Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Wow. It's been a long time since I've blogged. I could commit to blogging on a regular basis; chances are I woudn't. But this is a good outlet for me on occasion, so I'll just share what I want, when I want. Hopefully it will mean a little something to someone on occasion. What I'm sharing today is a testimony that I shared at our church's Thanksgiving Feast in 2013.
John 6 says that MANY disciples walked away from Christ. So Jesus asks Peter, "Are you going to leave me too?" Peter's reply is, "To whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God."
Sometimes a person goes through a season of doubt. Doubt so deep that it shakes you to your very core. I went through a period of desert for about 6-7 years. There were many reasons for it that I could list, but I think it boiled down to a God not being who I thought He was, and a deep disappointment in my life and that it wasn't what I thought it would be. Wondering if my life actually mattered to God. Did my life have any significance? There were times during it that I truly contemplated turning away from God, and from the church. But my heart, like Peter, was saying "Where would I go? There is no other Truth for me, and if there was Truth to be found, it was in Christ!" So, I made a decision that if there was a way doubt INTO Christ, I would try.
This year has marked a very significant time in my life. A time of renewal. I can't explain it, but somehow God has made Himself known to me, and my heart was able to receive it. So the thing that I'm thankful for this year is that my heart fully belongs to the Lord.
I just want to say, if you are going through doubt or struggles in your life, please know that it's okay. We live in this lie that no one else struggles like you struggle, or feels pain like your pain, or has secrets as deep and dark as yours. It is a lie. We all have our secrets.
God's heart is big enough to hold your confusion about Him. His grace is big enough to encompass your sin. There is room at Christ's table for you, and that means there is room in the Church for you. Please don't hide your struggle to the detriment of your soul. I have to say that I hid my doubts from almost everyone for years, and it was only when I chose to share the depths of what I was going through in a very public way, everything changed. It was confession of my struggle, and also, in a very real sense it was a confession of my need for community. Community is good. Confession is good.
Lastly, God is faithful. If you are dealing with doubt or apathy like I did, you wonder if it will ever end. Maybe it won't. But God is there, and our God is one who weeps with us as we struggle. There is a book I recommend called Disappointment with God by Philip Yancey. It was significant for me coming out on the other side of this desert place. And one of the most significant mental realities that I came to was that, what ever it is we are so disappointed with God about, whether it be that our life has not turned out the way we expected, or that He sees the evil in the world and allows it to continue, He sees the things that break our hearts, and His heart breaks too. He is disappointed WITH us. Along with us.
He is our safe place to whom we can take the cares of the world and He will take the burden from us. We don't need to take the burdens of the world on our shoulders. Doubt TO God, not away from Him. It's okay. Confession is good. Community is good.
I know that there are many here who do life with someone in the midst of serious struggle. Please be a safe person. A safe person is one who can share in sufferings. Someone who will not give pat answers. Someone who will listen and not try to fix it. Someone who believes that your struggles are no better than your friends. Someone who trusts that God will work His grace into your friends' life in His time. Someone who will hold your friends' hand and walk with them before they can say they are on the other side.
The Lord is good. He is gracious. He is faithful. He alone has the words of Eternal Life. Blessed be the name of the Lord.