Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The God of Parking Spaces and Football Touchdowns.

Sometimes I have to ask myself, what in the world happened to me?

Because when I look around, I feel like my entire faith in God has been shattered to pieces. I look at my Bible at home and I get a tiny little glimmer of hope that maybe, someday, I'll be able to read it and enjoy it again. I listen to people pray and I hope that I will one day be able to do that genuinely and with eagerness again. I read the blogs of my friends and I celebrate the triumphs in their faiths and I wonder where my own went.

When I look at it, I see that my faith was shattered by reality.

The reality that people starve to death. Every day.

The reality that people die from diseases that should've been prevented. Every day.

The reality that some people never get rescued.

And that makes it hard.

It makes it hard for me to believe in the God that grants parking spaces and cheers on football teams, who is worried about how far we have to walk in the wal-mart parking lot.

In the end, I found that I was left with three options:
  1. God doesn't exist. 
  2. God doesn't care.
  3. I (We?) got God all wrong. 
I never really doubted that He existed. But for a really long time (even now, I suppose), I questioned whether or not He was good. The questions in my mind were usually phrased like this: If He cares about *this*, why doesn't He care about *that*?

These things came up in conversation with a good friend of mine a few weeks ago, who is wiser than 99% of the people I know. She finally stopped me, and said, "God didn't do any of those things. People did."  And she was right. She reminded me that God let us do as we pleased, and that God didn't create the system. He didn't create the system that allows 16,000 children to die every single day because they didn't get enough to eat while 40% of the food eaten in my country is thrown away. That wasn't Him. That was me. 

What I've come to realize is this: My faith was shattered. Broken. Beyond repair. But my faith had been in the wrong thing. 

My faith had been in the God who is focused on me. Who was waiting to fill my needs and my wants. (Disclaimer: This does not mean we need to neglect our own needs. It means we need to be much, much, MUCH more aware of others.)

In truth, I think we've missed our mission. I now have to believe that God is waiting for me to get off my rear end and do something. I think He's waiting for me (us?) to be Him instead of speak Him. To quit arguing about stupid stuff talking about Jesus and start acting like Him. It's funny. The one parable that Jesus told that has become my favorite is the one about the sheep and the goats. And I've realized that the sheep weren't sheep because they got the most commitment cards signed. The sheep were sheep because they took care of the people's physical needs - hunger, thirst, nakedness, homelessness.

On my first mission trip ever, we went to Mexico, and I can't remember who said it, but someone told me: They will never hear the love of God over the sound of the rumbling stomachs.

Truth be told, I don't like this fact. I don't like the idea that I have some responsibility for all of this. I don't like the fact that I will have to change my habits and my thoughts and my perspectives and, most importantly, my actions in order to be this person that I want to be and serve this God that I'm supposed to serve.


  1. I don't really have to say anything other then high five for blogging and saying what was in your heart and on your mind.

  2. Great post, Emily! God cares much less about parking spaces and touchdowns than about what we are doing to make sure everyone has enough to eat, a place to live, proper medical care, etc. Having our cares align with God's and then living like it is a difficult and painful process.


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