If you are looking for my blog titled, The Contemplative Catholic Convert, you are at the right spot.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Confusion and Certainty

The priest confused me. I was a new Catholic – though certainly not new to Christian faith or to the scriptures. But after our conversation about God’s nature, I felt myself floating between doubt and uncertainty. I’d lost confidence in what I’d learned over the past 30 years from reading of Scripture and of the instructions of godly pastors and teachers whose words impacted my Christian life for the good.

The priest told me God does not have emotions like we do. He is love itself. He does not have jealousy, or anger, or wrath. He does not punish His children. Ever. And when I showed him the many passages of Scripture that teach otherwise, he told me I am misinterpreting them.

If he had been anyone else, I would have simply dismissed his opinion as nothing less than liberal heresy. But – he was a priest. Ordained by God to shepherd His flock – to shepherd me. Priests should know the truth.

Yet what he said contradicted Scripture.

But he was a priest.

But his words didn’t line up with Scripture.

But he was a priest.

As I said, I was a new Catholic. I didn’t know at the time that priests or even bishops can err in their understanding of Scripture, that any clergy can deviate from the historic teaching of the Church and from God’s word.

So around and around I wrestled between what the priest told me and with what I believed for more than 30 years Scripture taught me of God’s nature.

The next morning I walked into my study for my daily time with the Lord. I opened the Scriptures to the place I’d left off the day before. I began at chapter three of St. Paul’s second letter to Timothy and my eyes stopped at verse 14. They then moved slowly through verse 17. My entire spirit sensed God speaking directly to my heart:

“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it, and how from childhood you have known the sacred writings that are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work.”

God’s direction could not have been clearer. What I’d learned about God’s nature during the first three decades of my Christian walk was true. And that truth must always be the focus of my faith -- not the opinions of any who deviate from the whole of Scripture and the historic teaching of the Church, regardless of their title.

 “The grass withers,” God spoke through the prophet Isaiah (40:8) “the flower fades; but the word of our God will stand forever.”

That morning after my conversation with a priest about God’s nature, the Holy Spirit reestablished my feet on the solid rock of God’s word. I’ve never since stepped away from that rock.

Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!

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