Writer, editor, stumbler after Jesus

Hope for those with fractional faith

The guy whose only score on an applied math test once was for writing his name correctly at the top of the paper is not someone you want handling your finances. All I can say as a writer is that brackets belong with letters and sentences, not numbers and equations, and books are for reading not keeping.

My difficulty in reconciling things is not limited to algebra. I was always left scratching my head by the man who described his commercial Christian enterprise as “a hundred percent ministry and a hundred percent business.” Even taking my shoes and socks off didn’t help with working that one out.

So, as you might expect, the fully-human-and-fully-God thing about Jesus has also long been a bit of a mystery to me. I’ve probably tended to err on the side of His divinity rather than his humanity. As in, “Well of course Jesus said/did that, He’s God!”

Things came a bit more into balance for me one time as I read the accounts of Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane. Familiar passages, of course, but something struck me afresh in Matthew’s account.

After setting His inner circle aside, Jesus goes on alone to pray to the Father. He asks for the cup before Him to be withheld if at all possible, but He acknowledges that above all He wants to do the Father’s will.

In Jesus’ words there’s a flash of fear, of wanting to shrink back, but it’s quickly supplanted by resolution: “Not what I want but what you want.”

These sound like words of finality: OK, that’s done. Jesus should now just dust His hands off and walk away, right? But instead He goes back twice more. Having drawn a line in the sand, as it were, He seems to go back and hover in case it can be erased: “If this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” It’s almost like a hint.

I know the Bible tells us Jesus got tired and hungry; all very human. But there’s something about this Gethsemane scene of wavering determination that touches me deeply. It reminds me that wanting to do the right thing but not at the cost required isn’t sin.

And while I’m not suggesting any challenge I may ever face comes even close to Jesus’ test here, it gives me some comfort to think that when I do the two-steps-forward-one-step-back wobble-walk of fractional faith, He really, reallyno, reallyunderstands.

Fully God, fully man. Some things may not add up, but that doesn’t stop them being true. Not even by a fraction—which is good news for those of us who aren’t very good at figuring them out.



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