the different

6 01 2008


last night, i was speaking with one of the youth, and they shared that they had been going through a time of questionning and doubt, and that it was hard to feel faith-full, like before. i wished i could have some kind of answer that would definitively solve the questions at once, the riddle of what happens when we don’t feel loved, or faithful, or whatever. answers like:

  • just plough on, and keep believing – eventually you’ll “feel it” again;
  • it’s okay, don’t worry. it’ll work itself out, and then you’ll have a great story to tell;
  • maybe you’re not reading the bible enough… have you tried job?;
  • perhaps you could try singing more worship songs and you’ll start believing again?;
  • the struggles are God’s way of telling you to start growing, so start growing in your faith; and
  • well, it happens. just hang on in there

the above replies (because they are surely not answers) all came to my head in a mad rush after the last words finished being spoken. sure, they’re easy, and they’ve been said a million times to me, to people i’ve talked to, and written in christian books i’ve read. do they help? i’m not so sure. in fact, i’m pretty sure they’re about as useful as ‘a ham sandwich at a bar mitvah’ i think there aren’t such things as pat answers when you’re dealing with faith, like you can’t just throw out a couple of well-phrased lines, no matter how recycled they are, and expect that everything will work out. i think the answer will always be out of these two:

  1. it’s okay to question.
    one reason is it’s how we show that we’re thinking about things, important things to do with where we are and who we are. if not, then we’re just sheep in the worst sense of the noun – we’re just following whatever is trendy, or easiest.
  2. we’re being honest, by bringing all that “junk” back to God.
    He can handle the truth – He was the beginning of all that, after all. if we’re not bringing the truth back to Him in our lives, our questions, our acts of worship and everything in between, what are we doing? mike pilavachi writes in when necessary use words: changing lives through worship, justice and evangelism, “too often we don’t know how to handle people’s cries to God. we worry that they’re not being reverent and are therefore offending God with their questions; but the psalms make it pretty clear that God wants us to pour it all out to Him – every emotion. Jesus didn’t have much time for people who were so busy putting on a show of holiness that they forgot to get their hearts right before His Father.” (37-38) and that opened my eyes in a way they hadn’t been opened in a long time.

God can handle the truth. if what we’re bringing to Him is what we think He wants to receive, and we’re shielding the questions or doubts or worries we have because otherwise we wouldn’t seem faithful enough, or strong enough… then we’re not bringing anything worthwhile.