'Vain, Sane, Fain' - Synod Training & Exposure Progam (STEP) Reflection Write-up #1
Adelle the author is in the front row at the far right
If I had to sum up my biggest takeaway from STEP, it will be ‘being comfortable with not knowing everything’. The past three weeks in STEP have been an absolute joy and privilege to be able to learn from passionate teachers alongside an equally passionate and genuine bunch of friends. I’ve enjoyed the thorough discussions over predestination, the nature of God, the sacraments, woman ordination and so much more. I entered this programme expecting to gain some answers to the many questions I have over controversial aspects of my faith. Now, I have walked out with some answers, and even more questions than before. Initially, it was incredibly difficult to leave our conversations hanging – I needed to know the right answer to all the questions. If not, how can I be a good steward to Christ if I am spouting out false doctrine? My perception only changed after I interviewed my church’s senior pastor. Once again, I brought up the topic of predestination. While I may not remember 100% of his explanation, I remember vividly a remark he made – “sometimes, it’s okay to raise up your hands and say ‘God, I’m confused!’”. Immediately, and oddly enough, I was swept with a wave of indescribable, comforting peace.It was a simple reminderof our finite minds as fallible humans,that we can labour as much as we want, but we will not be 100% clear on understanding the ways of God. The conclusion isn’t so much to believe blindly, but to adopt a humble posture in acknowledging my limits, and to wholly depend on God’s grace in revealing His mysteries to me in His time. As such, I chose to present my struggle with rationality through the form of poetry – poetry because I believe it reflects the raw, authentic thought process I had during this struggle. Throughmy poems, I hope to express the real, honestthoughts and emotionsthat I had, and to show others that it is okay to feel frustrated and hopeless in such situations – these emotions are what make us human. Yet, ultimately, we can rest assured in God’s sovereignty. The poems thus go through three main phases – vain, sane, and fain. The first poem, ‘Vain’, illustrates how I realisedmy efforts to understand God are in vain. It shows a growing sense of awareness of how depravedI am as a human that I am far from worthyor capable to understand such a Holy God. The second poem, ‘Sane’, expresses my struggle to accept that my efforts are in vain, and the lack of a clear conclusion drives me insane. Finally, the last poem, ‘Fain’, shows me findingpeace in myself that it is okay to not know everything. In the dictionary, ‘fain’ means willing,with pleasure, or compelled. Likewise,the final resolution is for me to willinglysurrender to God’s will in pleasure, and to gladlyworship His name in everything I do. I praise God for His faithfulness to me throughout this entire programme, for blessing me with the capacity and energy to study His word honestly. I thank God for His graciousness to me, for blessing me with loving brothers and sisters who strive to honour Him in all that they do – thank you for being vulnerable and honest in your sharing! I pray that this batch of STEPPERS will continue to seek God and abide in His word in all that we do, and may we continue to grow spiritually and spur one another on <3
1.0 Vain O God, who am I to question You? You who is filledwithglory Freed us from oppression Orchestrated love stories A designer with no flaws. Yet here I am. A mere mortal. Picking at my brain Trying to understand an immortal But it’s all in vain. I’m a mere grain in the sand. I say it’s all for You, So I labour and toil – I’m running on a treadmill For hours and hours. But all too soon, I’m reminded that I am nothing more than dust.
“For my thoughtsare not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. Foras the heavens are higherthan the earth,so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” – Isaiah 55: 8-9
Hush. Shush. Now. Listen down. Settle down. No. How can I? Surely, if I devote my life If I devotemy career If I devote my time, Surely,there will be a way. For how can I let these Unclean lips defile beings bloody hands Curse You by day, and Persecute us by night. How can I, my Saviour? How can I walk away With a blank paper As my certificate? I must, I must. I must proclaim Your truth. I must proclaim Your grace. Surely, there must be a way To keep me From going insane.
“When I applied my heart to know wisdom, and to see the business that is done on earth, how neither day nor night do one's eyes see sleep, then I saw all the work of God, that man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun. However much man may toil in seeking, he will not find it out. Even though a wise man claims to know, he cannot find it out.” – Ecclesiastes 8:16-17
3.0 Fain In the night, I lay awake Thoughts blurring my sight For goodness’ sake. I surrender. “I’m confused!” I shout To the void. Mysteries. There are many of them. Some remain hidden. Some become revealed. Yet – The heavens Are higher than the earth Your thoughts Are higher than my thoughts Let it go. Slowly, I will do so. Let it go, Slowly, I will rest in the meadow. Arms stretched wide, My hands are lifted high Lead me to worship Lead me to worship Let my mouth Overflowwith praises, Proclaiming Your truth – Never-ending worship for Your glowinghue! For who can doubt Your sovereignty? Can I, broken beyondrepair, Part of the fallen creation, Explain the wondersof Your majesty?
That would be a fantasy,That simply bafflesme!
In the end,
This may be all I knowIn You I find peace
In You I find peace
I need not know everything. Perhaps,
I need only surrender.
“I’m confused!” I shout. And I smile.
Then I sing. I sing, and I sing.All glory to my King.
“The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belongto us and to our children forever,that we may do all the words of this law.”
– Deuteronomy 29:29