From: Kristen Vogelaar
"For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, 'This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,' we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain."
I often find this passage to be both encouraging and difficult. In it, Peter is not allowing for any room to wiggle past the the physical, miraculous truths they had witnessed; he specifically doesn't allow us to call it a "cleverly devised myth" and he uses language that places their experience in physical time and matter. "Eyewitnesses." "We ourselves heard this very voice." "We were with him on the holy mountain."
I find it encouraging because the writing is so definite; Peter takes a stand on this and doesn't try to find a way around attesting to something that would seem in the natural world to be unlikely. He believes what he's seen with his eyes and heard with his ears. He doesn't use language that will himself a way out if he is discovered to be a liar, or delusional. It encourages me to take the same stand, and it excites me to consider and meditate on the fact that this is true and to believe it.
What has been difficult for me is that I sometimes don't know how I know that I believe it. It seems to me like simply saying the words that I believe that things like the Lordship of Jesus, his coming Kingdom, and the resurrection of the dead are possible and will happen isn't enough. Sometimes it doesn't "feel" like I believe, though I don't think God expects us to always "feel" a certain way. Faith and feelings aren't the same thing, thank goodness.
This kind of uncertainty had often led me to assume that my faith simply isn't up to muster. I'm not strong enough, resolute enough, I haven't prayed hard enough, memorized enough "life verses," or sung enough choruses of the latest repetitive worship song. That God dislikes my questioning and doesn't think very well of me for feeling unsteady in my believing at times.
I stopped feeling this way about my relationship with God when I recognized that the quality and strength of my faith don't depend on the strength of my ability to cognitively convince myself of the veracity of these claims. Uncertainty and questions don't necessarily mean that I don't believe; they mean that I am thinking and aware, actively interacting with God and the truth we've received from him, and as a result growing in my relationship with God. I don't think God expects any of us to avoid using our minds, which he's given to us. The way God has revealed his character to us is as good and loving, and I think he wants the real stuff from us, even if it's questions and uncertainty at times; the more we interact with these truths, the deeper our relationship becomes with him.
I am a psychotherapist living in the greater Boston area. The coolest thing I've done so far in my life would probably be getting to (help) fly a tiny two-seater airplane over the ocean and over Boston.