Most people don’t know this about me, but faith continues to be a challenging aspect of my life. There have been a few seasons when I’ve prayed with arduous desperation for God’s miraculous touch or spiritual consolation and felt to have been met with absence. Which really felt more like rejection. Those seasons have left marks on me and I continue to wrestle through them because I believe in God more than I believe in my feelings about God.
Faith is a journey. Doubt is a conclusion; it’s a dead end road, believing there is nothing more to see. Faith says there is far more to see than what meets the eye; and faith in Christ says that what we can’t see is ultimately benevolence and love. But the journey of faith is constantly challenged by my own mental, emotional, and spiritual conditioning.
I am okay with this, though. Just as much as my times of feeling abandoned by God have caused me to doubt, my experience with "confident Christians," whose certainty of faith has seemed to be an excuse for cruelty and condescension, has equally made me question the validity of the Christian faith. I don't want a faith that looks like theirs. I want a faith (and life) that looks like Jesus'. Faith is a journey, because it is a relationship. Certainty, like doubt, is also a conclusion.
In the midst of a season of perceived rejection, I once had a therapist tell me that I had “unrealistic” expectations on God. That really shook me. Isn’t it the “unrealistic” or “miraculous” that makes god, God? But John would remind us, “God is Love.” With my “god-barometer” set to an expectation of supernatural miracles, I have completely missed the presence and power of Love.
By limiting God’s presence to looking one way, I’ve robbed myself of seeing God in every way. And when God hasn’t met my very specific expectations, I’ve questioned His reality, rather than my limited perception of reality. But again, I believe in God more than I believe in my feelings about God.
All things were created and exist through Him [by His service, intervention] and in and for Him.
– Colossians 1.16 (AMP)
Because of this, we can allow our doubt to work for our faith. When I encounter my doubt or fear, I try to use it as a platform for my faith, rather than a burden covering it up. As a platform, I can stand on top of it and cry out to Jesus like the father in Mark 9.24, “I believe; help my unbelief!”