Sunday 21 November 2010

Faith and doubt

Sometimes, talking to her makes me doubt the veracity of my own experiences. It's as if the things that I feel regarding doubt, as strong as they may be, never registers with her because of the assumption that because I was born in a Christian family, I would never have faced the same kind of issues regarding doubt that someone coming from a non-Christian family, or someone who has faced great trials and tribulations would have faced. It's like a slap in the face to be told that I just don't understand. (Mentally I tag on the words and don't pretend that you do).

I am an Isaac. That in itself is true, and the testimony of my much-blessed life is a testimony of His faithfulness to my parent's work and prayers and diligence. It is true that I stand on the shoulders of giants, which makes reaching for God (and the stars) much easier because I am that much nearer, I have that much inheritance of strength and faith and love. It remains true that many privileges of making ministry work is because people know me and know of me through my father and they are willing to take me on that trust, at least at the initial stages. I grew up knowing many things about faith and ministry that many of my peers are just discovering now. I tend to come out of conferences going well, I knew that already where others are going woah, that's new!

Still, at the same time, there remains a dichotomy of being. There is a warring of the soul that says I believe and yet I'm not sure that I really do.
I may not be able to say that I have gone through a traumatic hospital experience, praying for loved ones to get healed and struggling with faith regarding God's power to heal. It could be something to do with my cynicism regarding the pursuit of miracle healings in the first place. I believe in realism, that you need to prepare yourself for the worst possible outcome, and yet to hope that God will do something. And whilst realism on one hand negates the faith that you think you should be having, doesn't that make the room for hope all the more?

That feeling is one that I am familiar with. The one where you know you should have faith, but you don't. The one where you think that God won't work if you don't have faith, and yet your faith falters and shatters to crystals on the floor. The one where you're going God, haven't I prayed enough? Don't you love me enough to make this happen? Or are you not powerful/loving enough? Or have I done something wrong? It's living with two realities, something that every person of the faith should be living in. It's knowing this hurts; this isn't right; and asking why God isn't doing anything about it - but it's also at the same time affirming (even if it's only with your mind) that God is all-powerful and all-sovereign and doesn't have to act the way we expect Him to, because this is coming to terms with Lordship

It's the ability to say I don't know if it's true even whilst you acknowledge that God has been and is working good in my life. It's being able to say I don't have all the answers, something that church has always secretly taught us not to admit. It's being able to sing Your Kindness is forever, Your goodness is forever, Your mercy is forever when nothing in your life is going right and doesn't seem like it will ever make good. It's being truthful enough to say I'm not sure I really believe whilst allowing that core of your being that does to hold you in check and declare but I have decided that I believe and I will set my sights on what I know is true and right and constant, even if I can't explain how I know it.

And sometimes faith on a string is enough.

It's just enough to be strong
In the broken places, in the broken places
It's just enough to be strong
Should the world rely on faith tonight
Faith Enough; Jars of Clay 

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