As I recline upon my bed, without sleep and bombarded with imagery, the scene takes shape in my mind…
A grand ballroom swims into view. The chandeliers are lit. The guests are arranged. The symphony swells. A lovely lady, cloaked in elegance, steps out from a crowd. A gentlemen moves forward to offer his hand. Across the dance floor the delighted couple glide. He whispers in her ear. She flashes a smile. She is the picture of serenity.
A second suitor emerges from the observers. He places a hand upon the first gentlemen’s shoulder, before whisking away the damsel. This couple moves in striking similarity to the first. The lady is the same; but her lead has changed. This second suitor also whispers in her ear. We see her mouth turn downward; her brow furrow. Clearly she is disturbed.
The first gentlemen intrudes, stealing away the lady. Moments later the second gent, almost forcibly this time, steps in. Back and forth the ordeal swings. Time and again she dances, laughs, and glides with the first lead; time and again she is stolen away to lament and discomfort with the second.
What does all this mean? Who is the damsel? Who is he that makes glad? Who is he that offends? The answer is simple.
The first gentlemen – delightful, optimistic, and charming – is faith. The second suitor – forever obtrusive, doubtful, and openly antagonistic – is fear. The lady is the soul of the Christ-follower. The waltz is the daily life for many a believer.
I find myself constantly in this dance. It is not that fear rips me from the grip of faith, but certainly I come face to face, all too often, with my insufficiencies, my vices, my failures. Fear declares to my soul that I am alone, unsupported, uncared for. I do not have what it takes. I am not as polished as that writer, not as knowledgable as that scholar, not as eloquent as that teacher. My affections stray, my soul grows weary, my theology is merely cerebral. The light of hope grows dim. The mouth of my soul twists downward in a scowl. And then, by a stroke of Divine favor, again and again, relentlessly faith, as a gift, takes hold. I am reminded that I am intimately known and unreservedly delighted in by God Himself. I am comforted with conviction, contrition, confession. I know that I am redeemed and that this is enough.
Perhaps you struggle as I do. Perhaps you dance. Perhaps you need to recall the power of Christ through faith. Hopefully this reminds you.