Many of you may not know this, but when I was younger I wanted to be a Garda when I grew up. Although, I ended up going down a slightly different career path (Primary School Teaching!) I am still intrigued by criminal psychology. Over the past few years true crime documentaries like Making a Murderer and The Staircase or podcasts such as Serial and West Cork have captured my attention.
If you have seen or heard any of these shows you will notice that they all follow a similar thread. In the first episode you are given an overview of the crime, through the introduction of the victims/suspects, the presentation of key evidence and the description of the crime scene. At the end of episode one, you are often left wondering how there can be multiple episodes left in the series; clearly the guilty person has been found and justice has been served. As the episodes unfold, however, little details emerge that begin to sow seeds of doubt in your mind. Was the investigation completed fairly? Is that person a credible witness? Is there an alternative explanation? What seemed so clear cut at the outset, is often not as it originally seemed. We are left questioning all the ‘facts’ that have been presented and wondering if we will ever be 100% certain of whether they are innocent or guilty.
Sometimes it may feel that our spiritual lives have a similar narrative. As a new believer, keen to learn about God and his character, we quickly accept what we read and hear about Him. We know He is a just and gracious God who loves us unconditionally and we believe His promises. But then life happens. We watch as values in society change. We see injustice and pain in the lives of those around us. We experience broken relationships. We lose loved ones. We hurt. We hurt others. Life is messy.
It is often in this messiness that we can allow uncertainty and doubt to cloud our perception of God. Would a just God really allow that to happen?
Unlike the documentaries where we may always have doubts about the ‘facts’, in our spiritual lives we can know the truth. As we spend time with God and read His word, the facts about Him become clearer and clearer. We get to know the God who sets the standard for justice, who draws near to the broken-hearted and who is the very definition of love. We see that He can be trusted to consistently keep His promises to His people.
In a world of constant change and uncertainty, I am grateful that I can have faith in the One who is the same yesterday, today and forever.