Dear God,

I actively attended a Charismatic Pentecostal Church for nine months last year, and now I don’t know what to do with my hands.

It’s more than my hands though.

I’m not sure what to do with You anymore. I’m not sure if I know You anymore.

* * *

Okay. I lied.

The congregation claimed they were nondenominational, but nobody born, baptized, and raised in the hard, wooden pews of the Reformed Church of America is fooled by raised arms, by bodies falling to the floor, by prayers to feel the Holy Spirit’s presence.

“Can’t you feel that?” Pastor said one Sunday. “Can’t you feel that breeze?”

I could.

I was pretty sure it was the air conditioning kicking in.

* * *

One of my friends from the church told me that I would know You.

“I do know God,” I told her, and I wanted to tell her that perhaps humans hold our own ideas of goodness and love higher than we hold You and that we don’t know what it means to be holy like You are holy and that one day, she would choke on a Wilhelmina peppermint during a church sermon and You wouldn’t do a thing about it.

But they don’t consume Wilhelmina peppermints in the church service she attends, so I didn’t say anything.

Instead, I watched. And I listened.

And I wondered what was wrong with me.

* * *

People seem to experience You so differently, and You seem to meet everyone in different places.

You met Moses in a burning bush that actually didn’t burn.

Why don’t You speak to us through foliage anymore?

* * *

When I left, the pastor told me to make sure that I wasn’t running away. That I wasn’t running away from You. That I wasn’t running away because I was afraid of more of You.

But I have to ask: Where is more of You?

* * *

This is going to sound proud and bitter and angry. This is going to sound like all the bad things in my character rallying together, but:

I’m tired of people claiming they know more about You than everyone else. Last time I checked, we were all human, and humans have difficulty trying to understand one thing at a time—let alone several things at one time, which is part of who You are, I think. Many things. Many facets.

Maybe a bit bipolar?

* * *

Binaries. I think You are in binaries.

Light/dark

Good/bad

In the first chapter of Genesis, You call light into existence. Which means that You have control over the light. But if You can call light into existence and then quell the darkness in the process, then You must have control over the darkness too.

So You are the God of the light and the dark.

The good and the bad.

The Charismatic Pentecostal and the Reformed.

So, tell me, why is one part of a binary always always always claiming to know You best, to know how to worship You and love You best?

To know exactly where to find You?

* * *

When times are good, be happy;
but when times are bad, consider this:
God has made the one
as well as the other.
Therefore, no one can discover
anything about their future.

Ecclesiastes 7:14

* * *

Sometimes I feel You the most in a puddle of winter sunlight streaming through my bedroom window and onto my floor.

* * *

When I get confused about You, when I hear too many voices, I’ll start at the beginning. The very beginning. Before Genesis. I’ll start with:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God,

and God so loved the world, He sent,

on a silent, holy night,

His one and only son

who was not only fully God

but fully human—

a perfect form

of a messy, imperfect

human.

* * *

If I know anything about You, it’s that You always meet us exactly where we are.

Cassie Westrate

Cassie Westrate (’14) graduated with a double major in writing and international development studies. She currently lives in West Michigan, where she works as a writer, hangs out with her pet bird, and fights crime by night. Just kidding about the crime.

post calvin direct

Get new posts from Cassie Westrate delivered straight to your inbox.

Comments