It has been three years since I have given my life over to Christ. In these three years I have been challenged beyond belief in every single part of life. This book has not made anything any easier. If one book has made me doubt my faith and made me question everything I believe in, this has been one of the top. Preston Jones and Greg Graffin create an atmosphere that made me engaged in both sides of the debates in all areas talked about. There were specific things that Graffin had written about during the Theism vs. Naturalism section. Graffin and Jones are discussing back and forth immensely during this section and Graffin makes this statement “The stories and ‘truths’ we we are told in the first six or seven years of life are what form our worldview…(Remember it took about 300 years for the general population to believe the stories elucidated by Copernicus that the sun, not the earth, is the center of the solar system!)” (56) Graffin is talking about evolution and the way society has been teaching children. He firmly believes that within about 100 years, Darwinism will be understood and accepted. This caught me off guard, in school we are just taught what either teachers believe or what they were taught to believe. Graffin makes a strong argument here, mostly because in the prime ages of six and seven, children are adapting to rules of school, and general society. Their eyes become fixed on what they are being shown and becoming enthralled by the information. These children can then grow up only to believe what they are taught, but without the reasoning behind it. Jones however, plays a battle with Graffin. The two have gone head to head, round after round, trying to get the other to slip or Fall. (See what I did there?) The Fall is a huge topic, and one that almost every theologian or basic white collar folk has heard of. Traditionally, Christians view the world today as being a consequence of the Fall or “man’s rebellion against God.” (79) Graffin didn’t really have too much to say about the topic though. Graffin gave the naturlaist point of “a naturalist would acknowledge that suffering exists, feel terrible about it, and search for a way to cure it!”(83) All that sounds good and wonderful, but it leaves so much questioning. Jones does a good job of truly explaining the Christian view of “God doesn’t want the world to be like this; and when the curtains fall--when he ends it--the world to follow won’t be like this.” (81) This to me trumps the naturalist view in one word...hope. Without hope, what do we have? Not everything is solved or cured and who knows how long it could take or if that is even possible. I am I firm believer in biology and the strides it has taken but I also believe in having hope for a better future because this world is broken. Instead of saying “wow, this world is rough, this world is bad” I would rather say “...yes, the world is warped--here’s why, and here’s what you can hope for.” (82)
These past few weeks have been a crazy journey. From unexpected situations, midterms, fighting off zombies, a tornado and even fighting off some serious spiritual warfare, all I can say is wow. How I am still managing to stand, breathe, talk, basically be a human, is all to the mighty mysterious glory of God. I first want to give a huge thank you to everyone that has continued to support me on this Honduras adventure, all donations and consistent praying has been an extreme not only privilege to see but as well as a gigantic blessing. I also want to give a shout out to my amazing teammates and friends who have been another huge support in this crazy time of life, I love you all dearly and love being able to share a life with you all! A week ago I experienced something so amazing, terrifying, exciting and confusing. It has been a few weeks and I still have trouble completely understanding what happened. I had heard of spiritual warfare before, but never though something so terrifying would happen to me. After experiencing some serious out-of-body, depersonalization, heaviness, and death, my friend I was with that night said I was surrounded by Jesus in what she called a "Jesus Bubble", and at that point, my confusion and frustration reached an all time high. After what seemed to be the longest night of my life, I woke up the next morning exhausted. And when I say exhausted, I mean felt like I ran 3 marathons back to back, and if you know me...I don't run. Needless to say, it was an interesting day trying to piece all the puzzles back together and figure out basically what in the world happened. The rest of the week after everything happened was probably one of the hardest, most amazing, weeks I have been able to experience. I have always been a fairly out going person, at least I like to think I am, and so everyday that week I had met with someone for a one-on-one just to talk life and get to know each other on a deeper level. However, there was one meeting in particular where I was challenged to look at God's goodness in a different light. This is how I realized God's goodness can come from our struggles.
What does God's good really mean to you?
This may seem like a simple question to some people, obviously bringing out the basic definitions of good such as showing kindness, or something that is pleasing. Now don't get me wrong, these are amazing things but I am talking about a different "good". I'm talking about the hard "good" that nobody seems to want to talk about too often. In Psalm 73 we can see how these two ideas of "good" come in to play. In the beginning, Asaph compares good with being perfect, he believed that as long as he was righteous nothing bad would happen to him. As we get to the end of the Psalm however, we see a complete change in Asaph, he realizes that his suffering was what brought him closer to God. "But as for me, how good it is to be near God! I have made the Sovereign Lord my shelter, and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things you do." (Psalm 73:28) Whatever draws us in to a deeper fellowship and relationship with God is actually "good". For myself this has come during some of the darkest moments in my life. It was in those places that I realized the suffering and pain I was enduring was not only helping me grow as a person, but growing my faith in learning to trust God and literally surrender my life. Because at those points, I couldn't do anything else except be still, and let God take over.
My prayers for a while now have been asking God to give me a word, just one word that He wants me to use for this year. The same word had come up in almost every prayer that was prayed over me, the word Warrior. This was extremely strange to me when I first was realizing that this was the word God had given to me. Warrior? God, do you see me right now? I am a wreck, a mess, there is no part of me that is a warrior or even close to that. Until I finally understood that through every painful event, every struggle, every bad though that entered my mind, I fought, and I fought hard. I am a Warrior, and not just any warrior, but a beautifully broken, hardheaded warrior for God.
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Continue to check back for more updates, I am officially half-way to my goal of $2500! We leave in 2 months!