(by Dr. Deb Waterbury)
I love A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Some of us even read it to our children at Christmastime. It’s a good reminder for us to get our minds off of ourselves and onto others at this time of year. It’s a classic.
However, it just scratches the surface, doesn’t it? Poor Ebenezer Scrooge is pitied by the audience because he has so obviously missed what his nephew and the Cratchits know, what Dickens portrays as the “true meaning of Christmas,” but what really happened to Ebenezer was isolation and loneliness because of a hurt he suffered a long time before.
Remember the story? He wasn’t always cold and heartless and unkind and ALONE. He was mistreated as a child by his father, and then relationship upon relationship began to falter, because of greed and malice and pain, until he became the curmudgeonly man we all love to hate in Dickens’ story.
The truth of the story of Ebenezer Scrooge goes all the way back to relationship. It goes back to the breakdown of relationship between him and someone he loved, and this is unfortunately an age-old problem. It’s a problem for men and women, but as the sex who lives a veritable life based on relationships, this issue often permeates our lives–the lives of women. (more…)
She sits in bible study again this week, and she smiles every time it seems appropriate. She says “Amen!” with the rest of the ladies when something particularly moving is said, and she answers questions when they are asked of her.
But still she doesn’t feel it. Still she doesn’t feel anything.
There is a vague recollection, a faint memory of feeling her faith once upon a time. It seems that she can almost grab onto this long ago heart condition, but then it slips away, more elusive with each passing moment.
What happened to that girl she once knew who was so on fire for Jesus? Where did she go? It doesn’t make it any better that everyone else around her seems to be having no problem living in the faith they proclaim. They cry and laugh and genuinely seem to feel what they believe.
Life just got in the way, and now she is left with doubt and pain at this Spiritual Sahara Desert which has become her life.
Have you ever felt this way? Have you ever entered into seasons of your life where you can only describe your faith as in your head but seldom in your heart?
Are you living in the Spiritual Sahara?
Have you ever run away from something, and I don’t mean something that might threaten your life? I mean, has there been a time in your life when you ran because you didn’t want what was in front of you, so you did a 180 and took off like lightening in the opposite direction?
Most of us, if we’ve lived for any length of time, can remember at least one of those times, maybe even more than one. As Christians, that running most likely involved running from God. Not too many believers would say that in some way at some time they didn’t run from what God was telling them to do. After all, there is a little Jonah in all of us. (more…)