Stages of Faith

2 Oct

My bible has the Apocryphal in it, books I’ve never read but today I happened to randomly open to a passage in 2 Esdras that immediately stood out to me. It read: “Then I woke up, and my body shuddered violently, and my soul was so troubled that it fainted. But the angel who had come and talked with me held me and strengthened me and set me on my feet” (5:14-15). I skimmed along and found myself struck by another passage not too far below. “After seven days the thoughts of my heart were very grievous to me again. Then my soul recovered the spirit of understanding, and I began once more to speak words in the presence of the Most High” (21-22). Now because I’ve never studied this book anything I say about these passages will result in complete proof texting, i.e. lifting the passage out of its original context and meaning. I know that the author of the book expresses a crisis of faith provoked by the destruction of the second temple and that it falls under apocalyptic literature but that is about it. Nonetheless, I found myself stirred by the words today as I applied them to my context as opposed to the original one.

I relate to these words because whenever I am processing something deep, I tend to get sick. Or inversely, whenever I happen to get sick and run down, I end up processing things deeply. And the last week or so I have been sicker than a dog. Although I am finally starting to feel better, I am still not 100%. I have no energy to exercise and continue to sleep way longer than normal.

It would seem that the Lord is working on me – stirring things up from my past to heal and bringing changes in my faith as well. My writing has been fruitful – I am done with three chapters of my book but that too exhausts me and stirs the pot. However, it is a comfort to know that our souls can recover “the spirit of understanding” and that after being knocked down silly with grief or sickness or weakness, an angel can talk to us and restore us to standing.

Thank you 2 Esdras for speaking to me today even if I have potentially distorted the true meaning of your text.

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