Angst or Apathy
Many Christians seem to bounce between two equally unhappy poles: Angst and Apathy. I know that I've had my bouts with both of them. Why do Christians veer toward either of these states of mind? Angst. An acute but unspecific feeling of anxiety; usually reserved for philosophical anxiety about the world or about personal freedom. Now how can anyone feel good about an "unspecific feeling of anxiety"? Apostle Paul was certainly not one to shy away from expressing some existential angst related to his earnest yearning to see Kingdom realities come to life. But we mostly have angst due to the cynicism of our age and the inability to make any significant difference in the world. By looking away from the impact of our personal interactions within our personal world, we can feel overwhelmed by the dreadful self-destruction of our culture. We can't live in angst... or we shouldn't try to. Apathy. Lack of interest or concern, especially regarding matters of general importance or appeal; indifference. I think this comes after a season of angst! You can only stand the turmoil for so long, so it's easier to just shut it off. All of it. Do the minimum. Just make it through the day, and don't trouble yourself - what good would it do anyway? And actually, the truly apathetic do not even philosophize about being apathetic. It's too bothersome. Fill your time with the inane and inconsequential. Let others take the lead in important and cumbersome details of life. Who really cares? It is Spiritual anesthesia for those who prefer numbness to painful (and often failing) attempts at significance. Christians cannot live in these two states because they both destroy the soul and cause us to be submissive to a spirit that feels defeated. Neither of them recognize the place of faith, diminishing it to some subset of beliefs rather than TRUST. Trust what? Whom? If we trust God (the God as described in the Bible), then how could we be filled with angst at what we cannot accomplish? Isn't the theme of the Bible "Our God Can Do Anything"? And how could be be filled with apathy if we adopt the Kingdom view of life and existence? Angst and Apathy are trust problems. Can we really TRUST God? In Sunday School we learned the correct answer. Did our brain ever inform our heart of that information? Job bravely said, "Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him." Yes, Job dealt with some angst in his spirit - but not the kind we deal with today. Job was focused on his plight and his relationship with God, but he was not self-absorbed enough to curse God and die. Mrs. Job focused on self, Mr. Job focused on God in his pain. And that is where our angst and apathy need to go ... before the gaze of the Father. Would you really bring your self-loathing angst into the throneroom of God and say to Him what you often say to yourself? I think it would be hard to do because in His presence you would begin to know the reality of His power and what he has already done in your life. Angst and Apathy are graceless ... and we must reject them ... and eject them ... and we will only do that through our realization of the ever-present God we serve.