Faith doesn't mean heaven here on Earth
July 20, 2011 - A song was released a few years ago by a popular recording artist that simply proclaimed that there was "no such thing as the real world," but that it was simply a lie you had to get over.
While I understand the spirit of the song and the artist's attempts to capture the minds of those frustrated with the realities of this "real world," I do believe that there is in fact a real world out there.
This real world is a world of hurt, fear, letdowns and frustrations.
In this real world, people die, get divorced, lose the family pet to old age, and get into car accidents.
In this real world, there are people who will tell you they care about you, only to turn around and prove the complete opposite to be true.
This is a reality that I tend not to like and would rather that none of us would ever have to deal with.
Many fail to understand how the church can exist in such a world tainted with messiness and junk.
How can an organization that exists to do good, do so in such a reality that we find ourselves in? The answer is clear; it's not only possible, but it is what we are called to do.
The Bible is not a tool to be used to simply add blessings to the lives of those who seem to have it all together.
It is, in fact, a book that contains the best message ever given, that there is a God who loves us, cares for us, and wants a relationship with us.
It is a book that contains a wonderful message from the God of this universe, creator of all.
The reality is that there is in fact a terrible reality for our world. There are wars, rumors of wars, death, disease and famine.
People hurt other people in action, word and thought, and we tend to care very little about those whom God came to give life to.
So, how do we have a realistic faith?
My response is a question how can we not? When confronted with the messiness of the reality we find ourselves in, I am reminded by God's Word that He has come into our world as Christ, has lived in our neighborhood, so to speak, and has conquered death and hell so that we can have life and have it abundantly.
That does not mean I will be rich. It does not mean I will never get sick. It does not mean that I am immune to the effects of divorce and sin.
What it does mean, is that I have a hope.
A faith message that focuses on an idea that everyone will be okay and that bad things never happens is inaccurate and hurtful to the Kingdom of God.
But so is a message that the reality that we find ourselves in cannot be a place where God can move and affect life-altering change in our hearts and lives.
The reality is that oftentimes our present circumstances are only part of our reality. The parent dying of cancer is reality, but it is not all of reality.
The reality also is that God has a plan for your life, loves you more than anyone else does or could ever love you, and wants to do great things in and through you.
So how can you have faith in this reality we live in? I believe the better question is, how can we have faith without bringing it into the real situations of our daily lives?
The Rev. Matt Bailey is pastor of Lake Louise Church of the Nazarene.