More Than a Story

“The Son is the image of the invisible God…” Colossians 1:15a

To be honest, sometimes I hardly believe in God. It’s not just doubt, but God and faith and all of that spiritual stuff seem so beyond me. I wish I could say I mean that in some powerful, mystical way, like I am just so overcome by God, but I don’t. I mean it in an anxious, worn-out way. It’s more like God is a distant theory that I cannot wrap my mind or heart around.

I am kind of going through one of those periods right now where I hardly believe in God, if you really want me to be honest. In these times where I cannot sense his closeness and I am unmoved by both testimonies and the words of everyone’s beloved N.T. Wright, I can only hold on to the gospel: Christ and him crucified.

Crucifixion (after Delacroix), oil on canvas, 40×30 cm

This gospel of the Crucified God is what keeps me holding on. It’s a story that defies every narrative about the almighty God, as it was through Christ’s life laid down for all creation that the most glorious mysteries are revealed. Power itself is redefined through this sacrifice, as he humbles himself to the point of torture and crucifixion and then bursts forth gloriously in resurrection.

There is power in weakness. There is glory in sacrifice. There is hope for the broken, the lost, the hurting, and the dead.

The violence of humanity is confronted at the cross, and a new way is declared. A whole new order is established; a new existence is created. The last are first and the marginalized and oppressed are lifted up. That is the gospel of the Kingdom.

This story is sometimes the only apologetic that reaches my heart and motivates me to follow God. Sometimes God seems so beyond me, and he even can seem a bit cruel and silly, but if he looks like Jesus, I need to follow him. This gospel, this Kingdom, this Jesus—it’s the most beautiful story I have ever heard.

And I don’t know if this makes sense, but perhaps it is too beautiful to just be a story. I’m inclined to believe that this story’s beauty is beyond the work of man’s imagination. Five years ago, when I fell on my knees and claimed faith in Christ, clueless to how such a procedure should go down, I don’t think I just fell in love with a beautiful story. I am pretty sure fell in love with a beautiful person.

Remembering all of this may not immediately stir my heart or even cause me to be confident in the reality of God (though sometimes it does), but it gives me enough courage to take one step forward in following Jesus.

2 thoughts on “More Than a Story

  1. I’ve always been more interested in what the guy had to say & what he did that made the rulers of his day so determined to make an example of him.

    Then, after working through this on a (pretty defunct for now) Bible-study blog, I considered the expectations people had built up — and realized that a political victory would merely have established the wrong Kingdom.

    Since then, people keep on trying to seize the Kingdom by force (of one kind or another.) It isn’t always a matter of “violence” — but a kingdom of God will have to be based on consent. That may take a storm or two, washing away everything people have built on top of each other.

    Like

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