I just finished this book by Rachel Held Evans and it’s absolutely amazing. It’s a memoir outlining Rachel’s struggle with faith after years of Christian education.
Rachel grew up in a Christian home, the daughter of a theologian. Pretty impressive street cred in terms of doctrine and matters of faith. She knew all the right answers to all the questions…. or did she? The book is about what happened to her when the questions she was asked weren’t in the study guide.
I think if we’re all really honest with ourselves, we struggle with faith. Where is God in the middle of tragedy? How does God feel about those who we’ve labeled as infidels or heathens? Isn’t there always a question on the test that you didn’t cover when you were studying?
In my “vast” knowledge as a Christian, the basic lesson is this. God does a whole lot of things that I don’t understand. God asks me to do a lot of things that are difficult and extremely uncomfortable. Is it necessary for me to understand everything about God in order to follow him? No.
If God is who I believe him to be, he’s infinitely bigger and wiser than my brain can ever comprehend. If he really sees the end from the beginning and I don’t, there are going to be things that I don’t understand at first. That’s okay. When I don’t understand what God is doing, I always have to remember who God is. A wiser person than me expressed it this way, “When you don’t understand God’s hand, you must look at his heart.”
Here’s what I do know:
* God loves EVERYONE and desires to have a relationship with us.
* God allows us to have free will, which means he allows us to make patently stupid choices from time to time and even to reject any kind of relationship with him.
* God can use any of the above-referenced patently stupid choices to make us better people if we let him.
I love this book because it openly and honestly shows Rachel’s struggles with her faith and yet she doesn’t ever let it go. It’s what the true definition of evolution is. Adapting. Growing. Changing. It’s not about making monkeys into men. It’s about making us more than we are and closer to what God intends for us to be.