23.4.11

jesus christ superstar do you think you're what they say you are

"He is Risen! He is Risen, indeed!"

How many times have I uttered those words? How many times have I stood in church on Easter Sunday, dressed up, and sang the words:

"Christ, The Lord is Risen Today! Alleluia
Sons of man and angel says! Alleluia!"

"I serve a risen Saviour, He's in the world today
I know that He is living, whatever man may say."

But does He?
Is He?

Easter is a trademark sign of spring. Flowers bloom, sunshine, the grass is green. The weather is (unless you live in a frozen tundra) generally warm.

But here I am.
Clouded in darkness.
The light doesn't seem to reach me, and I'm lost.

I feel like a failure admitting these things, because they get me the general Christian answers. "Pray to God. Read your Bible."

Do you have any idea how long I've done that?
Do you have any clue how many times I've tried?

Do you know how long I've lied to myself, clinging onto the belief I've had since Childhood?

I grew up Nazarene. We always had a sunrise service on Easter Sunday, Easter brunch, and then the regular service. We'd then (as a family) go to Grandma's and get our Easter baskets.

This year there's no Easter baskets.
There's no sunrise service.
I'll go to an Easter service, but it's because I feel I have to. I feel it's expected of me. And plus, who wants to be alone on Easter?

I feel empty. A hollowness.
So many people around me are rejoicing this weekend.
Rejoicing in the fact that Jesus was brutally tortured on a cross (note to self: never watch the Passion of the Christ. You throw up just watching clips of it).
Rejoicing in the fact that three days later, he arose and our sins were allegedly ransomed.

But yet...
maybe I'm the resident doubting Thomas.
I don't see it with my eyes.
I don't see the current evidence in my life.

I don't feel Him.
I don't even know if Him exists.

And I feel like I'm letting down the world by uttering these words.
That this Jesus? Who is He?
Where is He in my life?

I see people with strong faith, and I think
that used to be me.

I'm the girl who in 8th grade was considered to be faithful, strong, a rock. Who had an incredible faith.

And now it's gone and I've never felt so lost.

4 replies ^_^:

Kiersten Henkel said...

I think it is good that you are being honest; you shouldn't have to fake happiness and joy. There have been times in my life where I have felt the same way, when I feel like I am just saying the words but not sure I really mean it. Everything around me just seems dark and lonely and no one understands how I feel. God seems far away because I don't feel his love or comfort, and my circumstances seem to become worse instead of better.
When we think of Christ's suffering on Good Friday, we tend to focus on the physical suffering as portrayed in the Passion of the Christ like you mentioned, However, a film could never accurately portray the emotions that he must have been enduring. His friends deserted him, and his Father had placed the guilt, the weight of the world on his shoulders. He was alone, forsaken by all, bearing the scorn of all, though it was plain he didn't deserve any of it.
Even though you may not be feeling God's love right now, he does love you very much, and he completely understands the loneliness that you are experiencing. We all experience low points in our walk with God where we feel like he does not hear us; sometimes we may even wonder whether he is willfully ignoring us. There were points in my life when praying and reading the Bible just didn't seem to make it any better either. I don't have an answer as to why God lets us walk through these valleys, but I do know that he cares, and so do I.
I know we don't know each other very well, but I am listening and I care. If you ever want to talk, let me know. You will be in my prayers!

Kiersten Henkel

B said...

This is going to be long and personal, so bear with me. I am in a very similar boat with you regarding faith and Christianity. It is not wrong to question or doubt. To be a believer in something, you have to examine it. For example, during Easter we shout how He is Risen. Where did He go after He died? Did He just float to the sky? Walk away? Stuff like that. However, I recently had a revelation with my faith. I've come to realize that while it's worth while to question His existence, the root of the problem is expectation and not existence.

I've come across many people who believe that Jesus is our Healer. However, He's not here to heal anyone. Faith alone, isn't going to heal. People get arrested for this stuff as they watch their children die instead of giving them medicine. If someone has a genetic disorder, is missing a body part, or has some form of degenerative disease, faith isn't going to cure them. Having faith isn't going to remove the extra chromosome from a person with Down syndrome. If I lose a leg in an accident, it's not going to grow back. If my spinal cord is severed, it's not going to heal itself.

