I love listening to Southern Gospel music... Contempory Christian is okay but the 'soft' stuff ends up sounding the same after awhile and 'rock' just seems like noise to me... the Southern Gospel has close ties to the folk music that I love so I find it very soothing and relaxing. But there's one thing about it that I just cannot wrap my head around. The musicians have an almost joyful blind faith in God and His goodness... Sometimes I wonder what they've got that I don't... maybe if I could switch my brain off, life really would be all roses. But I don't think so.
I have plenty of faith of my own, but it's nothing like that... I
don't expect things to be black and white. I can see one HUGE weakness
in that particular kind of faith, and I've seen it demonstrated in real
life more than once - if God is a miracle-producing machine, when you
pray and the miracles don't come, the wheels fall off your faith...
there was a guy our old (Baptist-style) church adopted. He was mentally
ill and alcoholic, and the pastor had utter faith that God was going to
heal him if we just prayed long and hard enough... the guy bought into
it, they got him into a religious rehab, and for about six months he was
a different man. Everyone said 'this is what God can do, hallellujah,
go forth and convert all the sinners you see and everyone will live
happily ever after.' But then he crashed bigtime and the church said 'oh
no, He's a Sinner, the Devil got to him, he didn't have enough faith
and trust, etc etc etc. And the poor guy ended up back homeless in the
gutter he came from because he had never heard about God's TRUE love. :(
He thought he had to earn it, and that he couldn't possibly be good
enough for God because he had a truly horrible tragedy in his past that
broke him. He needed a ton of psychological help to move past, not a few
prayers and admonitions to change his ways... when he told me his story
I just wanted to hug him and love him and tell him that it wasn't his
fault... but he wasn't ready to hear. I just pray that at some time, he
did hear the true message... if God hadn't whispered it to me, and sent
me my husband-to-be who really understood it too, I could have ended up
in a similar position. I too believed that I wasn't 'good enough' for
God, I couldn't set foot in the church for two years without breaking
down because I'd disappointed God. Nobody told me that, I just felt it
in my soul, and it took ten thousand patient repetitions of 'yes, you
ARE Good' for me to truly believe it again (and even now I frequently
get the urge to ask for verbal reassurance that I'm a 'good kitty' ie.
doing the right thing and trying my hardest etc etc etc.)
Life is a journey. You're going to take five steps forward and then
two or three, or maybe even four, back occasionally... what you have to
do is to realise that if you are still moving forward further then you
fall back, you are STILL MAKING PROGRESS. I've pulled myself up the
mountain step by step, and so has my Love. We didn't say 'God, make us
healthy and wealthy and give us a happy-ever-after' and have it happen
just like that.
So, if God is not there for instant miracles, what IS He good for?
Love. God loves you whatever you do, however you feel, and whatever you
say... He's not going to turn His back on you. You can turn around and
pout in the corner all you like, but it won't change His feelings one
little bit. God is the constant... and if He can love, then we need to
love too. That means loving ourselves as much as everyone else, treating
ourselves with kindness and gentleness, and knowing in our hearts that
WE DESERVE LOVE NOT HATE. The shit isn't going to miraculously disappear
from your life... but when you say 'God, I need the strength to get
through this, I can't do it any more by myself' somehow, the strength
will appear. And that is what I believe...