Monday, March 12, 2012

All the Answers

I'm supposed to be an expert on glass and stained glass making. At least that's what the people who will be in the audience at an April presentation will think. I'm talking as an artist about my glass work and my faith. The topic is comfortable for me, and I'm not really all that shy about public speaking. (I've been a teacher for over two decades!)

But that "Question and Answer" period; THAT has had me worried. Because, see, I don't know lots of things about glass and glass art. I'm not formally trained in art at all. I don't even know what all the accurate names for types of glass are! I found that out at a glass store the other day. I caught myself listening in to a store employee give a "beginner" a little
 of the jargon about glass... and I was learning a LOT!

So, I've been a little worried... but not too worried. One of the things I've accepted in my life is that it's okay NOT to know. It's okay NOT to know the answers to the fourth graders' questions about what will happen if people don't change their ways (or if they do!). It's okay NOT to know whether that glass is cathedral or baroque, hammered or granite.

 And it's okay NOT to know why God allows bad things to happen in our lives. Or what happens to people who commit suicide. Or if God only selects some people to accept Christ, or if all are invited and humans have to accept or reject the invitation. Or exactly what heaven is like....

When someone asks me how I know that God is real or that Jesus has redeemed me, I speak from personal experience. I tell them how when I was a small girl, waiting for my dad to come pick me up for a visit, I felt Jesus' arms around me when it became clear my dad wasn't coming.

I tell them about my loss of faith for many years following college...and finding it again by attending a church regularly. One Sunday, when communion was ready to be served and I was ready to pass it by again, I was clearly filled with a message: Just take it. It's MY faithfulness you can depend upon. Not yours. You are my child, and I am here, like I've always been. Just act and trust.

  I tell them about the period of my life when my son was removed from our home out of fear for my daughter's life, when my husband went to jail for molesting a child, when I got divorced and faced single parenthood,

when both of my dads were critically ill on the same weekend...all  within a six-month period. I tell them that the only way I could face my life at that point (and many others) was with God's strength and the knowledge that all things are in His hands.

I tell them that God has provided the wisdom, energy, and endurance to parent one of our grandchildren, whom we have adopted as our daughter. She's five, and we're over fifty! But it is a JOY to be her parents, and she  is thriving.

Most of all, I tell them that God's love and grace has grown me and continues to grow me. I can tell that I am more patient, understanding, peaceful, and insightful than I have been in all my life. I look forward to God's ongoing work in me; it's far better than any maturing I could have done on my own!

 So if you're waiting for all the answers to be given before you take the leap of faith, jump in! The water's fine and the company is great. Even Jesus' disciple, Thomas, had his doubts.  We can say, as the father of the child possessed by a demon (Mark 9), "I believe; help my unbelief!"

No comments:

Post a Comment