I Believe

The cold wind nipped at my face and hands. The air was thin and my breathing deep. Beneath my feet was rock; around the rock, vulnerable, ancient tundra. As far as I could see were range after range of mountains – bare of trees. I was above the timberline,  at 14,000+ feet elevation, near the highest point of Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, USA. DSCN1442I have been many BEAUTIFUL places,  and I inhale the beauty of trees and water and mountains like my life’s breath.  But even without trees, and somehow beyond the sheer visual input around me, this was the most beautiful place I have ever been! In the thin air, where my daughters become altitude-sick, and my husband’s heart slows him down, I was energized!  It was a different, higher perspective than I had ever known! Magnificent! I RAN up the summit and scaled the rock. Raised my hands to the perfect blue sky, and said “God….can I hear you NOW?!”  2012-12-17-ImageofGod

I have been asking, “HOW do you believe?!” After you HAVE believed, but learned that what you believed could not be trusted, could no longer be believed. You have said, “just believe.”

I have been talking and writing about this with you and Graeme Schultz since December. Graeme has spent untold hours and many thousands of words ever so kindly sharing his faith and talking through understandings of Christ, faith, God, Adam and Eve, suffering, the nature and effect of faith, crucifixion…always back to Christ and the cross.  He didn’t blow away my doubts, or even chip away, or refute, or prove them false. They began to melt away, ever so slowly, as I was able to trust the patient, quiet thoughts of a friend in dialogue that conveyed, “Rest in Christ. Trust Him. Let Him fill your screen. He’s that good. Expand your view. The cross is that powerful! This is how it works for me. This is what has changed for me. This is how I see things now.”

I read or recalled scripture, info on the origins of the Bible, intention and prayer, time and the universe, and most of an interesting book, “God’s Lunatics” by Michael Largo. Added to years of believing and living out….I don’t know what it was , searching, and loss. I didn’t push…stayed open, but not to others who push. My conclusions? There are arguments and counter-arguments about EVERYTHING! No two Christians (or any other group), even with strict doctrines or analytical criteria, have identical beliefs. imagesCAM2Y74B

We ALL pick and choose what we can and will believe, for myriad personal reasons. Which verses we elevateimagesCAMOA0XL to law, and which we reduce to analogy. Which sources we trust. How much we really BELIEVE we can hear from God Himself. We will never PROVE it absolutely, whatever IT is. Misunderstanding even when different words state the same idea, or illumination when the change of phrase makes them suddenly “believable.”  Yes, I could believe the wrong thing. Yes, I could be disappointed again. Yes, I could miss it. But then again, I am already missing too much by living in profound mistrust. Starting with my basic God-fact, the magnificence of creation through my senses and theories via science, I have asked and answered enough practical and scriptural questions, laid ENOUGH doubts to rest. And I WANT to believe. It just had to be something I CAN believe. Someone I CAN trust. Beyond expectations and rules. More about the Person and the reality beyond my senses and understanding. And the beginnings of thoughts about how powerful BELIEF or FAITH really may be.  A different, higher perspective than I’ve known. Magnificent!

There was no jump from a cliff. No burning bush, or voice from heaven. Still no blinding light, or overwhelming sense of love. No deep knowing. No tears. No choir, or brush of angel’s wings. No moment of desperation. No flood of warmth.

I wrote this to Graeme a couple of days ago:

“G, you need to know this: I found myself responding to Joe Pote’s post (Redeemed!) with conviction about who Christ is, and what He did on the cross. From the stance of a believer. Surprised myself!  I find myself riding my waves or feeling fear and anxiety, and say to myself, rather as I’ve heard you say…”wait, this can’t be right…this was fixed 2000 years ago…the reality is the hybrid creation Jesus/Diane that I’ve become.” I started by testing out how that feels, whether I could visualize and believe it…and I guess I do.  I’m considering that the earth manifestation in blood, and painful nerve endings, flesh, suffering, torture – perhaps even of crucifixion, may….I don’t know… no words, sorry. Something just outside my ability to get to it! But I’m open to even the cosmic meaning and consequence in that…which is what you grasp so clearly without the recoil I feel so strongly.

