If you’ve ever been married, or in a long term relationship, then you’ll know that there are times when you don’t necessarily ‘like’ your mate. In fact, it’s completely normal to have moments when the other half of you is wholly intolerable! The trick to these moments is to figure out ways to continue loving even when you’re in the ‘dislike’ phase.
Too often what’s supposed to be a choice that demands the very essence of our devotion to commit to, turns into a whirlwind mess because we don’t take our decisions seriously and we choose not to fight hard enough to give enough of ourselves into making deep relationships work.
Faith is a lot like love, except for one huge difference. We can lose our faith for moments, but Lord help us if we lose our desire to love.*
I know a lot of people who face moments in life when they seem lose their faith. Some longer than others. These deeply contemplative and tense times in our lives arise when we seriously consider “why” it is we believe certain things. We can find ourselves questioning “what if” the “why” isn’t “true”.
Maybe you just can’t understand why God would allow certain things to happen to certain people. Maybe you’re mad at God because of what you perceive to be an injustice that should never occur. It could be that a situation didn’t go the way you expected and you feel betrayed. Or maybe it’s simply what you thought was right doesn’t seem so simple and easy to believe any longer.
All legitimate and sometimes necessary moments to wrestle with. Good thing we’re not alone.
The Bible is full of heroes who are consistently questioning God, wondering why intercession hasn’t entered their situations, and are constantly lamenting about the pain and anguish in their lives and those around them.
If some of the most important people in scripture struggled with their faith we can conclude it’s normal for us to do the same. Albeit there is one exception that’s important to notice: they never lost HOPE.
Hope is the thing that can ground us during the times we’re not sure about the ‘why’ or the ‘what’ it is we believe. Hope points to the promise and expectation that, to put simply, the wrongs in our world will be turned right.
During trials in our lives holding on to something–anything–is all you feel you have. When we wrestle with questions about ‘systems of beliefs’ and ‘how does this work?’ inevitably we contemplate what the big problem is in the first place. After all, having faith in something is generally an indicator that we believe in a solution to some form of problem. From a Christian perspective, in a very simplistic way, the ‘problem’ is that there’s not enough of God’s Kingdom evident in our world. The solution, however, doesn’t rest with us. We’re participants in a solution but generally end up screwing it up more than fixing it. Thankfully the story doesn’t end there.
The ultimate solution is found in the past, present, and future hope found in Jesus.
God’s dream is to usher in his Kingdom on earth and that dream has never changed. (I would say that’s the over-arching narrative of scripture entirely.) The climax of that dream is found in the event of Christ’s defeat of death via resurrection. To put more poignantly Christ IS THE glimpse of ultimate hope that we can rest upon.
Sometimes God’s unfolding dream doesn’t seem evident in our liminal time which in turn contributes to the tension we develop with our faith. Of course, faith isn’t supposed to make sense all the time. But what should make sense is the hope and promise laid out in God’s dream to rescue and redeem the very things that have pulled us away in the first place.
That should, in the very least, shine a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel of a seemingly lonely and confusing path.
There IS hope. Don’t let go.