~ Gandalf put his hand on Pippin’s head. “There was never much hope” he answered. “Just a fool’s hope, as I have been told.” ~
As most of you know by now, I wasn’t able to fast thirty days. I made it seven days before I couldn’t take it anymore and came down from the mountain. I’ve tried excusing myself by suggesting St. Antony never had to cleanse from a life of toxins, antibiotics, and refined sugars, but really I think it comes down to an issue of faith. And modernity has made me weak. Or maybe I’m just not strong enough to be the Christian modernity needs?
I’m experienced enough with fasting to have reasonably made it the entire time but wrestling in prayer with a God whose all but abandoned His people in their time of need…
…but wait, that’s more of the Devil talking. That much, at least, is true about the fasting mythos; old emotions bubble to the surface and the demons begin their whispers. I’m not exaggerating there. I never heard from God last week, but I heard demons aplenty. Want to know what they said, readers? They want me to be a deist; or, at least, to believe God, however real He may be, doesn’t care for His people right now. He’s opted out of our narrative and left us to ourselves. He’s offered us up to a period of judgement and those of us who love Him most are to receive the burden of Earthly dishonor in His stead. Most importantly, so they tell me, God will not live up to His promises of providing for our basic needs; He lets the most innocent among us die without vengeance, and more pious Christians than I have died from hunger. What hope, then, is there for a nobody, uninspired millennial like me?
I’ve sought out sermons on discerning one’s calling; I went up to the mountain to put to rest my incessant “casting about” and settle into whatever it is God’s made me to do. The sermons all suggest there is such a position. We’re all made for a specific purpose. Not, it must be said, because God needs us (so the sermonizers say), He’s omnipotent and doesn’t need anything. Rather, He wants us to be joyful and delight in our service. Assuming they’re at least partly right, what happens when we “seek ye first the Kingdom” but don’t find anything? What happens when the idea of becoming a wage slave on a giant Satanic plantation turns our stomachs? That’s when the old baby boomers tell us to shut up and do something; anything! But what of the joyful delight in God’s service? Should I flip burgers for Christ? Better a quick end than that.
In the darkest hours up on the mountain I’d turn to the Psalms and it was there I came to something of a revelation. I was reading Psalm 9 and was reminded that God is the refuge for the oppressed. The next verse, however, was what I latched onto like the drowning man I am: The Lord has *never* forsaken those who seek Him. Never. My old apologist notion – the rationalist notion about Christianity as a syllogism – was washed away. True faith isn’t faith that God merely exists – even Satan has that. True faith is believing that – even though He’s quiet, and even though evil men desecrate every holy thing, demons rage, madmen march in triumph over the bones of Christendom, and the very aesthetic beauty of the land is soiled – that He loves His people and wills the best for us. And not just corporately, but for each of us as the precious, human individuals we are.
This is the fool’s hope: that God, the master craftsman, creates His clay pots to hold their form throughout the homogenizing fires of modernity – fires which threaten to strip away every vibrant quality so precious (and rare) of men and mold them into demonic automatons, with echoing clicks, whirs, and buzzes – that out of this rusty, disease filled pile of anti-Christ war machines, will arise the fresh growth of the European rose.
And I believe it, even though He’s silent about my purpose. Even though it seems He wants me to expire in destitute, lonely, humiliation…
…though He slay me, yet I will hope in Him.
The demons say it’s a fools hope.
Guess I’m a fool.