You Don’t Graduate From Basics

One of my greatest temptations in my faith is to “graduate” or try to move on from the basics. I overrate my intellect. I think that progress means leaving truths behind instead of building on them. Without even trying I abandon the foundational realities of God’s character and work. But instead of moving from lesser truth to better truth this mentality moves me from perfect truth to lost, confused, and hopeless.

I feel this especially when crisis hits. Sometimes it’s personal crisis that makes me aware of it. Other times it’s something big and complex like a nation in turmoil. In either case I am confronted with the fact that my “progress” has progressed me into confusion, frustration, and turmoil.

When I reach this point one of the things that guides me back, that anchors me again in truth, is phrases from songs I learned as a child that echo in my head.

Turn eyes upon Jesus. Look full in his wonderful face.

Great is thy faithfulness, O God my father.

Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.

Trust and obey, for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus.

Every hour I need thee.

When sorrows like sea billows roll . . . it is well with my soul

‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear and grace my fears relieved.

There is no moving on from such truths. No graduating. They’re the truths on which faith hangs – statements of God’s presence and promises. They reflect the words of scripture and we can even hum along. They are earwigs of the best sort that lift us when we have fallen and give life light when life is dark.

I live in the Nashville area and spend my days helping churches with leadership development. My nights are spent writing and rooting for Minnesota sports teams. I also podcast a bit. I'm the author of The Pastor's Kid: Finding Your Own Faith and Identity, Help My Unbelief: Why Doubt is Not the Enemy of Faith, and The Curious Christian: How Discovering Wonder Enriches Every Part of Life