My answers to these kinds of questions seemed to be disappointing to some. They wanted to hear a tremendous new revelation, something direct-from-Godish that would be earth-shaking.
The simple answer: My theology is getting me through this hard time.
In an age where Joel Osteen smiles and blinks (a zillion times) into the camera and says that “God didn't make a mistake when He made you. You need to see yourself as God sees you” (see more Osteen quotes here), my theology of Creation-Fall-Redemption got me through.
Why is that?
Because the simplistic worldview that many Christians buy into (echoed in Osteen) is to emphasize only one of the parts of the story. If we simply believed that “God makes no mistakes in making us,” then why did I have an aortic dissection that nearly took my life back in February? Though the doctors are still unclear as to its cause, they are sure that it was caused by a congenital defect (that is, something present at birth) in my connective tissues coupled with an insufficient aortic valve.
If God “makes no mistakes,” then what the heck happened here? Saying "God makes no mistakes" does not satisfy the reality of life.
Some other Christians have another simplistic worldview: We and our world are fully evil (depraved) and under the righteous wrath of God. Under this umbrella statement, God’s good Creation is no longer good, must be destroyed, and we must escape this worldly existence into a spiritual existence. This worldview has more in common with Greek philosophy (Plato) than with the Bible. When we fail to separate out the Creation from the Fall (conflating the two into one ontological entity), our theology suffers.
My theology of Creation-Fall-Redemption got me through this trial. As my pastor prayed with me the night before the surgery, I asked him to do something that helped so much: I asked him to reaffirm with me that God is good, and that what he created is good. I asked him to help me remember that the Fall causes terrible suffering, from a crazed man killing Amish girls to Hurricanes to aortic aneurysms.
And then I asked him to pray for redemption to take place:
- That we could see in the here and the now a glimpse of the full redemption to come.
- That this aortic aneurysm will not win this time.
- That Christ's redemptive power will win this time.
technorati: spiritual formation