group

'Struggling
    with Faith'


   

Tuesday Reflection

   

13th April 2021


...insane Christianity...


For you know
that the testing of your faith
produces steadfastness.

....James 1:3


If you look at faith through the eyes
of an atheist or agnostic you will realise
just how absolutely insane Christianity
appears to the non-believer.

A man, who is "God's Son,"
died on a cross for our sins?
You can't just go around
saying that kind of stuff.
It sounds crazy, maybe it is crazy.

Is that how you sometimes feel?
Maybe it's been a long time since
your conversion, and you're really
not sure about God and Jesus anymore.
Maybe you're a logical and reasonable person,
and faith isn't making sense right now.
Maybe you're an emotionally driven person,
and you can't remember that last time
you felt the presence of God.

No matter where on the journey of doubt
you find yourself, you may find it helpful
to keep the following in mind:
Firstly, don't deny or fear your doubt;
harking back to our friend Thomas
we were reading about on Sunday,
he doubted but wasn't afraid to speak out;
when the other disciples said,


'We have seen the Lord.'

Thomas said,

'I don't believe it!"


Doubt is not the absence of faith;
it is a critical and necessary step
on the path toward faith,
however crooked that path may be.

I doubt the faith of people
who haven't doubted much more than those
who have a long time
relationship with doubt.
I am wary of those who are non-sceptical.

Sometimes faith comes very naturally,
and sometimes everything
we've ever believed is suddenly thrust
under a microscope and
we are forced to examine it.

It's okay to look. In fact, please look,
because if you don't,
what are you looking at instead?

Often the times we experience the most growth
in our beliefs come after a time of wrestling,
a time of sitting in the uncomfortable unknown
and asking God about it.
It's that idea of Jacob wrestling
the angel in Genesis 32.

In light of that story,
God certainly doesn't mind our questions.
We can ask them all night.

When we had strong faith but now we are doubting,
it can be troubling and unsettling;
we wonder what is the matter with us,
we feel failures, weak in our faith
and don't know what to do about it.

We are allowed to let someone else carry
the burden for a while;
to take a break and let
someone else be strong for us.
We can share our troubles;
when we can't talk to God,
we can talk to someone who can.

Doubt is painful;
but its pain is active rather than passive,
cleansing rather than deadening.
Far beneath it, no matter how thoroughly
our scepticism seems to have buried itself
in our soul, faith, resilient faith,
is steadily growing.

One of the most difficult things about
doubt is it can feel like nothing
is happening;
God has gone silent,
the scriptures sound empty.
The nothingness can be hard to bear;
but God doesn't do nothingness.
That's not really
the business he is in.
Isaiah 55:10-11 says,"


As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it without
watering the earth and making it
bud and flourish...so is my word
that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose
for which I sent it."


Something will be happening
beneath the surface.
Something we will not see during the
wrestling and the nothing-ness,
but that we will see so brightly
and clearly after a time.

A little hope will squeeze
through the crack and
hindsight is a wonderful thing.



It may be interesting to watch,
or just listen to a song
'Calm me, Lord'
sung by Margaret Rizza
(with lyrics)'
via the link shown below.


Blessings

Maureen