My current belief with Jesus is that He is to help you weather through the storm, but He isn't going to intervene. When you are down, you can look to Him for guidance for getting through the day, but He isn't going to make things better -- you have to do that. That's my expectation.

I've come across many "super" Christians who attribute everything to Jesus. While that's nice, it's not true and can be harmful. You've seen this. They found a dollar on the ground. It was Jesus. They narrowly avoided hitting a dog with their car. It was Jesus. They had a bout of the flu and they feel better. It was Jesus. The thinking is that if Jesus is going to me, He can be that good to you. By this logic, their faith helped them, so it can help you too. But, faith alone isn't going to fix everything.

Jesus isn't going to play favorites. You can have all the faith in the world, but guess what? We're all going to die one day. We're all going to have someone pray for us, and that joyous outcome isn't going to happen. I don't believe Jesus brings people together as soulmates. I don't believe Jesus cares about our politics or our wars. The commandments say thou shall not kill, yet we continue to fight wars.

B said...

Back to you...

I really wish I could meet you in person and just give you a giant hug. I read these words, and they seem a bit misguided to me. There's angst, there's emptiness, there's loneliness, and there's disappointment. Jesus can help you go forward as you learn to live the best life you can live, but He isn't going to fix your situation. That's my expectation now. You always speak of the past. And for you, the past was such a better time.

Ten years ago, you were that eighth grade girl who would attend Easter service as a family. Celebrate Easter. Go to grandma's. Fast forward today, you are hurting. You are hurting physically and mentally. At age 13, things were much simpler then. Today at 23, you are estranged from your family. You have been hurt by those who love you, and have been stabbed in the back by those who said they care. Your father hurt you by saying that "he didn't think you had it in you to go to college".

At age 13, you were looking forward to high school. Playing volleyball. Cheerleading. Having a good time with friends. If you were to turn back the clock and ask 13 year old Angelique, where would you see yourself in ten years, that girl probably would have answered with things like having finished school, engaged/married, having a good time living life.

NF1 sucks. It's taken away things you used to take for granted. Running, dancing, playing. There's so much physical pain, but probably the biggest pain is the unknown. If NF1 has done this much in ten years, what will it do the next ten years from now?

And lately it's been more disappointments than positives. You're far away from Ohio, distant from family. It's like you're on a winter island, unable to see anyone. Then there was the loss of one of your grandparents, who you hadn't seen or spoken to in years. And to top it off is the back surgery and transfer to Concordia. This is a serious surgery coming up, yet family is not there to support you. For Easter, the images of hunting for eggs and going to service with family is a distant memory. Of the few friends you do have, many of them will be going home after Finals leaving you alone with an uncertain feeling of what's to come as you recuperate from major surgery. This is a definite low point. But I can almost guarantee things will get better from here. You'll weather the storm.

B said...

Jesus is there. And having faith is going to help you cope from day to day. Give you the strength to continue the fight. Give you the courage to face challenges. And give you the confidence to feel good about yourself, despite all the negatives. Jesus may not heal you physically, and He can't take you back in time, but He can give you mental strength to continue on.


That's what I really like about you. While things may suck, I haven't heard you complain or blame anyone. You maintain a positive attitude. For the things that you do care about, you do them and stick to your guns. And when you're feeling down, you have many friends that care and love you. I'm one of them. Feel free to ask me anything. If I were able to come visit you after surgery, I would. The single version of me would have considered it, but I'm unable to do that now.

But then I think again about it, and had I not been expecting a child, I wouldn't have met you. Kinda weird how that worked out. (I know, I know, I still haven't "met" you before anyways).

Anyhow, this is what Jesus has done for me.
He's helping me cope with day to day struggles. I'm unhappy about lots of things in my life. Here I am up past 3AM (I'm a night owl just like you), sitting alone. I don't have many real friends. I'm not in the happiest spirit right now, but He helps me get through the day. He keeps me grounded. I take care of family. I honor and stay faithful to them. I respect others. When I am lonely and depressed, He helps me cope. And if I can't do it on my own, I'll have the strength to call on someone else who can help. That's my expectation of Jesus. However, I'm still struggling whether to attribute this to Jesus or am I simply doing some self-help psychology. But that's for another post.

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