I called my former teacher to talk. My confession came quickly: "I don't think I've liked myself much over the years."
His reply startled me. "Son, I don't think many people like who they are. At least if they are being honest. That is why Jesus offers to make us new creatures."
Is this true? I wondered. So many others appear so composed, so at ease in their lives.
Driving across the country, endless expanses of America pass by my window. Farmland. Desert. Lakes. Pastures. A continuity establishes itself in the repetition of land: a mundane movie with no visible plot and scenery with no scene. As a kid, seatbelt strapped, I watched with steady disinterest, my mind calculating the remaining minutes before I could pose the question again, "Are we almost there yet?"
What kind of employer is God? Compared to the world, he offers abysmal pay and benefits.
Working for the world pays. We receive insurance, stock options, pay raises, bonuses and vacations. This in addition to steady income, clothes, cars and housing. Our names show up in print, in conversation. Professional and social cliques woo us. Our influence grows. The better we become at our work, the more we attain. The clothes turn designer, the cars’ interiors leather, and the houses sit on larger lots.
Believing has never been the problem.
We believe in chairs. So we sit in them. Ever had anyone pull a chair out from under you as you sit down? A “friend” did it to me once, in front of a roomful of people. How embarrassing. Yet I still believe a chair every time I sit on one.
Belief produces. Though we cannot see, touch, or hear belief, we see the results it yields. Those results are the decisions and deeds that form our lives.
Look at Abraham.
Called by a God he couldn’t see to a land he’d never known, Abraham went. He left his family in search of a vague promise about blessings and curses. God didn’t even tell him where he was leading him.
Why do I believe A+ grades make me a person who passes muster?
Why do I believe my fraternity/sorority’s letters make me acceptable in general?
Why do I believe I’m better than someone because my clothes are from Kenneth Cole or Dolce and Gabbana?