Theology in the Trenches: Dear Believer

Kathleen Kjolhaug
Religion Columnist

A question has been forming within. If we believe what we believe, why do we find it so difficult when others do not manifest their belief in exactly the same way? I read in a familiar book that miniscule are our thoughts and much higher are His. 

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9).

Doubters of visions, apparitions, salvation dates, baptismal grace, Eucharistic and sacramental points we point out that on these we take our stand. Common ground is oft no longer sought while stomping grounds becomes grounds for division. This appears to be the natural progression as separation is the name of the game when my background as a believer differs from yours. Soon, hearts divide rather than remaining open wide to the beating of His.

Makes sense to me that if we are to differ at all, it might be about who we’d put on that cross. You? I? But since we need not argue the point as “It is finished” (John 19:30), we find other arguments rather than inclusionary conversation. Pride builds pride when in reality He nailed it, rose above it by putting to the test any doubters. And in the midst of those who literally spat in His face, He took it on so we need not.

Yet, every day we take it on as the call to communion allows some in and others not. Speaking tongues wag falsehoods while other tongues praise and we argue with thoughts that reveal hearts. Who does that? That’s just weird and spooky and not my mantra so go figure. Suspicion rises as rosary beads pulsate the “Glory Be” and mongers we become as we take down our brother ... our sister in the firing lines that discourage rather than encourage. No longer do we hear the sweet name of Jesus, but the blasphemous accusations about why some are saved and others are not and how God appears to be manifesting Himself in their lives ... or not ... and well, I’m not so sure so therefore, you shouldn’t be so sure either. 

I must confess it’s oft a mess but miracles are messy and thus He came. He knew we couldn’t nor wouldn’t get it right left on our own. He knew He need show up in order to show us how it’s done ... and thank God He did.

I thank God that He allowed His only begotten Son to die for our sins so that indeed all who call on the name of Jesus may come to the saving knowledge of Christ. All. He convicts as we are mixed in the assessment at hand in our limited scope ... our limited views. 

With far less wisdom and knowledge than He, we cannot fully grasp the bigger picture as it seldom looks like the one we’ve already formulated and painted in our mind.

“All things work together for the good of those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:28).

Thomas should our namesakes be. Christian Thomas Kjolhaug as I disavow others in the ring as doubt about my brother or sister creeps in. Perhaps they don’t do as I do, but perhaps God is working in this too. Perhaps He is bringing others through things I know nothing of. Imagine that ... and all for the purpose of glorifying “Our Father who art in Heaven as hallowed be Thy name” (Matt. 6:9).

In our foolish pride, we pick our stride and often push others aside. Marking our territory as we put ourselves upon that throne simply acknowledges how desperately human we are and how glorious our God is as He brings us down to where we are to stand ... which would be humbly before our God. Amen.

(Kathleen Kjolhaug is a religion columnist.)