Adam Hamilton has a way of grabbing his reader’s attention: in his discussion of the truth about the spiritual formation of most of us, he says this: some days are good but somedays are not — on those days you feel like this: “Your faith can’t move dust bunnies, much less mountains” (139). This is the subject of chp. 16 of Seeing Gray in a World of Black and White: Thoughts on Religion, Morality, and Politics.
Hamilton says something that I have wanted to say for a long, long time: “There are not secret truths” to the Christian life. As if you could read the right book, pray the right prayer, learn the right technique … and (to quote John Madden) Boom! it’s all clear and and you’re sailing on smooth waters forever and ever.
He refers to a great poem by Dietrich Bonhoeffer that I first read in college and it stunned me. It is called “Who Am I?” (from Discipleship
Most of us struggle; most of us have good days; most of us have bad days. Somedays we are confident in our faith; other days we have doubts.
“trembling with anger at despotisms and petty humiliation
weary and empty at praying
at thinking, at making, faint and ready to say farewell to it all.
Who am I?
They mock me, these lonely questions of mine.
Whoever I am, Thou knowest, O God, I am thine.”
Hamilton ends with a timely reminder of messy spirituality: “There are no secrets. There’s struggle, and yearning, and doing the things we know we should do. And in the end, there is trust. Whoever I am, Thou knowest, O God, I am thine.”
In the end, we live by faith — in the good and in the bad.