James 1:6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.
The question on my heart today is wondering whether there is a difference between holding our truths with a relaxed and open hand, and doubting?
I've been on such a roller coaster ride the last three months, and that roller coaster is one to be expected. I feel confident residing in the understanding that most of those who are witness to my grief process, although they may not be able to empathize, can show compassion for the undertaking that I am going through. There have been moments in the last four weeks where I have completely lost my faith. Yep, I have been broken to a place of complete and utter loss of my faith in God. . .and this is a statement I never thought I would speak in my life, and yet it has happened. It has happened more than once, and I wouldn't be surprised if I wasn't out of the woods yet.
A specific moment comes to mind, and although there are many it's this one I will share. During worship we were singing a song with the idea that through troubles we would be waiting on God. It was in that moment, tears streaming down my face, that I felt deep in my soul that I wasn't waiting on God. I knew, at that very second, amidst loved ones worshiping their God, that there was no one there to wait for. God wasn't coming for me, he had no plans to prosper me, all things were not working out for good in my life. These moments are the scariest, the lowest, and still they are the most real.
This moment, and the others like it I've experienced, are not what I hold in my heart now (in this second at least). But to experience the complete loss of God in my life is to journey to a place I have never known. Jesus has always been there for me. As long as I can remember I have prayed. For the last fifteen years conversations with Jesus have been deep seeded in my mind to down right audible and often. Signs, understandings, revelations have been something I have relied and trusted in for years. Yet in this grief God has been silent, Jesus unseen, and the Spirit within me almost absent-feeling at times. My hope is that looking back on my life I will see God's work in this too, but right now it is unsettling.
With this breaking of faith comes challenges that I am doing my best to not turn away from. I will need to rebuild my faith, and this time it will be with a more open hand. I had my truths held so tightly in my hand had they been a coal I would now have diamond studs to show for it. As I start to reengage with Jesus, as I start to rebuild what was broken within, and as I start to trust again I'm going to choose to place each brick carefully back. In other words, I will give myself grace.
Grace in the fact that I do not know it all (bet Matt wishes he was here to print that statement off, and hold it in his pocket for the appropriate moment:) There are things we do not know while walking this Earth, and in this process I will remind myself that is okay. It is okay to not have all the answers about God. It is okay to hold beliefs firmly (or loosely) enough that a question can be asked without fear, or a conversation can be held without anger. It's okay to understand at a very deep level that we all think we have it right, and likely none of us do. It's okay to hold to ours, but realize that there are things far more important. . .and that is to live life now in fellowship with the people He has given us. To love, and restore, and help, and further, and comfort every person that finds themselves around us.
So I have doubted, doubted deeply. It is a hard thing to do. It makes you feel less than, it makes you fear judgment by those around you, and worst of all is it makes you angry at yourself. And during this journey of doubt I have wondered if this is where it would end for me. Now that these thoughts, this brokenness, has overtook me is this where I was destined to stay? The answer, I'm starting to see, is no. It will, however, change me. Transform me. I have already learned at least one very valuable lesson. The truth of who Jesus was, the sacrifice he gave, and the resurrection are central and need to stay that way, but almost every other piece of truth is up for conversation. I will still hold many truths the same as I always have, but you will no longer find them hidden in a white knuckled fist - they will be held in a hand relaxed, one that beckons for the Spirit to fill it up with the things we can not know. One that loves everyone, regardless of the doctrine in their hand, because loving one another is all I really know how to do right anyway.