There is a great passage in the New Testament where Jesus explains to the Pharsees (the super-religious people of his day) that at the end of times, the works of their hands will be tried by fire and end uplike wood, hay and stubble, burnt to ashes in the field. You ever have those days, the days of wood, hay and stubble? Where it seems that everything you have worked hard to accomplish really isn’t so much after all?
Another time the same religious folks come up to John the Baptist and ask him, “Are you the Messian?” he says, “I am not.” That is a great self-understanding isn’t it. “I am not.” If all the pain and trail I’m going through right now is teaching me anything it is that “I am not.” I am probably more aware now than I ever have been in my life of what I am not. I am not a great preacher. I mean I can hold a thought together and make people think, but so can a lot o others. I am no a great administrator, I struggle with this every day. I am not a good bureaucrat; I have a hard time negotiating the political system in which I am called to serve. I am not a great dad, my kids love me but I know where I have messed up there to.I am not, at the end of the day, much better than average at anything. But what am I?
Now there is a tough question. Today, where I sit and where I am, I don’t know. Oh, I know the spiritual answers; I understand the doctrine of imageo dei, that I’m created in the image of God. But my image, like your image, is just an image. Flawed, like looking in a funhouse mirror. I am painfully aware of my shortcomings. That is the funny thing about images; they are merely reflections of what is real.
Here lies the beauty of grace. God’s unmerited love, we don’t have to know. My doubt, like my faith, is a part of me. God is big enough to allow me to struggle. So on days, like today, when I have mostly doubt, with only a flicker of faith in anything left, is when I am glad that I am: