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Month: August, 2014

Divine Permanence and Our Doubts


What a wonder to realize, truly realize, the importance of divine permanence. God’s own lack of change amidst our ever-changing world is hard to grasp at first. We are told in Romans 8:38, “For I am persuaded that not even death or life, angels or rulers, things present or things to come, hostile powers, height or depth, or any other created thing will have the power to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!” Nothing in creation can separate us from the love of God . What a marvelous wonder! So what does this biblical promise mean then in regards to our struggles with doubt?
As all-encompassing as our doubts can feel at times, we can surely be encouraged that our doubts are not divine. They are not eternal. Our doubts are man-made and created things. This means that the above mentioned passage applies to them as well. Our doubts can NOT separate us from the love of God! No matter what fear or dark thoughts might spawn from them in ever realistic fashion, God is immutable and unchanging. When He said, “My Child, I love you.” He didn’t stutter and he didn’t mean only as long as you hold strongly to certainty. He meant merely that He loves you and that, reliably, will not change.
We can take solace then in knowing we have a freedom in doubt. We are safe to ask questions and struggle with doubt. We can lay that fleece on the ground and expect and answer from our God. We don’t have to hide from our doubts, afraid of what they might mean. But instead, we can turn and face them, assured of the safety we are promised in God’s permanence written of in Romans 8. God’s divine permanence guarantees that we can struggle with and overcome our doubts without fear of rejection or failure. Take heart.


Dealing with Death and Our Immortal Moments

I simply cannot shake thoughts of Robin Williams from my mind. Over and over I am drawn back to look for more information on his death and the events leading up to it. Each time I am brought to the verge of tears, and I cannot help but wonder why I care so much about a man I never met. He was like a childhood friend to me, and he was my parents age. I felt like I identified with and knew Jack, or Peter Banning. I saw that child inside of him wanting to explode out and I felt like that too. Except that I was a child. It probably made more sense for me.
This has placed me on a trip of nostalgia and thoughts on the past. I look at the years behind me and picture each one of them like a death. I love and smile about them but ultimately mourn for each and every one of those that will never come again. I watched Hook again to commemorate Williams’ death, and I almost shouted bangerang right here on my couch. I cranked up my old dance music from the 90s for my boys who must have really thought their father looked the fool cutting a rug in the kitchen while they ate their dinner (except Wyatt, he really thought I was cool). And as I listened to Heaven by DJ Sammy, I stopped dancing and stopped smiling, and the mourning down deep welled up and I began to feel hopeless for my future, sensing futility in moments, as they like the others will all die. I wanted to cry again, it was crushing. A dark pall had settled over me with the advent of Robin Williams death, and it was persisting.
Then I saw my boys, watching me, grinning. Squeaking. Growing. Having their own immortal moment right now that they would one day mourn. I wonder how my own father felt about 25 or so years ago as he ambushed us and ran roaring down the forested hill with his deadly stick gun, my brother and I scrambling out of his way, screaming. He must have loved creating that immortal moment for us, all the while mourning the death of his own. I go to bed tonight with a heavy heart but a much more understanding spirit. It is not for me to live in a moment forever, but rather to create those immortal moments for others.

Doubt’s Irrelevance to Truth

A silly thing, doubt, when dealing with truth. As daunting or terrifying as doubt may seem to a besieged soul, when broken down and measured for its worth, it comes up lacking. When one is gathering facts for a case or presentation, one rarely if ever asks opinion or feeling. Despite what Hollywood crime dramas would have us believe, it isn’t hunches or doubts or even gut feelings that lead to understanding or resolutions. It is something else entirely. What that is can vary depending on the situation, but what we can be sure of is that it isn’t hunches, feelings or doubt.
I remember speaking with an atheist friends of mine on the subject of existence and origin, and I spoke of there needing to be a source of all things. His response, which resonates with my doubts as well as much of modern thought was, “Couldn’t it all just have been by chance? What if it was?” I stopped, annoyed, and said, “Yes, of course it could have , but what bearing does that have on truth?” He laughed and our conversation drifted onto more benign subjects. ‘Whats ifs’ and ‘could haves’ are not what is and what was. Interjections like that are good for speculation or challenging thought, but definitely not for establishing truth or faith.
So why do we let it dominate so much of our structures of belief? Why do we experience doubt and then assume its reality as if it is ours? We must learn to put doubt in its place and not allow it to establish its false brand of truth for us. Rather, we should trust in God’s Word for our truth and in His hope for our strength to realize that truth in our lives. Doubt, while powerful, holds little relevance to truth and it is time we realized that.

Stephen Mattson

Inspiration. Faith. Christian Culture. Writing.

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