jQuery Slider

You are here



By Chuck Collins
February 26, 2024

This came up today in my memories from 2019...

"I'm just not feeling it," he confessed. My friend explained that he is missing the intimacy with God - like when he first believed - you know, the rush, the joy and peace of that Summer camp experience. He was saying, in effect, "I've done everything I know to recapture 'it,' been to conferences and retreats, read John MacArthur, beefed up my prayer life, and nothing I do seems to recreate the feeling - the exuberance of the close presence of Christ." As I listened, I thought of how often I've heard the same thing from others. I was feeling it myself even as we talked! I told him this as we sat commiserating and scarfed down the pasta lunch-special.

I have been a Christian for a ridiculous and embarrassing number of years for the beggarly condition of my spiritual life today. This sounds like false humility, but it's a fact. If only I had prayed more, and been more faithful to read the Bible, memorize more Scripture, read a Psalm-a-day like my friend Mary, contemplate the sacraments more deeply, helped the poor and shared my faith more like my other friend Mary, I would be much, much farther down the road. Or maybe it's the Heidelberg Confession - if it had become my friend earlier in life I'm sure my life would reflect Christ more. Hum, but probably not...

This is exactly where my pietistic worldview fails me. For way too long I have bought into the Christianity of my faithfulness, when its core is really God's faithfulness. It is not what I do for God that defines me, but what he has done for me. He is faithful when I am not. He reaches out when I am too busy reaching in with a flashlight searching for something. He prays when I can't or didn't. Like a daddy, he holds this child and sings and rejoices over me with gladness and delight when I barely think of him. He waits patiently for me to return and he forgets to be angry when I show up; he's just excited to have me home!

If someone told me this when I was younger, I don't remember it. I was given a list of things to do long before I was told how he loves his children. Confusing religious performance for relationship sucks the life out. And the church is filled with people like me and my pasta friend. People who put their trust in their own moral improvement rather than in God. We've failed to see that the best among us are "miserable offenders" because failing is what we do. God rescues and loves only failures because that's all he has to work with: only they are at a point in their lives where they can accept and find hope in the immovable fact of God's steadfast love. That's our anchor, not some amorphous "I'm just not feeling it." Even if we never "feel it," doesn't change God's love one bit.

My pasta friend needs to see what I am only beginning to see late in life: that it's not about feelings or feeling close to God. That makes Christianity about me!! In fact, it is all about God - who promises to never leave nor forsake me, to be my friend, to love me even when I am a mess, who promised that nothing can separate me from his irrational crazy love, forgiveness, and acceptance.

Only when we see that Christianity is about God - all about God - will we spontaneously and from the heart want to pray, obey, work for God's Kingdom, and pursue him who loves us long before we love him. Christianity is about grace then gratitude, and maybe way down the road it can also include our feelings.


Get a bi-weekly summary of Anglican news from around the world.
comments powered by Disqus
Trinity School for Ministry
Go To Top