“Don’t preach to me. I’m done with God.”
This is something a friend said to me recently, and afterwards it really got me to thinking. At the time I remember my head said, “He’s not done with you, though,” yet the words that came out of my mouth were more subdued.
That is what I had said. To back down was easier than to engage, but that doesn’t mean it’s always the best answer. Thinking over the situation I realized my friend was done like a lot of people were done. It wasn’t so much that he was done with God, but rather that He was done with religion. I get it.
Religion, to me, is like book learning. I read all the material in nursing school. I even took notes. But I did not develop a love for the field until I entered into it hands on. I mean, I was intrigued by anatomy and physiology. The idea of healing made me happy. But it wasn’t until I saw the power of how my healing hands affected another human being that the field of nursing brought me joy. If I just looked at it as a paycheck, I’m sure I would have found something easier on my back with better hours long ago. Droves of nurses flee the bedside because the stress of the field is frustrating and overwhelming. Some of us stay because we’ve fallen in love with what we do. I think for much of the world, they’re easily burned out on religion. I get it.
My friend had asked me some questions about that angry God in the sky. I think the hellfire and damnation part was causing a great divide in his heart. He couldn’t understand how he could follow a Father who would let good friends of his not experience eternity in Heaven. I think he was kinda seeing God like the mean kid in high school who threw the best parties, but you only got invited if your parent’s bank account was up to par. I get it. Book learning will only teach you so much. Heart learning is the only way to get the right answers.
At the time I simply said, “I’m not the judge of who goes to heaven or hell. I leave that up to Him.” But I should have said more.
I should have admitted, “I don’t know all the answers, but I do know my Father.”
I know Jesus. And to know Him is to trust Him.
I don’t know why good people die young. I don’t know why my mother died at 54, or why a good friend of mine just died at 51. But I do know God is good. I didn’t just learn that by going to church, and not even just by taping some inspirational Bible verses on my bathroom mirror. I learned it by love.
I don’t know what happens when hurting, lost people die. I know what scriptures say about things like “weeping and gnashing of teeth,” and I believe that the only way to eternal life is through Jesus, but I don’t know what happens in the unseen. I don’t know what happens on a spiritual plain between here and there. But I know Him. I know He is love. I know He is forgiveness. I know He is the way.
I’m not a Biblical scholar, and I’m not an expert on the law. But I do know Grace. I know that it saves. I do know mercy, and I know the Father’s is abundant.