At my table, sat a fellow confessor. She, like me, confesses Jesus as Lord and has absolute faith in God and his rule over this world and over our lives. Yet she, like me, had another confession to make.
We confessed to having those moments, admittedly only briefly, where we wonder if it’s all an elaborate hoax. Do we believe in a God that’s in control, simply because we’ve been told it all our lives? Or because the alternative is unbearable to contemplate? Or because we draw comfort from a sense of purpose behind everything…even if, maybe at that very moment, it seems there may not be such a purpose at all?
It’s a weighty confession for two women of orthodoxy – a confession that’s whispered between the two of us – a confession that, deep down, we know isn’t right. And we both detect a darker whisperer present in those moments. ‘Did God really say…?’ ‘Is it really true…?’ ‘Take this fruit and you’ll know everything…’
Our whispers were a little frightening. We were confessing that we don’t know it all – or perhaps (more likely) that we don’t like what we do know – not at that moment, anyway.
And we confessed God’s truth again to one another. We know he is exists – he is truth – and his plans are good and right. He alone holds the understanding of the twists and turns of our lives – those unexpected, uncalled for changes. He also understands and reigns over the landscape of our lives that is often painfully barren and unchanging.
We’re called to trust him. And there, at that table, we called one another to trust him again. And trust can feel relatively simple for that moment – sitting, confessing together. But what about the next moment? And the moments stretching ‘endlessly’ beyond that moment?
And it’s that thought, at that moment, that drew forth another confession – from both of us:
‘Sometimes I just say to the Lord “Take me now, Lord, I’d be OK with that.”
“Me too! He could take me, too!”
It’s a whispered confession we’ve heard from other’s too – those who love their Lord but are tired of travelling a barren path. It’s not that we have a death wish – but, if we’re honest, a wish for another life – or changed life circumstances, at least. We know that if our lives changed (in the way we’d like them to change) then we’d hastily retract the request to be taken. “Don’t take me now – not just yet!.”
Later, as I was sitting alone at another table in a somewhat ordinary cafe, I recalled the confession of the Lord I follow:
‘My soul is overwhelmed to the point of death…take this cup from me…’
If his confession had ended there, we’d have no sort of Saviour to follow – we’d have a sympathetic friend – but no hope – no words beyond our own words.
‘Nevertheless, your will be done.’
A confession of obedience and deep trust that continued beyond the sentence of death and feelings of sorrow. But it didn’t end there. I often forget that.
It only took me a train ride this morning – from my morning reading to that morning coffee with a friend – to forget the resurrection of our Saviour. His was no flat, final, resignation with no hope. But submission, endurance and obedience to death – with the certain hope of vindication.
He was raised from death’s clutches to new life – our forerunner – allowing us to see and know and take comfort in a change that’s coming for us who trust and follow him. Yes, we share in his sufferings now – but we will also, one day, share in his glory – raised and changed forever!
That morning I was reminded in my reading that the power that raised Christ from the dead – from seeming barren finality – is the same power that is at work in me, even now. It may not feel like it now – but my feelings rarely ‘see’ past my present circumstances. The truth is greater than my feelings.
My friend ended our coffee together by suggesting that the next time we feel we’ve had enough of this life or, at the very least, long for change (and, let’s face it, that next time could be this afternoon) we should text the other with the confession ‘I’m having a “beam me up” moment! Please pray!’
The doubts will keep on whispering – but the true confession rings loud and clear from the sure and certain resurrection event. ‘He is risen!’ – the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.