This week at church my pastor spoke of something that really got me thinking. The message was about the difference between believing in God, and believing God. It was a passage about Jacob and his uncle Laban. At this point in the story, Jacob had learned to believe God, and so lived a life where he trusted God to provide for him.
Laban on the other hand, believed in God, mainly that God was with Jacob, and blessed all he did, but he was sneaky, conniving… basically all the things Jacob had been through his life, but… Jacob was listed as a great man of faith, where Laban turned towards things such as divination, and went to hell.
Divination. That was the part that left me really thinking this week. I know divination isn’t Christian, yet…
I wasn’t raised Christian, you see. I was raised in a family that, for the most part, believed in God, but that was about as far as it went. We celebrated Christmas, and my parents allowed us to go to church with neighbours if we were invited, but they never went themselves. They believed that children should be able to choose faith on their own – which sounds good, but really left me feeling lost and confused.
The only person in my family who went to “church” was my aunt – my father’s older sister. Growing up, even having friends who were Baptist, or Mormon, or some other faith, my aunt was the most spiritual person I knew. She was especially kind, and calm, and all those wonderful things that ‘Christians’ should be (yet so often fail to live up to.)
Only my aunt wasn’t Christian. I think she believed in God – but her spirituality included Tarot cards, and plumb lines, and psychic mediums. In short, divination.
I loved my aunt. I love my aunt still. As a child, my most fond memories with this aunt were spent in these activities. Not that most of my time spent with her was involved in divination, but that some of my clearest, and most content moments with her was in this area. I believe, though I hardly talked, that she understood this about me – for of all of us cousins, it was me she wanted to take to ‘church’ most.
As a child, I did not go to church with her, but I did once in my teen years. I then went once alone after I had moved away from home, and was living just up the street from that ‘church.’ It was a church where people gave psychic readings – very different from the church I go to now, but I liked it then. The only reason I stopped going was because I was broke then, and didn’t understand the offering part of church, and therefore couldn’t afford to go.
I did go several times with my aunt, as well as with my mom at other times, during their ‘psychic fest’ and had readings done.
As for the rest of the divination activities that my aunt exposed me to when I was young – apparently I wasn’t very good at them. Rather than allowing answers, I willed them (or something like that.) But I loved them all the same. I loved doing them with my aunt, but this was also something I did a lot on my own for many years after.
You see, I live such an uncertain existence, and am afraid so often of making the wrong choice, that I really want that guidance. In fact, it was through these activities that I chose to go to college the first time, and chose to move to the city I have been living in for the past 17 years (so far from home.)
Before becoming Christian, there were many things I did that are not acceptable behaviour in the church – and many of them were things I did regularly. Yet when I turned to not just believing in God, but believing God, I put away these things. Even though they were strong addictions, the temptation was removed, and it was almost easy to let them go.
In this area, however, I have had a stronghold. I did stop using cards, or plumb lines, and such. I did stop going to psychics. I did stop these things – but even now, 17 years later, I still long for them to be allowed.
And then there is my writing. I know that many Christians pray, and listen for God’s response, and some even get answers. For me, though, I write. I write my prayers, and I write the thoughts that come during those times. Mostly I do this because in order to hear, I have to see. I have to see my thoughts to make sense of them – and if God were speaking to me (just like if I am trying to listen to what people are saying to me) I really need to write them down.
As I was sitting and listening to my pastor speak, however, I was reminded of my aunt – and the things we did together, and I wondered: “Is this divination still?”
Laban believed in God, but still he went to hell. I don’t want that for me. I don’t want that for my aunt. So the sermon scared me, as I am so often scared (mostly because in everything I have done, I have found after many years of giving all I had, that I failed – and I never fit in to begin with. If I fail at this, though, it is eternity in the balance.)
All of my other addictions were removed when I became a Christian – but this… this one is hard. For I really feel ill equipped to live life forward – and I really seek God’s hand in guiding me through it. But what if it isn’t God I hear? What if this is divination too, and all is lost for it?
Living is so hard. Knowing what is right is even harder. I wish God would speak to me, and I really hope… I hope he understands that I am trying to live for him. I am trying to not only believe in him, but believe him. I hope I don’t fail at this.