Summary: Part 2 in series The Journey Toward Christ, this message teaches that frustration and fear are almost always part of the journey, and explains why.
THE JOURNEY TOWARD CHRIST
Sermon Two: Searching
Wildwind Community Church
David K. Flowers
December 16, 2007
Two weeks ago on the first Sunday of this series, we talked about spiritual darkness. Remember the point of that message? The hardest thing in the world to do is to see, and admit, your own darkness.
I talked to you about four responses to the darkness in your life: deny it, ignore it, compensate for it, or admit it. And I asked what your response would be.
In Darkness? What’ll you do?
This morning I want to talk to the admitters, those of you who have acknowledged (or are willing to acknowledge) that you are in some kind of darkness. See you have a choice to make right now. You have admitted you are in darkness. Will you choose to search for light, or will you simply go back to denying, ignoring, or compensating?
But you say, “Hey – all this is just your opinion anyway! You say I’m either in darkness or else I’m denying, ignoring or compensating. That’s YOUR belief.” Yes, it is my belief. And this is a Christian church. And our leader, Jesus, told us again and again that we’re in darkness and that it’s hard to see our own darkness. Yes, it’s my opinion and our honest belief about Jesus’ message. Keep coming to Wildwind and you will keep hearing these kinds of things getting said. But it’s not combative. I’m not trying to force you to believe anything. We believe God gets a process started in the life of a person, and then that process moves from point A to point B because of God, not because of us. We just get to bear witness to the process. We get to get to know our people and find out what spiritual process is going on in them, and then encourage them to stay on the journey. That’s it!
I grew up a Christian. I mean, I committed my life to God at an early age. But it has never been easy for me. Faith doesn’t come easy for all of us. I’m one of the people who struggle with it a lot. There are some people who become Christians and assume all their darkness is gone. I became a Christian young, but I have spent my life wrestling with darkness that remains. God doesn’t reveal things to you all at once. It seems we often get only enough light to take the next step, and even that step sometimes we must take with barely enough light on the path to know where we are going. I don’t remember how old I was when I prayed this prayer: God, I know so little about you . I don’t know what is true and what is not. But I want to know the truth about my life, about this world, about you, about what it means to be a human being in a world full of both light and darkness. I will search for truth all the days of my life, because I’d rather experience the frustration that comes from constantly searching than the peace I might have if I just settled for things that aren’t real. I’m sure I didn’t phrase it quite that way, but that’s what I meant.
And so here I am. I’ve been searching ever since. My search has taken me everywhere. To the study of most of the major religions of the world. Into years of believing only in science and naturalism. Into certainty that God exists and then certainty that he doesn’t. I could almost sing that song by Johnny Cash – “I’ve been everywhere, man.” I’ve considered most things people can consider about God. I’ve considered that he’s who the fundamentalists portray him to be. In which case I, like many people, would have no interest in him. I’ve considered that he just wants me to be happy and doesn’t care how I live my life. But then part of me cries out to believe that the way I live my life matters in the scheme of things. I’ve considered that maybe we’re just accidents, you and me. Maybe it was the Big Bang, prompted by no one and nothing, and then the universe, and then conditions for life on earth, and then something crawling from the primordial ooze, and a little while later Curious George, and ultimately me. I’ve considered that maybe my search is ridiculous, because the answers I seek will never be found. And of course I’ve considered that behind all of this mystery is a God who loves me enough that he came as a human being to this earth and died to pay the penalty for my sins. It’s what I most deeply believe, but I’m still searching out what that means in my life.