I often find a lingering doubt in my soul as to whether or not I’ve really given Jesus a fair shake. I think that thread of doubt is easily discovered in what I write. It’s not a doubt, however, as to whether or not Jesus is real or powerful or meaningful.
Although such doubts appear in my mental meanderings occasionally, I seldom give them voice because they don’t carry enough weight in comparison to my more persistent doubts; that is, whether I’ve truly embraced the reality, power or meaning of Jesus – whether I’ve given him a fair shake as far as living in the light of those truths.
So, as I’m prone to do, I find myself reading something from Buechner that stirs me to that challenge once again. Tonight, I thought I’d share that with you because Buechner says it better than I.
I’m guessing, though, that if you’re like me, you don’t like to read long quotes from some other writer included in something written by a friend or favored author. I tend to check out when those quotes show up, thinking, “if I wanted to read Buechner, I wouldn’t have come to this blog,” or some such tripe.
Come on. Just once, give Buechner a fair shake. Maybe, in some small way, it will set you on the road to give Jesus a fair shake. Come all ye faithful.
The following is an excerpt from Frederick Buechner’s essay titled Come and See, included in the collection “The Hungering Dark”.
So what is left to us then is the greatest question of them all. How do we know whether or not this truth is true? How do we find out for ourselves whether in this child born so long ago there really is the power to give us a new kind of life in which both suffering and joy are immeasurably deepened, a new kind of life in which little by little we begin to be able to love even our friends, at moments maybe even our enemies, maybe at last even ourselves, even God?
Adeste fidelis. That is the only answer that I know for people who want to find out whether or not this is true. Come all ye faithful, and all ye who would like to be faithful if only you could, all ye who walk in darkness and hunger for light. Have faith enough, hope enough, despair enough, foolishness enough, to at least draw near to see for yourselves.
He says to ask and it will be given you, to seek and you will find. In other words, he says that if you pray for him, he will come to you, and as fas as I know, there is only one way to find out whether that is true, and that is to try it. Pray for him and see if he comes, in ways that only you will recognize. He says to follow him, to walk as he did into the world’s darkness, to throw yourself away as he threw himself away for love of the dark world. And he says that if you follow him, you will end up on some kind of cross but that beyond your cross and even on your cross you will also find your heart’s desire, the peace that passes all understanding. And again, as far as I know there is only one way to find out whether that is true, and that is to try it. Follow him and see. And if the going gets tough, you can always back out. Maybe you can always back out.
Doesn’t that make you want to leap over tall buildings in a single bound? Doesn’t that make you want to follow him, really follow him, and see?