Strong and Courageous
June 1, 2018
I have recently been reading a book by Phillip Yancey titled Reaching for the Invisible God. In this work, he quotes one of the early church fathers, Gregory of Nyssa stating that “a person’s faith is ambidextrous because he or she should welcome pleasures with the right hand and afflictions with the left, with the understanding that both would serve God’s design for that person.”
Yancey goes further to say “Here is what ambidextrous or two handed faith means to me, in theory if not always in practice. I take everything without exception as God’s action in the sense of asking what I can learn from it and praying for God to redeem it by improving me.
The skeptic may insist this unfairly lets God off the hook, but perhaps that’s what faith is: trusting God’s goodness despite any apparent evidence against it.”
This is how we are to walk with our eyes wide open. We enjoy the goodness of God’s presence, peace and joy in celebration. We also understand that there can be a deep working in our soul when we have to endure difficulty, affliction and pain. I think that this is a major key to understanding what our faith journey in Christ is all about. Both joy and sorrow are a necessary part of our experience.
But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. 21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. 22 He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. 23 When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. 24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds, you have been healed. 25 For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. 1st Peter 2:20-25 esv
There are aspects of the Kingdom of God that reveal angst on our part in the present tense. We yearn for everything to be right, justice and mercy, peace and harmony, faith and virtue to be the very fabric of our society however; this is not currently the case. There are many facets of the Kingdom that will come to fruition in the future. In order for us to have a good understanding, we need to know that the Kingdom is both now and into the future. Walking in this aspect of faith can help us to curb depression that can become overwhelming. Yancey actually chooses to say that “In fact, I’m beginning to see faith as the flip side of depression. It [faith] colors everything. I cannot always explain it to others, and yet gradually it is bringing light into my dark life.”