[The Listserve] Tiny seashells and gnarly spiders
I recently traveled to Israel, from California.
At the Sea of Galilee, I got to stroll on the beach where the risen Jesus appeared to some of his disciples while they were fishing. Simon Peter jumped from his boat to swim to Jesus, robed and all (John 21).
As I walked along this shore, my feet crunching the tiny seashells which made up the beach floor, I wanted to feel an emotion—maybe awe or something grand like that—as one would hope to feel in such a place.
But I was hungry. And tired.
I crunched along, and all I could feel was surprise at how there were shells instead of sand, beautiful little gems that my boots were stepping on. Then in a rock, I saw one of the gnarliest spiders I have ever seen lurking in its intricate web.
The reality of this beach hit me. I almost laughed.
Simon Peter didn’t jump slow motion off the boat, with background music from a choir of angels, waves tickling his be-robed body as he swum to greet His risen Lord.
In reality, Peter probably struggled to stay afloat as his robe billowed awkwardly around him in the waves, and he braved some freaky spiders, and as he and the other disciples shared a meal with Jesus, they probably batted away gnats and other little nasties wanting to partake in the feast.
This is life. An awkward but powerful tension of the beauty and the brokenness. This is the tension between heaven and earth.
Jesus chose to come to a broken world. Being hit with the reality of the places where he lived make his choice to come here all the more powerful. He humbled himself, took on the pains of humanity, all so that us, the people of this world, could know Him, believe in Him, and be forgiven and saved by His grace and love.
I write this while I am stranded at home, and a Triple AAA guy is trying to fix my car. I am a college student and haven’t been able to get groceries for days because my car wouldn’t start, so I‘ve been eating canned soup. In the community where I go to college (Westmont, in California), there was a fire, flood and then mudslide. People in the community lost their lives. It’s very sad and people are hurting all around me, but trying to grab ahold to the caboose as the life train goes on.
Life is full of beauty too. The sun has been shining, flowers are blooming. I am at school. Last month my now-fiancé proposed and I feel like the luckiest girl in the world to be engaged to a kind, hilarious, free-spirited man who loves God and loves me better because of it.
I’ve heard people say that they hate when religious people share about what they believe. But I’ve also heard people say they find it hypocritical and hurtful when a Christian keeps their faith quiet. So here I am.
I am a Christian. I question my faith in God just about every day. Does the Bible really say that Jesus is the only truth? How can I think I was fortunate enough to know the truth, while others who have dedicated far more years to another faith practice could be flat out wrong?
Yet with each phase of my questioning, the God of the Bible always comes out looking more true.
If you have any thoughts, questions, or comments about religion, feel free to reach out!