Saturday, August 25, 2007

the struggle of faith

Over at Jesus Creed, Scot McKnight posted on the story of Mother Teresa's struggle of faith as well as giving the Time article, worth the read. A good post as always and some helpful comments over there.

I believe faith inherently involves struggle. Yes, there is the rest of faith, and we've read of Christians who seemingly have learned to abide in this rest over years. But to deny that faith involves struggle is to deny the experience of most all of us Christians, and even denies Scripture that talks about the effort required to enter into this rest of faith.

Life and Christian life by nature is dynamic, not static. It moves on through the stories of our lives and encounters all kinds of challenges along the way. This should not surprise us when we look at the Story as found in Scripture. We read there of real life characters who encountered inward as well as outward difficulties. To deny struggle in faith, is to deny the need for ongoing growth and ongoing confession of sin.

Every step of faith that we take that brings us into a new sense of rest will be challenged; mark that. And the challenge may be over a prolonged period of time as well as repeated during that time, and in some sense can be so throughout our lives. To think anything less than this is to set ourselves up for failure- I believe, and for perhaps even our departure from faith.

What would you add to my brief thoughts on this here?

6 comments:

Alan Knox said...

Ted,

Great thoughts! The very idea of faith suggests struggle... struggle between following that which is seen and that which is not seen. Struggling to listen to the voice of God over the other voices screaming around us.

-Alan

NaNcY said...

i think that living out the faith that we are given with the life we are given is quite a remarkable unfolding.

RonMcK said...

To me the problem is that the church has forgotten the meaning of spiritual warfare and spiritual protection. We say we believe there is a war going, but most of the time we live like we are living in peacetime. We send individuals up to the front line on their own, and wonder why they get beaten up.

Teresa's spiritual advisors told her the darkness came from God. Who was standing with her to resist the darkness? Why was God masquerading as an angel of darkness?

James and Peter say that if we resist the devil he will flee. Did anyone know how to do that on behalf of Teresa?

If a soldier wanders off on their own and gets hit by a sniper, they are most likely at fault. If a soldier was obeying orders and gets hit by a sniper, then most likely the army unit was functioning incorrectly.

Plenty of people honoured Teresa, but who was resisting the darkness on her behalf?
Ron

Ted M. Gossard said...

Alan, So true. If we're looking for comfort in following christ in this life in the way of faith, then we're going to be disappointed. Perhaps it's in part about learning to be comfortable with the discomfort, seeking to do so in God by grace.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Nancy, It really is, and in a true sense, the truest sense, is something really beyond us.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Ron, I think you have something there.

But I would suggest that for certain saints there is entrusted a special calling that brings with it a working of God not common at least in degree with others.

I think of the thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan that tormented Paul. Yet spiritual warfare and Paul's three times petitioning did not take that away. God knew it was important for the work God had called Paul to do.

I don't know, of course, how that would apply to Mother Teresa's case, though I myself suspect it is related to some extent.