Does God exist?
Is faith logical?
If Christianity is true, then why do so many people stink at living it out?
Is my relationship to God only a figment of my emotions?
Do I just want Christianity to be true?
Why can’t I feel God?
What’s the big deal with evolution?
Is creation true?
Why do creationists teach an uninformed perspective of evolution?
What about the authority of Scripture? Did the Hebrews write the Torah simply because other civilizations around them at the time were forming their own histories and they wanted to be just like them?
How do we know that the Bible is true?
Why do I have so many doubts?
These are only a few of the serious questions that fly through a college student’s mind in a day. Typically, they don’t have time to research answers, because, well… there are papers to write, appointments to attend, work to do, groceries to buy, sleep to catch up on, and a hundred thousand other things to start.
But these really important questions! You might say.
Yes, they are.
Unfortunately, sometimes the college life is all about survival. Actual physical survival. Surviving the next couple of hours. Staying awake until class is over. Making it until the next deadline is over. And then crashing. During that crash period, it takes a strong person to wake up, put life on pause, and deal with the intense intellectual turmoil of the past few days.
That is why the college years are so serious. The intellectual struggle, I have found, is intense. Textbooks are especially dangerous because they are a constant, subtle whisper of blasphemy in the believer’s mind.
Add to that our (post)-postmodern cynicism. And there you have it. A nice recipe for intellectual suicide.
I was out late the other night. I was driving home. It was dark. The moon was high over a somber field. Gray-white clouds, long and thin, floated past so that the moonlight dimmed and faded. Hmmm, I mused. How perfectly appropriate. These melancholy shadows… a picture of our questionings and doubt.
Immediately a song came to mind. It’s a hymn that I don’t even particularly like (if you can imagine).(The harmony is rather drony). But this song came to me. That evening I had been discussing a lot of these questions. We had been talking about origins of the earth, the holy “society” of the Trinity, and who God is to us personally, doubts that we face, and ways that God has physically provided for us. And then, this song came to me as I drove home at night.
“Great is Thy faithfulness, Oh God… …my Father. There IS no SHADOW of turning with THEE. THOU changest not. Thy compassions, they fail not. As Thou HAST BEEN, Thou FOREVER wilt be.
Summer and winter and springtime and harvest… Sun, moon, and stars, in their courses above, join with all nature in manifold witness to THY great faithfulness, mercy, and love.
Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth… Thine own dear presence to cheer, and to guide… Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow… [These] blessings [are] all mine, with ten thousand beside!”
There IS NO SHADOW of turning.
I was tempted to compare life to the melancholy, to the shadowy clouds and the moon. But unlike the dark night, which is so utterly depressing, full of wandering and confusion… God brings us light in the morning. He IS the light. He refers to Himself as “the bright Morning Star” (Revelation 22:16).
“Morning by morning, new mercies I see. All I have needed, THY hand hath provided. Great is Thy faithfulness… Lord… unto… ME.”
In thinking about God’s provision for us as the spiritual “Light,” I am reminded of the encounter of the two men with Jesus on the road to Emmaus in Luke 24. This occurrence illustrates how Jesus becomes our Light… our Morning Star.
The two men were completely aware of the good things Jesus had done. They had heard about his miracles and his powerful teaching. They were convinced that He was the one who would redeem Israel. And yet, there they were, walking along, not three days after his crucifixion.
So what were they supposed to do then? Where was their hope then? It says that their faces were downcast. And they were additionally trying to figure out the most recent news: that some women were out claiming that Jesus’ body was missing from the tomb and that Jesus was alive.
So Jesus approached these men (they were kept from recognizing him) and asked what they were discussing. After they explained, Jesus said, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken!” (25). And it says that “beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself” (27). When Jesus was about to leave them, (and they still did not recognize him), it says that the travelers “urged him strongly, ‘Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.’” (28). And so Jesus stayed with them.
This is a most beautiful picture of what God does to us. In our questioning, in our doubts, in our confusion of the night, Jesus comes and “stays with us.” He explains to us who He is.
He meets with us. He, the holy God, communes with us. The Scripture says that that evening, “when he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. They asked each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?’” (30-32).
Isn’t this the work of the Holy Spirit? Isn’t this how Jesus is? He meets us where we are. He shows us who He is. He communes with us.
I find it interesting that Jesus stayed with these men at evening. And in the midst of their “intellectual” night, he revealed to them who He is.
“O sacrum convivium!
in quo Christus sumitur:
recolitur memoria passionis eius:
mens impletur gratia:
et futurae gloriae nobis pignus datur.
O sacred banquet!
in which Christ is received,
the memory of his Passion is renewed,
the mind is filled with grace,
and a pledge of future glory to us is given.
Bleib bei uns, denn es will Abend werden, und der Tag hat sich geneiget.
Bide with us, for evening shadows darken, and the day will soon be over.