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A few weeks ago I spent a week in some of the ghettos of New York City working with Metro World Child, an organization that ministers to thousands upon thousands of kids across the globe, but is based in a section of Brooklyn called Bushwick.

The last day we were there we went sightseeing for ourselves and enjoyed New York as tourists. I remember riding back from Staten Island on the ferry and seeing the New York City skyline up close, shining in the majesty of the sun.

During that moment, among others while in New York, I just stared in awe at its vast immensity. I thought, “How did this get here? How did all these people decide to live right here and build all this?”

New York City

I felt like God spoke to me, “It wasn’t built overnight.”

I’ve been on this Nazirite journey for a year and a half now and various seasons have come and gone. Which, of course, is true of life in general. But this season is different, distinct.

I find myself full of questions. Uncertain. To simply take what I’m told as truth without digging into it and finding out for myself seems not only criminal but also fragile and unstable. I mean that for anything really, but most specifically for what I’m told about God.

Don’t get me wrong, the most important parts of me are so anchored in God that I don’t believe anything could ever sway me from who He is or the relationship we share. That’s irreplaceable always, every time. Have no fear, my friends.

Regardless, I can’t say I haven’t been through a lot of doubts and suspicions about what I’ve believed about Him and who I’ve believed Him to be.

My knee-jerk reaction to having questions over the years has been to read my Bible and pray more. But, that’s just not enough sometimes. It brings God and I into deeper intimacy, yes, but there are questions and things to consider that the Bible, alone, can’t fix.

I know, stone me. But if you study other denominations and religious sects you’ll find that so many people believe so many different things and base them in the Bible.

The Bible is, hands down, the most important piece of literature we can study when it comes to knowing God. I just want to be careful and make sure that what I’ve been taught from it isn’t just as wrong as I’ve believed others to be. This is justified in my life when I look at the beliefs and culture I grew up in and begin to see things that are nothing like the God I’ve come to know.

We say we want Him, not what we’ve made Him to be. But then when we start finding Him, some people want to start throwing rocks. Some people want to stay Pharisees, believing what they believe, just because they believe it.

Honestly, I don’t really know how to explain it where I feel like I will be perfectly understood. I expect raised eyebrows and I’m fine with that.

In a lot of ways, I’m just starting over. It’s kind of a going-back-in-time-knowing-what-I-know-now sort of thing.

In my pride and humanity I want to have everything figured out, now. I don’t know many people, if any, that enjoy process. We’re a very impatient people nurtured by an impatient culture.

But, when I get frustrated by the obstacles, the mysteries, and the places where things don’t match up in my mind, God is there with me saying, “New York City wasn’t built overnight and neither will you be.”

Through this process, I’m learning a lot. I’m learning that perfection doesn’t really exist, not apart from His mercy at least. Which, I think we all “know” that, but few of us really know that.

I’m also learning that without dying, I can’t really live. Burning everything to the ground is a painful, agonizing process that feels very wispy and lonely. But from the cold death of winter springs up new life, blooming forth the beautiful grandeur of our Father.

I am absolutely certain that we’re not to be afraid of questions and doubt. That’s part of it. That’s how we strengthen our faith.

If you find that you don’t have answers, you’ve only given yourself a goal, something about Him to search for. And if, like me, you find questions to which there seems to be no answer, you’ll learn contentment. Finding peace in not knowing and trusting in Him, not because you’re lazy and haven’t searched for Him, but because that part of Him is beyond our ability to find, at least in this life.

Like a woman awaiting her lover, He wants us to search for Him and He wants to be found.  But He wants to be found as the truth that He is and not the caricature we’re accustomed to.

Because of Him,
Brent Hemphill

Also, if you’re just now joining my journey then please know that I will not be on Facebook during my time of consecration so any messages or requests you may have sent will not be responded to for quite some time. It’s not personal, it’s Jesus.

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