Since writing my last post on belief, which you can read here, I’ve given a lot more thought to the concept of belief. Belief in God, belief in Jesus, belief in scriptures.
This morning in Sunday School, a very real question came up. We are currently reading and working our way through the book “Walking with God through Pain and Suffering” by Tim Keller. An excellent book; I highly recommend it. But the question that came up was something like this: “What do you do when you are certain you are hearing from God and He is leading you in a certain direction–and you have confirmation of this from others who are close to you–and then every thing falls apart?” When it seems that God changes His mind. Or that you weren’t really hearing from Him when you really thought that you were.
Surely this is something that most of us has asked or has been confronted with. Maybe we’ve prayed and been certain of a dear one’s healing, only to have their life claimed by disease. Or maybe you have a marriage that you know is of God, but then it is tragically destroyed. Or maybe…..well, there are so many possible scenarios.
What do we do with this? How do we trust again? If we think we were hearing God in our life and then suddenly it all falls apart, how do we trust ourselves even to know when God is speaking to us and when He is not?
I don’t know.
What I do know is that the title of the chapter we were discussing this morning was “Walking”. And the only answer I have is that we have to keep walking. We can not stop. I learned this the hard way in 2013, as stagnation lead to doubt, and doubt led to some serious questions. Instead, we must keep pursuing God-daily. Even when we are unsure. Even when we are drowning in doubt. Even when we don’t know how to trust.
How do we keep walking? We continue to seek Him out through scripture work and prayer. By pouring our souls out to Him in a very real way so as to seek that relationship with the God of the Universe. He has not left us, even though there are many times of silence and loneliness. Isaiah 43:2-5 says:
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
3 For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
I give Egypt as your ransom,
Cush and Seba in exchange for you.
4 Because you are precious in my eyes,
and honored, and I love you,
I give men in return for you,
peoples in exchange for your life.
5 Fear not, for I am with you;
I will bring your offspring from the east,
and from the west I will gather you.
Do you see? “WHEN you pass,” indicates movement. Motion. Walking with God through pain and suffering. Through rivers that threaten to drown and fires that threaten to destroy. He considers us precious in His eyes–and eyes are important. He loves us. He tells us to fear not, for He is with us. Are we going to believe that or not?
Sometimes it is so hard; so hard to believe.
I just got home from worship team practice. Next Sunday one of our set’s songs is “Revelation Song”. I’ve sung this song dozens of times, but a line caught my eye tonight:
How often am I truly filled with wonder? How often do I succumb to belief through being able to say “God, I don’t understand you, I don’t understand why you do the things you do, I don’t understand this that I read in scripture, but God I’m going to believe in this “marvelous mystery”?
Belief—God we can only believe if you give us the ability to believe. I can only believe if you give me the ability to believe. Help us to live lives that are filled with wonder at your name, and can somehow, some way accept the marvelous mystery that you are.
Amen and Amen