The Biblical Model is that God deliberately chose imperfect vessels- those who have been wounded, those with physical or emotional limitations. Then he prepares them to serve and sends them out with their weakness still evident so that his strength will be made perfect in that weakness.
This week I felt completely moved by Faith. One of the goals I set out to achieve this year was to refine my beliefs and give some extra definition to my religious stance. While I don’t subscribe to a particular teaching as of the moment, I gravitate towards aspects of different religions, resonating with certain messages, ideologies and overarching teachings. It feels too simplistic to say I’m Spiritual yet that label has been most fitting for a while now and served me well. The study of Theology has always greatly interested me.
I’ve found myself asking questions like “What does true Christianity, Islam, Judaism and so on look like in practice when every person is different and tends to pick and choose what makes sense to them to act out?” The three core religions are inextricably linked. All began in ancient times in the Middle East and are Monotheist. Guides in the form of Prophets and Disciples were sent down to forge a path for the people and show them Salvation should they submit to the word and release, giving themselves and their lives entirely over to God. What an incredible act of humility from a loving God. A way to extend hope to the masses and remind them that progress reigns supreme over perfection. That keeping a child’s mind and a servant’s heart will allow us to remain steadfast and be moulded in a single Holy image.
In Islam, we are taught that the Prophets are infallible in carrying out their mission. They do not stray, nor do they err or speak from their own inclination. They are not incapable of sin yet were freed from errors in delivering it. That is the utmost high standard of conduct. To be created with the capacity for flaw and yet to rise above time and time again. This is not to say that errors in judgement weren’t made in their personal lives. The Prophets of God are sent as examples to the rest of humankind and are described as the very best of Creation, therefore making fault unfathomable. They are pure, immaculate, preserved from and immune to all that is unclean. Perhaps this is due to the fact that they have absolute belief in God as they have found themselves in his presence. They have an all encompassing knowledge of his will at any given time.
In this way, they are saved from uncertainty. Surely, as modern people, we are tasked somewhat differently. We strive in an illusive manner to gain control and be in the driver’s seat of our life, directing the twists and turns that we come upon and navigating them through a single lens. In reality, we are called to relinquish this unrealistic and unattainable idea of perfection. Instead, we are called to have our pursuit be one of submission, our knowledge extending only so far as our next step, not the whole staircase. God Himself has said that He wishes us to walk towards Him in blind faith, for we are much greater, bolder and more audacious when we fix our eyes on what is unseen. Nobody living can confirm the existence of God and yet all lives centre around him.
That begs my next question: Can we follow people who make mistakes? When I think of the Bible, Redemption comes to mind alongside deliverance, reclamation, liberation and restoration, all for one simple reason. The disciples were ordinary men. He took the most ragged, rowdy unlikely wanderer and put them on the frontline as testament to his Glory, to wield his love, to heal. So patient, so pursuing. Doubts were welcomed, questions, confusion, venting, frustration, disbelief. Clenching of the fist, shaking of the teeth. Those who draw near and claim they feel so far. All that is asked of us is that we eventually move through our concerns. These men were not plucked from the very arms of God yet still sent by Him. Such a Sovereign and Holy God is not limited to our human condition, to a body and soul that can be wrought with temptation and uncertainty, yet he recognised that it was a form we couldn’t move past. He sees the inevitability in our slip ups.
This is confirmation of overwhelming understanding. It is only fitting that those we are led by are familiar with this plight, that their experience can attest to it. My partner left me with some food for thought the other day. His very pure advice was to call out to others from their state of comprehension in a tongue they may perceive. What good is it to speak from such a high place that others can’t help but put you on a pedestal and feel demotivated rather than encouraged towards betterment? We can only discern what is on our level. We cannot move to be in a place we aren’t prepared for.
It is said that God works on us in a plethora of ways and not only through what we consider our religious life. He works through nature, our bodies, our significant relationships, through books, through experiences. Ultimately, He works on us through each other. I’ve come to realise that I cannot carry all my burdens for they are heavy. I’ve come to realise that unbridled joy and a calm heart are benefits I can reap anytime, all the time. I’ve come to realise that a relationship with God is an absolute game changer, more than capable of transforming even the toughest spirit.
