Wandering with Jesus

As a mom and a teacher of teenagers, I often heard comments and questions from skeptical young people about God, religion, and religious people.  I’m sure you’ve heard them, too:

    • Why would God allow a little kid to get cancer?
    • Why does God allow evil people to get such power?
    • Why did God allow my mom or dad to die when I was a kid?
    • Why does God answer some people’s prayers and not others?
    • Religion is the cause of most of the conflict in the world.
    • If that politician is a Christian, why does he/she treat LGBTQIA people so badly?
    • How can some Christians be so racist?
    • If they are pro-life, why do they only care about what happens to babies before they’re born?

I have to admit that I don’t have clear answers to any of these questions, and if I’m honest, I have to say that I have asked most of those questions myself.  But as a wonderful progressive pastor once said in the first sermon I ever heard outside an evangelical church, “It’s okay to doubt, as long as you keep searching for the answers.  Thomas doubted, and Jesus welcomed that doubt.  He let Thomas touch his wounds for himself.”

Having grown up in the Bible Belt, I attended churches that referred to Thomas as “doubting Thomas,” with more than a little scorn for him and for anyone they knew who admitted to having doubts.  Questions were not welcomed, and because of that, I saw more than a few teenagers reject any kind of belief that there is a Spirit of grace.

When my daughter was born, I remember telling my mom that I was going to take her to church because if I didn’t give her something to believe in, there were all too many people out there who would give her something that wasn’t worthy of her belief.  And when she began to ask these same  questions as a teenager, I began a journey of writing meditations for the day, based on Bible verses, that I taped to her bedroom door in the morning.  For several days she said nothing about them, but when I skipped a day, she asked, “Where’s my thought for the day?”

Ultimately, I realized that she would make her own choices, but I did want her to focus on Jesus, who for me is the best example of how we should treat other people.  In this holiest time of the Christian calendar, I want to share some of those meditations as my way of “taking up something for Lent.”  And so I will offer meditations each day that follow Jesus on his journey through humanity as we look for the hope we so desperately need.

Wandering with Jesus gives us a reason to wonder about Jesus, and so I will share with you some of the meditations I offered my daughter as conversation starters about our doubts and our certainties, which are sometimes one and the same.  I hope you will join me in my wandering and wondering.

Peace be with you!

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