains and even an actual river. I just walked and walked and walked. Down a flight of stairs, around a pathway, up another flight of stairs, and around and around again.

I wandered aimlessly, never knowing where my path would take me and rarely crossing the same path twice. But I knew that as long as I stayed within this bubble of a city, protected from the rain and cold outside, I could never wander too far to be saved. I lost my way many times, but all I had to do was put one foot in front of the other and eventually I’d come back to a point of reference, or run into someone to point me in the right direction.

DeltaFaith is a lot like that. We wander, discover, question and explore, but we trust that God will never let us go too far. He protects us. Sometimes he lets us wander outside, into the wayward paths of our own free will and rebelliousness. While we must face the earthly consequences of our actions, he never leaves our side.  He sends others when guidance is needed. He watches our steps.

Three years ago I wandered away from God for about six months. I was engaged to an atheist, foolishly thinking I could keep God in one compartment and my relationship with this man in another. I was so wrong and I faced the consequences of heartache and abandonment, but this has also become my testimony to God’s faithfulness and grace. He had the power to keep me from ever meeting this man, but he chose instead to let his child find out for herself. Much like we let our own children make their mistakes, knowing this is how they grow. And as any good parent does, God was ready for me with open arms when I chose to come back to Him. And while this does not condone my actions, and I am still deeply grieved over that time in my life, my faith was strengthened because of the experience.

This is why my username for this blog is faithwanderer. I often question my faith. I stray, I wander, but I always come home. As I mature in my faith I wander less and less. I’m finding freedom in what others might think is too confining or restricting.

When I rededicated my life to Christ at the age of 26 I came across Psalm 119:105. “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” Years later, after many more wanderings, I learned that in ancient times travelers would attach lamps to their ankles as they walked at night. It freed up their arms to carry their loads. The light cast was only enough to see the next step ahead, but then the next step would illuminate, and then the next, and so on, until the journey was complete or daylight had come.

Trust in God to guide you to that next step, allow yourself to wander beneath his provisions and protection.

I hope that I will always to be content to wander and explore, to continually seek an invisible God in a world that refuses to trust anything it cannot see. I can’t count how many times I called up to God in anger, demanding that He show Himself to me and to the world, to take away our doubt and to make us believe. But wouldn’t that make the journey a whole lot less interesting?

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2 thoughts on “Faithful Wanderings

  1. In the years immediately following my separation from my wife, I felt closer to God than at any other time before or since. I was in a bad place, and he reached into my life and propped me up and carried me through. I learned a great deal about discerning his voice when it whispers, and about obedience.

    But now I am much more capable of standing on my own two feet, and I find it to be both empowering and frightening. I miss that closeness I had during adversity, but on the other hand that closeness served a remedial purpose that isn’t necessary now. But I’m back to my age-old question about where should my own will end and God’s begin. I am trying to get comfortable with what you are basically saying here, that wandering the wrong direction for a while is part of how God lets us grow up. But I fear making mistakes when I’m off wandering that I can’t undo.

    • Well said and I agree completely. God never wants us to sin or to walk away from him, but he put the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the middle of the Garden of Eden for a reason. It was the path that humanity was destined to take. It kind of goes back to the question “if God is good, why does he let bad things happen?”

      I think as we grow in our faith we learn how to better walk that line between our will and God’s will. That line should become more faint as our will begins to align with God’s. That’s all a part of maturing and growing.

      I too feel that I was closer to God during times of great adversity. I actually miss those times for exactly the same reasons you stated. Now I find that I have to make more of an effort to hear his voice, whereas before he shouted at me. But I was weaker in my faith, I needed the shouts. Now I have more responsibility to seek, rather than to just receive.

      I also fear making mistakes I can’t undo. God loves us no matter what, but there are still consequences, which is why we should always walk in his Word, even as we question and doubt him. And know that if we do wander off the path all it takes is turning our hearts back to him to find our way back. God is so faithful!

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