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A phoenix rises


A look at doubt in a personal journey. By Adam Couchman


The more I read, the more I talk, the more I listen, the more I pray…the less I believe. The less I believe in some benevolent man sat above me meeting out his arbitrary justice upon me and my kin.

This is not how I thought my faith journey would pan out. But like some bell curve of Christian faith I feel I’m on the downward drop. 

And you know what? I’m loving it.

I built up to some great Being with all the traits that I’d read and heard that he should possess. But somewhere deep in me the alarm bells sounded. I couldn’t match this figure to the figure I saw around me. I read other Holy books and I saw the same Being staring back at me, but that shouldn’t be. The one truth seemed to be there in many forms with all the flaws I could relate to. All the facets of my humanity laid bare for me to see. I saw the face of the lost and hurting, I saw my own face in the mirror and I saw something other than some perfection that I’d heard about looking back.

I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t just keep believing without some serious thought. I knew there was something out there, with my very soul I knew that. But I couldn’t find it in any book. 

Signposts and clues were there, yes, but God wasn’t just in one book. God wasn’t even in one being anymore. It was so much bigger than that that I wanted to weep. Every book I read, every song I heard, every face I looked upon shone back with the light of a God. 

This wasn’t what I was expecting. God was supposed to take a set form. He was to be masculine and father like. Wise and loving. 

But that’s not what I saw. I saw people who shone with Holy light fail and fall. I saw those who were broken and hurting echo an eternal sound. I saw those of other faiths and no faiths live lives that vibrated with love to an awe inspiring level.

Was I losing my faith? It was a worry for a time. But somewhere in me I could feel the fire being stoked. Like the glorious phoenix my faith can rise anew from the ashes of what went before. I first found God in the ashes of my life as it burnt around me, or more properly, God was made known to me at that point. 

An Almighty being whose own fleshly incarnation has a life much like that of the magical phoenix, must surely be able to rise from the ashes of my mortal questioning. The very essence that holds this universe together can probably weather my uncertainty. And just like the Son it will rise in ever greater splendour and glory. 

This is what I settle on now, uncertainty. Great men and woman have gone before me and tried to define my God, they’ve all failed in some part. God is too personal to warrant description. To huge to describe in anything other than rambling human dialogue. How great is that?

I can look at the night sky and feel insignificant in my paled insignificance. But it is precisely that that gives me the knowledge of hope that beyond the very fabric of what I see is a force that bends reality to a degree that my frail humanity will never comprehend.

Call it what you will, from God to Flow. But know that we sit in some unimaginably beautiful web that pulsates with Love and we will never understand it. 

Adam lives in the South of England with his wife and three children. He is a keen reader, occasional public speaker and seeker of wisdom, as well as a deacon at a local Baptist church. He blogs at lifeoftimshel.wordpress.com    

Photo: Brunel Johnson | unsplash.com    

Baptist Times, 15/09/2017
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