21 mayo 2008

substance and evidence

Greetings from the grand metropolis and distant shores of...

Easternish Texas.

Ha. Did you see that one coming?
I didn't.

thought one: of faith and superstition

faith can feel very scarily like superstition. including the supernatural in one's decisions can be hard to explain...

say there is a setback followed by a very close miss... say like, 9 minutes late to your Lima, Peru-bound plane because of a late connecting flight. say then that after being booked on the next flight out the next day, you are given the unusual option by the very kind customer service agent to go back to your port of origin rather than just stay the night where you are. say your family unanimously agrees to make the trip to pick you up and try again the next day. you go back home and start from square one (to borrow the colloquialism).

let's propose that you feel perfect peace and confidence in the benevolence of the Almighty.

then, let's have the earlier connecting flight you scheduled for the next day get cancelled. the next available one cuts it close, but since the airport TV screens foretell it to be "ON TIME" you are not shaken. (you do remark that 2 unfortuitous events is unusual... with 3 you would be sure there was some heavenly message intended... your sister-in-law remarks, " 'with three?' two would be enough for me!") you check in, problem free. you go to gate four... let's say you see no plane out of gate four's window, even though it's past boarding time.

you are very, very tired, and the ferry plane is stuck in the other city with a flat tire on the runway.

a test of faith? you pray. with faith. but you do not pray against Providence. (that's dangerous.)

it's past the time laid out by your prayer with faith. it's "sign" number three. it's a no go...

...except... this IS Peru.

to get to Peru, specifically, to some individuals within the landmass, you'd hitchhike, swim, skate, bribe, do the bunny hop, clean toilets, student teach, sprint across airports fully loaded, throw a fit at customer service to switch airlines, stay in a hotel overnight,


... go against the will of the God by whom you breathe.


... how do you know He's not testing your resolve? How do you KNOW the "signs" are Divine? what if they're demonic intervention? what if they are a series of most unfortunate but unrelated, unsignificant events.

what if you're being superstitious?

1) in the abundance of counselors, there is wisdom... especially if the counselors are a solid 50x more godly, practical, and life-experienced than you. if they see no superstition...

2) either a) God exists, or b) He doesn't. there's no option C. either invest all in A or hope in B and do whatever you want, whenever you want, and both faith or superstition can go to... the Middle Ages.

if, having chosen hypothesis A, your subsequent life and evidence have supported your presupposition, don't give it up just because you want something that hypothesis might suggest you ought not take. in other words, if your understanding of and reaction to God has held up, don't change that understanding/ response because they're inconvenient. for anything less than Peru, how would you respond?

3) "better safe than sorry." maybe God has naught to do with the matter and you ARE being superstitious. but having Him shake His head at your earnestness is worth it if He's simultaneously touched by your devotion. if He WAS talking, you would have listened.

4) superstition is related to fear; faith to trust. superstition fears EVENTS. faith fears and trusts in a PERSON. i fear God. i fear disobeying Him. i fear being on my own in a giant, non-personal, un-emotive, unimpressed universe. He's GOOD. He's all good. No hay para mi bien fuera de Ti; i fear choosing the alternative to Him.

yes, i fear.

but i trust, too. the best i've ever gotten was BEYOND WHAT I WAS CAPABLE OF COVETING. [how to say...?] stuff God has been in has been so deliciously good, so perfect, so unexpected that i'm not about to assert my omniscience now.


5) faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen... faith comes from the other side. when it's genuine, it's not YOUR possession at all. it's lent (prestado) knowledge. substance and evidence, not feeling or make believe. it is, as it were, a future dweller's understanding of history, except reversed. we just happen to be living in history and the "Future Dweller" in the eternal now. He just happens to be on our side, and sympathetic to our history-bound restraints. once we arrive in the "future," there is no faith, only sight.

[oh, to be able to articulate...]

time proves whether we have been faithful or superstitious.

ya veremos.


Blogger Patrick said...

Sorry to hear about your recent struggles...I think I can relate in a way...
When I was in the process of coming to Korea, I got entangled by many snags - I arrived here 2.5 months late. During this time, some of my family started saying things like, "maybe this isn't God's will for you." I didn't really know what to think. I knew that I wanted to go and I felt pretty determined. I prayed about it often. While things were still pretty hazy, I got an email from my recruiter. Here's an excerpt:

"I can only guess that a higher power is testing our desire and fortitude, it is ours to persevere."

This perplexed me. If God really didn't want me to go to Korea and was setting up these barriers to stop me, I didn't want to 'persevere' and break through them against His will.
What message was He trying to convey to me? I started reevaluating my reasonings and desires for going to Korea. As much as I wanted to go, maybe God didn't want me to. When my parents continued to support my decision and some headway was made in all the bureaucracy and my meditations in prayer seemed hopeful and supportive, I realized that God wanted me to go all along. I guess the snags were just a test of faith.

Anyhow, I hope you're well despite the circumstances. I pray you are under the Peruvian sun soon!

sábado, 24 mayo, 2008  
Blogger berekkah said...

Patricio! que excelente que tienes un blog. how crummy of me that it took me so long to discover that fact.

thanks for the encouragement. i actually did think of your recent predicament... i'll let you know how it all goes.

looking forward to reading your blog!

sábado, 24 mayo, 2008  
Blogger Patrick said...

Well I didn't really announce the birthing of my blog, so don't bother feeling crummy. I haven't had it more than a month yet, so it's relatively fresh and low on thought. I hope to start posting more frequently, especially for my folks' sake.

Try to stay out of the superstitious column; the faithful and pious side is just where you ought to be. I know this is so much easier said, ahem, written than done, but I know you can do it and I'm certain that God will provide. I'll be in prayer.
luego. patrick.

lunes, 26 mayo, 2008  

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