Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Bouts with Doubt

I just finished my favorite chapter so far of Max Lucado's book, Fearless.

Today's chapter is about the one fear I can relate to most (so far) in Fearless, "Fear That God is Not Real." That is a doosey for me. In my former life, my shallow Christian walk, my life before my faith was vehemently tried and shaken, I would never have spoken those words out loud. I would never have admitted that I had that secret fear. I would have condemned anyone who said they did. I'd have distanced myself from that person, secretly fearing that they might say or do something that would destroy my fragile faith.

But after having my faith shaken to the core and yet surviving, faith in tact... having shaken my fist in the face of God without getting struck by lightning... having questioned God and getting answers that were not what I wanted, but that redirected my attention away from myself and back to God, I can admit this fear. I can now admit that there have been times in the darkest nights that I have cried out to God, voice shaking and tears streaming, "Your promises better be true and You better be for real!"

God has been so gentle with me during those times when I questioned Him and my faith...when I was tempted to give it all up. He was tender with me when I gritted my teeth and accused Him of not caring... of being a cruel, hard-hearted God... of expecting and demanding more from me than I could ever give. He was tender and gentle yet He didn't budge. He didn't patronize me. He didn't give me what I wanted. He didn't change His mind or my circumstances. He had compassion on me. He wept when I wept. He hurt when I hurt. I believe His heart broke when mine broke. But He never backed down. He never gave in. He never let me take the easy road of escape. He continued expecting and demanding more from me than I felt I could give.

That was a distinct turning point in my life when my faith became real. It became much more than talk for me. That turning point was the death of my daughter. At that time I needed to be brutally honest with myself and with God. I needed much more than a faith of words. I had no words of faith for myself that could heal my hurt or restore my hope. I needed a touch from God... a deep inner healing of  heart so wounded, so broken, for which words alone could do nothing. I needed a supernatural touch, a supernatural word.

At that time, I felt like the curtain between my world and heaven was torn for just a little while. Just a small tear, not enough for either of us to pass through, but just enough for some of heaven to leak out and heal my brokenness. It's hard to put into words. There were no visions, no transfigurations, but I felt much closer to heaven and eternity during those early weeks and months of learning to live life without my daughter.

Now you would think that after a time like that, my faith would be rock solid, never another doubt to penetrate it. But, just like the Children of Israel, each time a challenge threatens my trust in Him, I have to remind myself of what God has done and the healing He has brought.

Today I was comforted to hear from a man of God like Max Lucado, a man who has written so many inspiring books about God, that he, too, has bouts with doubt. I'm thinking I'm in good company. And what a relief to be able to admit it!

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I would love to hear from you! Let me know what you think and how I can pray for you. Most of us are carrying some pretty heavy baggage and the good news is, you don't have to carry it alone! You can lay it at the feet of Jesus, and sometimes we need help just letting go of our baggage and not picking it up again. We're in this together!