Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Retreat to the mountains

I got to go to a church retreat this weekend. My mom came up and sat on my kids, so my brother and I could both go. It was a group of about 30 twenty-somethings. We drove 3 hours over the Cascades to a ranch with some really nice facilities. We had a speaker, but he didn't do much speaking. It was mostly a group sharing and exploration of topics kind of thing. His name is Phil, and he seems like a really cool guy. He's in some kind of leadership position at YWAM Seattle.

One of the topics was the interrelation of faith, (or the lack thereof) and sin. How much of our sinful actions are spawned from our desire to do things our way because we don't believe that God has a really great plan for our lives. I know I feel that way about my future romantic possibilities. I honestly don't think God wants me to be happy in that regard. Not that He maliciously wants me to be sad and lonely; but I'm just paying the very natural consequences of getting married at 18. Like a prisoner who becomes a Christian would be foolish to think that God doesn’t want them to be free and happy because they are in jail. It's not God's fault they committed the crime.

Anyway, that was a tangent. My point was that my lack of faith that I will be happy with a woman again at some point in my life, seems to undermine my decision to remain apart from women. Although I don't see it as a lack of faith. Hmm. That wasn't as much of a tangent as I thought it was. It's not like the Bible has a guarantee in it that says everyone gets a love-of-a-lifetime. So I can't call my belief that I won't get that a lack of faith. Or CAN I? Actually, if I look deeper, to what is really powering my passion to love a woman and be loved in return; I see that it's just a desire for happiness. Being married would make me happy. The lack of faith isn't about the specific mechanism through which I find my contentment, but rather, that I would find contentment in whatever God's plan for me is. I just can't imagine being happy without a woman to pour romance onto. THAT is my lack of faith. And I'll bet it has something to do with a lack of hope as well.

We spent a lot of time going over Hebrews 11. The Faith chapter. We talked about the great examples of faith that are listed there. The one that got the most attention from the group was:

Hebrews11:

31By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.

She is certainly the most accessible of the heroes of the faith. She was a screw-up her whole life, (I can relate!) but at a certain moment, God gave her the wisdom, opportunity, and faith to make a choice that saved her and her family.

We did some small group talking stuff. I got to know some people a bit better. I got to read and pray a lot. Driving over the mountains is always great. So overall I had a great time. The happy couples only made me slightly sad and wistful. I'll give it an A-.

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