I find myself WANTING to believe more than I fear to believe, as I carefully and quietly (almost sneaky as to not trigger myself!) set aside my beefs and disagreements, hoping that as I rest, I will understand better, but through loving union not a spirit of intellectual debate. And I am perceiving, sometimes almost feeling, the love. My past experiences with religion are becoming irrelevant to my beliefs – fading in my mind like images from a scary movie.  I find myself more interested in talking with God than talking about Him. And when Christianity does come up (as it has with atheist Emily, and my nephew and niece), I find myself responding carefully – saying “maybe it is like this…” as I describe some (safer) aspect of our conversations or your book.  I have previously been incapable of sustaining faith but, as you have said, it doesn’t require years of restoration but rather turning my gaze back to Jesus who will never have left me, even if I am being freaked or inconsistent myself. And the renewing of my mind will continue. And I’m feeling traces of the security and freedom you describe.”

So quiet I can hear. A different view than I’ve known. Worth believing. Magnificent!

life-and-the-universe

By commenting on this post you are giving permission to me to quote your comment in subsequent writing, blog or article. Please indicate in your comment that you want any quotation to be referenced to you; otherwise, I will include no reference.

A few Diane-style references:

Powers of 10 – Original 1977

Powers of 10 – Redo, just the universe

Hardwired to Christ by Graeme Schultz

God’s Lunatics by Michael Largo

The Intention Experiment by Lynne McTaggert  (Don’t do an auto-trash on this because it sounds new age. A lot of good stuff on prayer, and the power of our thoughts and words. As in BELIEVE, bless, heal, pray, do good. Points TO God, or away, depending on YOUR paradigm. I suggest take what you want and leave the rest.)

Wikipedia on Bible and History

More than a Carpenter by Josh McDowell

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20 thoughts on “I Believe

  1. Talitha Kum October 9, 2013 at 11:25 am Reply

    Honest and humble… Thanks! Goes well with what I am thinking about these days as I am about to have a major interaction with groups of muslim women (I mean, very muslim!). Although it will not be about faith, but I think this ‘elephant in the room’ will be definitely present. They also want to believe! and their belief is so core to their identity… How dare I even assume having all the answers… Can’t help but thinking that they too are God’s children, and He probably knows their prayers too. Or not? I guess I need the ordinary supernatural miracle here, if Jesus is in me, let Him speak instead of me.

    • ranthegauntlet October 9, 2013 at 4:37 pm Reply

      Hi, Oksana! So good to hear from you. I have checked in on your blog several times “looking” for you. Very interesting…I am curious about your major interaction with groups of muslim women. If you want to talk more, feel free to e-mail me – ranthegauntlet@gmail.com. I think Jesus/Oksana will speak gentle words, or no words – what you have is spiritually discerned. As you know I have felt really burned by Christians talking, talking…when their words were almost certainly not from Jesus…or they wouldn’t be so ugly wrong. I have been drawn back by the ENERGY of respect, patience, non-judgment, genuine enthusiasm about a reality of utterly resting in Christ. I think for the wary, it is that energy, perhaps The Spirit, that is what is felt. The real, not the hype. I so respect your kindness and humility and openness. And wisdom. Ever since we connected a year ago in cyberspace, I have felt it through your words. I hope we will stay in touch. Blessings!! Diane

      • Talitha Kum October 10, 2013 at 2:21 am Reply

        Yeah well I kind of disappeared from my blog for a while. I guess I didn’t feel like I had something to say…. And I guess my spiritual flame went down a bit. Not like it was gone, just I got preoccupied with other things. But yesterday reading your stuff I felt like I’m back again. So thanks! And sure we should stay in touch, looks like we have a lot in common, I mean as for the things that make us tick… By the way, I think I was there at that rock in Colorado! Maybe not THE rock, but I was there about 2 years ago, and yeah it feels very special. AS for the women I am going to deal with…. They are the Afghan lawyers. It looks like I will be doing some management teaching for them. So once I do that, I’ll let you know how it went. It’s just that I realized that doing any developmental interaction (in my case management teaching), we come from very western presuppositions. And in my case, I think my moral code is very driven by my faith. And I’m about to interact with people who deeply believe in other things and base their moral code on different faith assumptions. So I guess I’m thinking how really different we are, were is the truth of faith, and so on. I guess I’m wrestling with my cognitive dissonance, knowing that there is only one true truth, and then either one of us is wrong, or the truth is somewhere in between…

        • ranthegauntlet October 10, 2013 at 9:44 am Reply

          My cognitive dissonance results from Jesus is the one way and anyone who doesn’t “get” it to “x” specifications goes to hell – and balancing that against a loving God knowing our hearts, and desires that none should perish. I ask but have not reconciled these ideas, teachings, verses. Having been willing to believe but not hearing anything real enough to really believe, or feeling I should “guard my heart” from “false doctrine”, I feel very defensive of those who can’t just hop on board. SO, I CHOOSE to believe that a loving God, great enough to speak the universe and us into existance, Who functions and sees past/present/future simultaneously, certainly knows more about people’s hearts toward Him and Jesus than we can ever see. The apostle Paul stands out – zealous persecutor, Pharisee?, passionate for God but misguided; a little intervention from Jesus Himself set him on a whole different path. I assume God knows what it is that each of us needs to be able to believe. I hope so. I think God knows the truth. Period.

