One of them confessed to me that at times, people have said things like "God is just psychological" and that our belief is just our minds playing tricks on us. This young person feels frightened by the prospect that he can see how people might conclude that.And the sad thing (in some ways) is that I get this.
Two of them shared stories about how wearying it is to "fake it" as a kid growing up in the church, i.e. having doubts and questions but not feeling free to verbalize them.AND I get this.
Asking questions? People don't like that. It can symbolize doubt and worry and comments of "Just believe it...don't think about it too much".
I am a person who regularly doesn't "feel" my assurance of faith.
I STRUGGLE to believe that my faith is really real. That I'm somehow not just fooling myself.
I regularly confess this to God, but unfortunately this battle is NOT going away.
I stand on that fact that I know that God is real. That I know that he loves me and that I love him. That I want to do things for him, that raising my son for him is so very very important to me.
BUT in creeps doubt...what if I am just fooling myself. What if God really isn't real?
And I have to come back to this.....even IF I'm just fooling myself somehow, I would rather risk believing him and have that eternal reward rather than to risk not believing in him (God) and missing out on that total freedom of loving him totally when I die. Does that make any sense?
Oh...How I long for a day when I have NO doubt. To just not have any. To know that God is so real and so alive and so much just there. And I firmly believe that I will have that when I die (or in those final days kinda thing.....). That until then I have to hold on to the I believe because it's the better option in the long run. AND not take the easy out of "but maybe it's not really real" and therefore I can live however I want to (like a mindless animal). no thanks. Let me struggle with my faith and my belief and be changed by God in things I don't expect to be changed in.... I'll take that over the option of giving into doubt and fear and ending up in a very scary place. Just don't want to go there.
As a pastor's wife....letting people know these doubts and fears? Are you nuts?
I just can't go there. I have to, even on my hardest days, just continue living as though my heart is just fine. That I'm not struggling within the depths of myself. I lived for my teen years feeling like I was just pretending the whole thing. As a young adult living on my own I gave in lots of "okay...this is just too hard to do so lets not". BUT then God called me back....and I know that that is exactly what he did. I would NEVER want to be an young adult again. Those years were TOUGH.
What have I learned throughout my years of loving God?
One... there are always people in the visible church that one can safely ask questions of. Pastors tend to be pretty good (not always but often). What you want are people that have kind hearts and a firm faith. Even teens can figure out who these people are if they take their time and watch.
Two... Regular bible study time is VITAL. Without it, things are much tougher. So when I ask that people to pray for me to figure out regular devotions again with a busy toddler in the house... hmm...there's reason for that. :)
Three....just LISTEN to God's word. Even if you don't 'get it all', it doesn't matter. eventually you'll get it...at least get what you need to stay true to God and to give him glory in all that you. Seriously...you will.
Four...know that even if you have doubts, Know that believing in God is the better option in the long run. AS LONG AS you have thoroughly examined your heart. Sometimes Doubt is God's way of putting a check on your Spirit. Do you really believe in his promises? Do you really believe that Christ died FOR YOU? if you doubt that...get your heart right before God, believe in his promises for you. BUT if you do believe in those promises and his death for you... just keep on over and over and over again saying God...MAN>..this is so hard. Help me to believe in you more. Help me to know that my faith in you is not just a figment of my imagination. AND HE WILL. sometimes it will be odd in how he does that, sometimes it will be really straightforward...but assurance will come. :) Might not always feel there...but it will be there.
Okay...think that enough rambling on this for now. Not an easy post to write but hey .. promised I would. Cheers!