It’s one thing to want God in your corner during your hard times, which is where I started. It’s another thing entirely to want God in your corner all the time, simply because he is a permanent fixture in your life. He is ever faithful with mercies new everyday, constantly extending a listening ear and calling us home, even when we don’t show up as our highest or most evolved selves.
When we’re in the midst of darkness and thrown a flashlight, it’s so much easier to believe in miracles and be led onto the right path. When we struggle under the weight of problems much bigger than us, growing weary and tired, we realise we are only human. Perhaps God uses our hardships, our times of darkness, to silently transform us into people who are truly whole, complete because of him.
I found God in the Summer of Twenty Nineteen. I was taking a tour of a Heritage listed home with my mum and brother when I received a call from my partner’s cousin, a doctor working at a local hospital. Being in a long distance relationship has taught me the immense value of commitment and solid communication skills. It’s also allowed me to embrace vulnerability and give into a newfound and deeper sense of trust. In this way, all gaps were bridged. At the time, my partner taught a Martial Arts class on and off. As a result of a miscommunication, he had entered a sparring match with a student expecting light contact, not full. His headgear was knocked off and damage done in the moment became visible later on. We weren’t sure if he’d pull through.
Naturally, I felt hysterical, off kilt. Incapable of the action I so desperately wished to take. I was weary and needed a pillar of support yet didn’t know where to lean. I knew that sitting with such tumultuous feelings without a proper way to channel them could only do me harm, entirely like a pot simmering away and threatening overflow. I knew deep down that the balm for this wound was prayer. I needed to forgo my initial instinct of panic and just speak to God from a place of truth. I needed to find peace not in spite of my circumstance but because of it. As with anything new, it was uncomfortable, uneasy. Naturally so! This was God letting the river dry up so he could redirect me to the source.
God did draw me out of deep waters. He took a hold of me and He had me. He loved me wholly and fully. I was surprised when my heart began to hear music like never before. My feet took on a new rhythm. Listening to worship music made me feel as if I was born again. I would weep. It felt as if I was being turned inside out. It was a raw, naked experience that stripped me of airs and graces, of ego and unhealthy pride, of the human tendency to believe we know best. It was remarkable and most captivating. A voice in the most crowded corners of my mind. An answer when my mind feels like an echo chamber. A presence more felt than a room of a thousand people. A word more profound than the most sobering of silences.
Then the love of my life woke up and told me of his peaceful slumber. Of walking through Heaven’s gates, of warm glorious light, of being reunited with loved ones who have passed on. Eventually, of being told that his time is not yet and that his work on Earth may continue. I frequently see God’s work in my significant other and not because he grew up in the Church and was devout in never missing a Sunday.
My partner has been through innumerable and immeasurable trials and tribulations throughout his health journey. He has a terminal lung condition and has had open heart surgery, spinal surgery, lung surgery, chest reconstruction surgery, cancer. He has even been considered medically dead three times. He recounts feeling his spirit leave his body. Of watching himself from above, body on an operating table. He described it less as being ripped from a shell and more of a peaceful descent upwards.
The most defining moment however is looking back in hindsight and seeing how God worked through me and the hands I was dealt. How four years of Depression, of numbness, of suicide attempts, served to tip the scales in favour of my truly living for the first time. How my fear of not waking up and knowing another tomorrow returned. How two years of Anorexia and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder led me to find freedom in not having all the answers. This new body may be soft and curvy but it is life giving and my only home. Then there were instances of abuse littered throughout my childhood and teen years.
A rape, a pregnancy, a miscarriage. I managed to derive a teachable moment from the most profoundly painful and heart wrenching loss I’ve been through. It has been two years now. I don’t see the lump in my throat disappearing anytime soon but I have moments of quiet reflection now. I realised that what I wish for most of all is to have my little family together. To have my partner by my side and not ten thousand miles away. To have my baby in my arms, not in heaven. Who, pray tell, would wade through this mess with me? Who do I know that is in the business of resurrection, who can split entire oceans clean down the middle? That’s right- the one I call God. The one who calls me Chosen.