Whenever my wife and I counsel engaged couples, I keep a look out for idealistic distortion. It’s a fancy term for couples who see each other through rose colored glasses. Nothing he/she can do is wrong. They see their relationship as perfect and any kind of conflict or argument is unthinkable. This is a big red flag for me because any relationship will inevitably have conflict. The honeymoon can’t last forever.
This is why I’m uncomfortable when Jesus is communicated as a magic pill to fix all of our problems. We all know life is messier than that. Call me a pessimist, but sometimes God calms my storm and other times he invites me out of the boat to walk on the wild. Perhaps the most dangerous place in the whole world is the center of God’s will.
And conflict is inevitable. The honeymoon can’t last forever. Faith is not necessary unless it is challenged.
and then he said to his disciples,“Let us go back to Judea.”
“But Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews there tried to stone you, and yet you are going back?”(1)
Jesus was returning to Judea and things didn’t go so well the last time they were there. They all knew this would be the beginning of the end. The writing was on the walls. Conflict was inevitable. The honeymoon was certainly over.
That’s why Thomas’ response is so staggering.(2)
Then Thomas (also known as Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”(3)
Thomas was a pessimist at heart. He assumed the worst and let everyone know it. For him, the honeymoon was over long ago. He knew conflict was inevitable and yet boldly followed Jesus anyway.
Now that’s what I call faith. That’s faith with a little dirt under the nails. That’s the kind of faith with bags under the eyes. That’s a steadfast, determined, committed, you-couldn’t-get-rid-of-me-if-you-tried kind of faith. That’s a faith that’ll pick up a cross and follow.
And that’s the kind of thing that’ll make a relationship last. But we only get there through conflict.
Has the honeymoon ended between you and God?
Yeah, me too.
Let us remove the rose colored glasses and allow God to be God. May we discover a relationship with Him that dares to go so much deeper.
In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.(4)
1. John 11:7-8
2. I’ve always thought “Doubting” Thomas has gotten a bum wrap. The above seems like tremendous faith.
3. John 11:16
4. John 16:33