In the Valley

My spiritual life is a roller coaster. One minute, my heart cannot help but overflow with jubilant praises to God. He is so good! The next minute, I'm longing for his living water to touch the parched tongue of my soul, as I wander in the desert. One minute, I'm proclaiming my trust in His word. The next, I am angry with Him for making it so confusing.

Though the mountain peaks with Christ have been many, tonight I am in the valley. I've heard it said that mountains only exist because they are surrounded by valleys, and our journeys with Christ are a long hike through the mountains. The plains are in heaven.

Tonight, I am in the valley. The Sun has set behind the mountain. It's dark here in the valley. And humid. I must be in the rainforest. It's hard to breathe, let alone cry out to God. I'm too tired to pray. Not physically. No... it's 2 AM and I can't sleep a wink. Why? Theology. How many of you (who have neither an exam to take or paper to turn in the next day) stay up 'til 2 AM because of theology? OK, other than insane college guys who do so for the thrill of it, or because they don't know any better. I mean people who normally go to bed by 10. How many?

How many of you are plagued by insomnia due to questions of the nature of God's sovereignty? If at least one other person is, I might have a traveling partner down here in this dark, thick, rainforest valley. The rest of you who would scoff at such absurdity as pondering the relationship between the present and the eternal will simply be of no help to me in this time, except to pray--if you can muster up enough empathy to do so.

A couple of days ago, I elaborated on my affection for God's Word. Tonight I lament my frustration with it. It seems that people like myself who have big questions that demand definitive answers will be driven to a life of either rigorous scholarship or utter apathy. Who can sanely, consistently exist in a state of mind in which one's day-to-day decisions are based upon premises which are being perpetually called into question?

After surveying the Bible with regard to Calvin's doctrine of predestination, I see no more than four intellectually honest options available to me. Either (a) I give in to the very theology that has brought me into this treacherous valley and learn to employ the hermeneutical gymnastics one needs in order to explain away words like "all" and "world", (b) I concede that the Bible as we know it today is not God's Word, (c) I admit that our current Bible is God's Word, but we have a cruel God who takes great pleasure in tormenting us with seemingly irreconcilable contradictions therein, or, most likely, (d) I am a deranged madman who needs a highly skilled spiritual doctor.

Here's some of the scriptural meat from which I got the spiritual food poisoning I am now suffering from:

Matthew 11:27
Matthew 16:16-17
Matthew 24:22
John 6:44,45,65
John 5:21
John 6:37
John 15:16
Acts 2:39,47
Acts 13:48
Acts 16:14
Romans 3:10
Romans 9:10-18
Ephesians 1:4-5
2 Thessalonians 2:13


If the truth shall set me free, then why do I feel so in bondage?

These words from an early Delirious song speak the language of my soul tonight. May you take comfort in them as well:


Find me in the River
Find me on my knees
I've walked against the water
Now I'm waiting, if you please
I've longed to see the roses
But never felt the thorns
I've worn my pretty crown
But never paid the price

Find me in the River
Find me there
Find me on my knees
With my soul laid bare
Even though you're gone
And I'm cracked and dry
Find me in the River
I'm waiting here

Find me in the River
Find me on my knees
I've walked against the water
Now I'm waiting, if you please
I didn't count on suffering
I didn't count on pain
But if the blessing's in the valley
Then in the River I will wait

Find me in the River
Find me there
Find me on my knees
With my soul laid bare
Even though you're gone
And I'm cracked and dry
Find me in the River
I'm waiting here

For You.

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