          • Talitha Kum October 11, 2013 at 6:47 am

            Good point. I think God knows the truth too… 🙂 He better 🙂

  2. Denise Hisey August 25, 2013 at 4:21 pm Reply

    Love the photo of you on the mountain top, Diane!
    Exhilaration so evident 🙂
    It’s true we need the quiet so we can hear. I experienced something along those lines while on our recent motorcycle trip. No phone, radio, or fellow passengers to talk with. Just me, nature, and God to hash things out. It’s pretty powerful!

  3. Planting Potatoes August 24, 2013 at 7:54 am Reply

    We feel the same about living here in the mountains where we can hear and see God so clearly! Love the video…especially the music! your words blessed me today!

  4. Uzoma August 13, 2013 at 8:53 am Reply

    Wonderful piece, Diane. May the Lord continue to give you strength and courage to move on.

    • ranthegauntlet August 13, 2013 at 12:56 pm Reply

      Thank you, Uzoma, for your friendship and the blessing. Back at you!! Diane

  5. whisperingleavesblog August 13, 2013 at 12:21 am Reply

    Believe!

  6. barbarastanley August 12, 2013 at 9:16 pm Reply

    No man who has ever believed has been without doubts at some point in his journey with God. One thing God loves above all else is honesty. Confess those doubts, be open and willing to talk about your sin with God who is the sin doctor. These are the truths I have come to know. God bless you Diane.

    • ranthegauntlet August 12, 2013 at 11:21 pm Reply

      Hi, Barbara! I see you are an honest woman. And I will talk to Him, and those few who are honest, also. I am nothing if honest with God. He could tell you some stories!!! Blessings my friend. Thank you for your prayers! Diane

      • barbarastanley August 16, 2013 at 7:28 pm Reply

        I enjoy your openness and your honest search for the truth. There are millions upon millions of people who would be happy to tell you what you did wrong because everything must be your fault. I’ve met a few of these people myself. I know you have come to the point where you recognize these false Christians. Run, don’t walk, away from these people. If they can make your sin greater than their own, they feel better about themselves. Much love and continued prayers for you, dear friend.

        • ranthegauntlet August 16, 2013 at 10:31 pm Reply

          Hi, Barbara! Yes, I believe you are right. I feel like millions and millions already have!!! (smile) Another thing too many do is to make their truth “better” than another’s (same thing really as you said). One upmanship and presumption, and arrogance. Control! I can’t stand the noise! Really can’t hear the message for the delivery. And they create so much confusion and pain for others, when they could just gently guide then step back. We ultimately meet God alone, don’t we? Prayers and love for you, too, Barbara. Diane

  7. sf August 12, 2013 at 7:03 pm Reply

    Wow, that video was just breath taking!!! Watching the intricacies and gigantuan immenseness of nature, I have to wonder how any National Geographic or nature photographer and videographer cannot believe that there is a God. Thanks for sharing such a refreshing post!

    • ranthegauntlet August 12, 2013 at 7:15 pm Reply

      I’m so glad you liked it. Me, too! Music is very personal, but this music gets me, too. I wonder if people overlook the magnificence of nature and don’t believe, because there is so much contrasting suffering and bleakness, and they can’t put the two together and see God. Been there. Blessings!! Diane

  8. Lynda Lee Stepnowski August 12, 2013 at 7:01 pm Reply

    Lovely.

    • ranthegauntlet August 12, 2013 at 7:10 pm Reply

      Lynda! You are such a dear, really! I can’t wait to meet you in person sometime. Blessings! Diane

  9. mybroom August 12, 2013 at 4:16 pm Reply

    Hi D, just love powers of 10 – it’s the stuff that blows me away, like the evidence that is added – to our believing in things unseen. cheers G

    • ranthegauntlet August 12, 2013 at 6:32 pm Reply

      Exactly, G!! Wahoo!! (Besides, I’m an American who likes metric!) Diane

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