Just a few short months ago, in early June, I sat at a table and started to write the series you are about to read. It’s crazy to me that between June and October your whole world can get flipped on its head.
I wrote most of what you’re going to read today sitting at a table three feet away from my dad. I wrote most of this when I was still learning to lose something that wasn’t quite lost.
I wanted to wait to share all this until I was sure that it is actually truth that is catching me and not just denial. But, each day it’s more and more clear that the glorious anesthetic of denial is gone. I am sad and a mess and the whole world feels terrifying and confusing.
And somehow in the middle of all that there’s me and God and a foundation of truth that I never knew would be so solid. While this overwhelming flood wraps around me He’s really real and He’s really there.
More than ever I agree with all that I wrote below. The deep truths of God revealed in His Word really are a lamp for our feet. They make it possible to see even in the blackest night.
I’m sitting here writing this in the middle of a pretty tricky situation.
And by tricky I mean hard.
By hard I mean the kind of situation where there is neither the time nor the inclination to study and decide what you want your worldview to be.
I interact with a lot of folks who try to convince me that not everyone has to be a theologian; not everyone needs to wrestle with the deep things of God. They try to assure me that they can love and interact with our Maker without taking a position or thinking through stickier doctrinal points.
While I disagree, I can see how that seems to work out most of the time. When you’re getting groceries it’s hard to figure out why it matters if you believe God is sovereign. Even when you’re sharing the gospel or standing in church, it’s hard to see why it matters if you believe you are in control or God is in control or Satan is in control.
But then ‘hard’ comes.
‘Hard’ comes whether you are ready or not and suddenly you’re in the middle of the fight and there’s no time to figure out what you want to believe. You already believe what you believe and there’s no going back. If any part of your heart believes God isn’t for you – that will come flowing out. If any part of your heart doubts that He holds the life and breath of us all in our hands – that will come flowing out.
The exam comes whether you are ready or not. Suddenly it’s just you and the dark and all the things you believe about God. Regardless of whether the things you believe are true or not, they are all you have left to stand on.
All these ideas and doctrines we teach, they really do matter. They may not matter to you today. They may seem like an intellectual argument for people to discuss in a far away room, but when ‘hard’ comes, these ‘secondary’ topics will suddenly be all that is left.
Just ask the parents who bury a child. Ask them if they think God’s sovereignty over suffering matters. Ask a girl who has been ‘little miss baptist’ her whole life and then wakes up to find she committed adultery. Ask her if what she believes about God’s sovereignty over sin matters.
Ask the girl sitting at this table writing a blog who is contemplating what it will feel like to bury an unbelieving father. Ask me. Ask me if I woke up today thinking that what I believe about God’s sovereignty in salvation is a minor detail.
Theology matters to me today. And I want it to matter to you. Because I’m not the only person in the world who is going to lose a dad this year. And I’m not the only person who is going to fight the anxiety of final moments with someone who isn’t a believer.
And I’m not ashamed of the doctrines that I believe are gloriously supporting my hurting heart in the midst of ‘hard’.
I’m not ashamed of the sovereignty of God, or the God-centeredness of His character, or the fact that He does not need me. These things are huge comforts and magnificent jewels in the character of God.
It’s weird to read this now. In some ways those weeks were the hardest of my life and in some ways ‘hard’ hadn’t even started when I wrote that. But the truths that anchored me then have only grown more solid in the time since then. Over the next few posts I’ll process some of those beautiful and solid realities that grounded me then and still serve as fuel for my soul.
My prayer is that these posts would drive you to His Word so that His Spirit might build a firm foundation of truth under your feet that will stand when everything else falls away.