Deus Ex Machina

"This is the generation of the great LEVIATHAN, or rather, to speak more reverently of that mortal god, to which we own under the immortal God, our peace and defense." -Thomas Hobbes: Leviathan

Different Kinds of Faith

The following is a comment by Sunshine Mary in response to a commenter Katherine seeking advice about how to deal with her adulterous husband. All bold and italics belongs to her.

Katherine, I did not know you were Christian. Since you are a Christian woman, you may not divorce your husband. That takes some of the options off the table. As DS pointed out, if your husband leaves, you are no longer bound to him because he is not a believer.

You have not described what you are doing spiritually. I was not a practicing Christian and my husband was an atheist when his many infidelities came to light. I later returned to the faith, but it was quite a while before my husband accepted Christ. In that time, he continued to have the occasional affair.

Your chief weapon is prayer. You are right in the midst of a massive spiritual battle and you should not fight this alone. Who is praying with you? Be exceedingly careful about revealing your marital troubles to other people, especially infidelities. Do not tell your mother or other close female relatives under any circumstances. If he ever accepts Christ and repents of his sin, you would be surprised how unforgiving the female herd can be.

You must engage this battle whether you want to or not. You should be getting up while it is still dark and praying over all his possession that he will touch during the day. Speak verses over everything: his phone, his coffee cup, his very shoes. I wrote scripture verses on bits of silk and sewed them into my husbands pants cuffs. I anointed his car with oil while praying. I got on my knees in the basement every night and cried out to God. I wrote Bible verses on scraps of paper and hid them among his possessions. If you do not know which verses to pray, I can make a list for you. God’s Word is powerful. He tells us that His Word never returns to Him void; it always accomplishes His purposes.

Pray for the women he is having sex with. Pray for them to be pursued by the Holy Spirit. Pray specifically that the very taste of them would be like sawdust in your husband’s mouth. But never, under any circumstances attempt to contact any of these women. There is nothing to be gained by doing so; I learned this the hard way. It will just end with both of you crying and screaming at each other. You already know they are adulteresses and liars, so you cannot trust anything they might say to you. However, anything they do say to you will haunt you. You do not need those images in your mind. Satan will use them to tempt you in many ways.

When you do come together with him, pray unceasingly. I used to beseech God to use my very body to soften my husband’s heart to Christ. I would pray every time we had marital relations for the Holy Spirit to speak to him through me. You should be speaking verses over your bed and inviting the presence of the Holy Spirit to dwell there. Write verses in a fine-tipped sharpie on the inside edge of his pillow.

There is a great deal more I can tell you on this issue, but I suspect this is enough for you to absorb for now. You can find my email address at the top of my blog if you wish to contact me. I will pray for you and your husband.

I cite this story not merely as an inspiring encouragement, (her husband later converted to the Christian faith and ceased his adultery), but to admit something personal.

My first reaction to this personal account was, “What grossly superstitious behaviour! I mean, seriously? Muttering verses over items like some sort of magical talisman?”

But then it didn’t take me long to realise what truly motivated my sneer, I simply didn’t have her faith. I only felt ashamed by her “superstitious” behaviour because I didn’t believe that God truly cares about our deepest concerns to do anything about it, that while God is not ashamed by the faithful calling upon him with such fervour and faith, I am ashamed of the Gospel of a gracious God who hears the desperate cries of the faithfull. I simply took the “rationalistic” and good ‘ole modernist/Enlightenment point of view that she’s just resorting to magic tricks to salvage a desperate situation, using God as a matter of last resort to cope with her situation.

Sigh, I can read about Dostoevsky, Luther, Barth and Kierekegaard, I can understand all theological mysteries within Protestantism and split logic in analytic philosophy, I can properly distinguish between Law and Gospel and understand the gradations of ecclesiology, but eventually, in all my rationalistic arrogance, I simply don’t have her faith and felt ashamed by her “superstitious” displays of faith.

I found this realisation humbling, and desperately in need of further reflection upon my part.

I guess as a preliminary, I am thinking of the incident of the woman who was healed by touching the Christ’s cloak. She merely said and thought to herself that if she did so, she would be healed, and “according to her faith”, it was so.

The thing is, I can’t imagine myself working up to this level of “superstition”, but I guess faith is an extremely highly subjective and individual thing, the Christian faith can manifest itself in a plurality of ways adapted to each of us uniquely and individually in all our gory particularity, and God is certainly big enough to handle it all and God’s grace works in all its infinitely many and different ways in all his children.

For me, I don’t think I can “imitate” her behaviour, praying over inanimate objects and writing Scripture verses, I am too much of an Enlightenment Modernist for such things, but I can respect and accept that this is how God is “real” for her, and that God is not restricted to my mindset but is able and willing to honour even such “superstitious” faith, for what God does demand is faith, and those who trust in Him will not be confounded. So in a sense, I take heart in the fact vastness and richness of God’s grace who is both able and willing to honour all kinds of faith, from the most ordinary superstitious folksy kind to those of us who are supposedly “Enlightened” with science and modernism.

In this there is something to be said for the “breath” of the Roman Catholic culture, which has both fervent “superstitious” lay devotions to top scholastic doctors of theology…

Truly, with good reason are the tax-collectors and prostitutes entering the Kingdom of Heaven ahead of the Pharisees.

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This entry was posted on May 15, 2013 by in Uncategorized.
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