Unfortunately, far too many of us suffer because we think the questions mean we are not true believers. That if we had a real faith then even in the most tragic of situations we wouldn’t have any questions. That our faith would be unshakeable. Unbreakable. That’s the lie. I can’t help but wonder if the opposite is actually true. What if our questions actually reveal the strength of our faith rather than its weakness?
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Covenant friends are friends you commit to for life, a bit like a marriage relationship, but without necessarily the geographical proximity. (And without the sex, obviously).
I feel a little embarrassed even comparing platonic friendships with marriage, and I think that sense of shame is worth noting – we have to explain or apologise for close friendships. Our society unconsciously sends the message that intimacy and commitment is reserved only for romantic relationships, so we treat very close friendships with suspicion.
There was something in me that needed to see for myself. I had had the supernatural miracle of an encounter with the divine messenger, but I needed to see the supernatural made natural: a woman who couldn’t be pregnant, miraculously pregnant. Sometimes we need to see it in someone else before we can truly believe it for ourselves.
And at some point, the wind changed, blown by God’s spirit. After my years of silence, I finally have things to say, and I am not holding back. The strangest thing is that now when I call my people a brood of vipers they listen, they nod, they can’t get enough of it.
The people think, of course, that nothing will happen. They think because they are rich, they are safe. They have no idea how quickly things can turn around, how speedily their world can implode.
I laughed, but I wanted to punch someone. I wanted to say to God’s messenger, “You have a pretty sick sense of humour. It has been too long. It’s over. You can’t just keep promising things when we both know it is never going to happen. Stop lying to me.”
I am wondering: do the possessions we own turn us into bloated Christians? I am slim in body, but obese in possessions – and I wonder what subtle effect this has on my spiritual life. Every time I look at a catalogue for present ideas for other people (which naturally turns into a list of things you might like for yourself), I feel like I am stuffing after-dinner mints into my face after a very large meal.