I am not always sure God is good.
Yep. I went there.
For many years I knew much. I’m sort of that way. I read and analyze and digest. I remember things factually, repetitively, and could repeat them back as if I read them in a book. I had the book of James memorized. I was working on Hebrews.. if that gives you an idea…
And then my world crumbled in the worst and most painful of ways. Thinking about it all still takes my breath away some and leaves me with some stomach pain. My old world, it didn’t make sense anymore. Questions that had been there for many years became lethal weapons.
They could no longer be stifled.
They needed a space to breath.
I needed a space to breath.
And I doubted. I doubted God’s goodness and I often still do. I doubted God cared. I doubted others cared. I doubted I’d make it in life. I doubted others commitments to me and I doubted if God was really interested in me, if He cared for me, if He saw me, if He wanted me, if He was FOR me.
I was taught by precedence that doubting and questioning in the church-world wasn’t honorable. I felt ashamed of my doubt, of my questions. I began to feel like others saw me as a problem, but my life was just far more complex than most. And it’s actually these complexities that are bringing out the image of God in me, this place that struggles and doubts, but then comes forth with some sense of assurity, not so much in what I know, but in who I am.
And I’ve begun to realize it’s okay to not know. There’s a lot I don’t know. I can’t find stability in what I know anymore. My stability, my worth, isn’t from something I can manufacture.
I admire people who trust and believe with such purity. I really do. Each of us is so gifted differently, to work and strive and figure out this complexity. Mine will be one riddled with doubt and questioning, with fear and grief and inconsistency. But also with great awareness of grace, of gentleness, of commitment, of diligence. God’s not throwing me away because of my brokenness and inconsistencies. I’m staying in the process even though the process is anything but glamorous.
Because when I am dealing with doubt, God says that’s okay. Confusion? that’s okay too. Fear? Still ok. Faithlessness? ok. Anger?ok. Sadness? ok. Grief? ok. Depression, yea God still thinks you’re wonderful. He still wants you. The messy stuff, fear and doubt, anger, depression, etc. It’s okay. It’s okay to admit it. It’s okay to look at it. It’s okay to “miss the bar” in ministry. Because doctrine is what man sets up to understand the Bible. It’s important to many of us, but it can hinder and teach us to live and think in ways that actually keep us from knowing the fullness of God in Christ Jesus. Sometimes the things we set up to help us understand can be the same things that start to cripple us in bondage.
I thought I was ready for ministry. After all, it was about 8 years in before I started to go “downhill”, but friends, that’s a cultural ideology of ministry, this idea of “taking a wrong turn” or “going downhill”. Take a look at who Jesus picked as his first disciples. They totally missed the bar. NONE looked ready for ministry in the ways in which we judge and evaluate ministerial readiness. But Jesus valued them, even in their doubting and arrogance.
He loves us in our neediness and our brokenness, with all our doubts and fears. Afterall, what kind of Church is it where the sick can’t be sick?
And when the vicious waves of sadness or doubt or anger or despair slam you onto the rocks and your tempted to hide, I hope you will know it’s okay if you want to hide, if you feel you need to, that’s ok. But also know you don’t have to. We’re all a bit more cracked and unkempt than we’d like to think we are. You’re not alone.