Faith is Hard

I wonder how many people are having doubts or going through struggles.  This post is for them and me…

I use to hate myself whenever I would ask questions like “what if this is true?” or “what if it’s not?” It was my belief that I wasn’t having enough faith when asking these questions and that my relationship with Christ must be on shaky ground. I am thankful that over the years, though my understanding of Faith has changed. I have come to the realization that God meets us at the intersection of Faith and encourages us to ponder and to seek out the answer. I use to believe that in order to have faith you should never question but to simply believe. I am now becoming convinced that faith is the result of earnestly seeking to understand the mysteries of God by plummeting ourselves into the world we don’t understand but are seeking to learn.

I have two sons and my oldest just turned five years old. He is always asking the question — “WHY?” I would ask my son to clean his room and his first response would be — “WHY?” That’s a fair question. He’s four years old and he’s always experiencing new things that he doesn’t understand. I could just simply tell him “don’t ask why and just do it” but then he would never learn the importance of why cleaning his room is so important. This is just a simple example of our relationship with God. God is the perfect example of a loving parent. He not only willing to answer the questions we ask, but desires to see us wrestle with the question and at times I believe He is even helping us formulate the question itself that is in our heart.

In Genesis 32 we see Jacob wrestling with God. What’s beautiful about this story is that Jacob had an encounter with God that resulted in his willingness to wrestle with Him through the night. What’s even more beautiful has God met him in there and stayed through the entire night wrestling with Jacob. I am convinced that God could have easily taken Jacob, but that wasn’t the point. God wanted to see Jacob wrestle and He wanted to have Jacob experience the intensity of that match. What I also love about this story is that God saw Jacob through the wrestling match and he blessed him as a result, but not without Jacob receiving a lifelong limp. What’s the importance of that limp? Jacob was forever changed by the experience.

Now that’s faith — the moment when we embrace that fact that we are wrestling with God through our questions and through our deepest fears. This is the moment that brings us to a place where God meets us longing to forever change us through this process. The scriptures referred to Jacob’s experience as wrestling with God. I don’t care what we call it, but this is FAITH!

It is intense, it is brutal, it is terrifying and it is necessary. Our job is to walk through the process as Jacob did. We need to see it through and in the midst of it be shaken, be disturbed, be horrified and be forever changed or as many have called it transforming. I have people say that they never wrestle with God or their faith and I think that is sad because that is exactly where I think God wants to meet us. He wants to meet us in the darkest, in the scariest and far-reaching places of our heart and walk with us through these seasons.

I know some will read this and argue that we need to have faith like a child, but I think we have misrepresented that verse to believe that we should never question or battle with fears and concerns let alone question anything. I just don’t see that being a childlike faith. I see a childlike faith being full of questions and at times going through emotional turmoil. I have never met a child who didn’t ask questions and I have never met a youth or adolescent who didn’t experience some kind of emotional roller costar in their life. I believe that a childlike faith means we will ask tough questions and we will go through seasons of turmoil. The beautiful thing is that God is a good God and desires to see us through it. He longs for us to learn and to most of all come out of it changed.

Do we not hold to the belief that Jesus is the answer to all of life’s questions? My answer is yes and thus that belief leads me to believe that if He is the answer then we must be willing and confidence that Jesus Christ being God in human flesh is also within every one of our questions. This is the beauty of faith. Hebrews 11 paints a vivid picture of what faith looks like. This passage in scripture shows us in detail that faith is hard and doesn’t come without challenges, but the beauty is that triune God is ever present and we believe that through faith and through our questions and those deepest fears that something heavenly awaits for us — eternal life with our Father, with the Son and with the Holy Spirit.

I need to be clear here. I am not saying I have this all together. I am actually trying to take what I have accepted in my mind and now convince my heart to accept it. I am in the midst of this faith-stretching experience right now. I am wrestling with deep questions and concerns, but I am hearing the Lord call my name and saying “Adam, I want you to jump into this and I want to help you navigate through all of those questions and concerns. Let me be involved in all of your questions because I am big enough to be the answer each and every time.” Faith is hard, but let’s not neglect walking through it. It is worth it in the end!

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