I used to think God worked like a textbook. Faith seemed as simple as solving an equation. 2 + 2 = 4. Basically, if you asked God to do something with faith, and you were following Him, then He was obliged to you to do what you want.
Then I prayed for my Aunt to be healed from cancer, but she ended up passing away after a long battle with the cancer. So I really didn’t know anymore. Call me simplistic but I didn’t know what to do. I put my faith tokens in the vending machine, and it seemed like God took my prayers and gave me nothing in return. Those prayers, tokens of faith left me confused. Frustrated. Cynical.
And I didn’t really get this whole faith thing anymore. I guess you could say it just didn’t seem fair. I mean, that’s what I said.
So I didn’t know what to do with God. He didn’t necessarily do what I wanted when I wanted Him to do it. As a matter of fact, sometimes, He just seemed a million miles away. I would be frustrated about my lack of faith, especially when I was around Christians who really seemed to believe in God way more strongly than I did. I felt like everybody else had plenty tokens of faith, but I was scrambling around parking lots looking for loose tokens somebody might have dropped. Well, I wasn’t a very good Christian cause I didn’t believe in God the way I should. Sometimes, I didn’t really believe in Him at all. I would tell Him that. (I know, crazy right? I’d tell God that I didn’t believe in Him. If you don’t believe something or someone is real, you don’t address them. Not God though. I had to tell Him that I didn’t buy the whole faith thing.) Deep down, I wanted to believe.
I would attempt to extract my doubt, my struggle, my sin, my shame, but to no avail. The harder I tried to fix it, the less it worked.
What I missed all along is that faith is a gift. It is given to us by God because He wanted us to seek connection with Him, not just collection from Him. God is okay with us being lonely, being poor, being unsure, being frustrated, unsettled, confused, and scared to death that our lives are going to fall apart. Because those struggles have the potential to draw us back into conversation with Him. God knows that faith is not easy for all of us. Okay, maybe your faith in Jesus for salvation comes naturally, but what about day to day faith? Day to day trust? How easy is that? God gives us faith because through faith we come to know Him better. Or as the Scriptures say,
“In Him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:4-5.
Even when you feel insecure about your faith, God is not going anywhere. It is very hard for us to let Him down when He has been the one holding us up. The faith inside that wavers, that is a gift that He has given you. Maybe a different way to look at it is that I waver, but faith keeps turning me back to God. Because the gift is like the giver. I am yet to fully acclimate to the gift because I live in the struggle of a broken world. Light shines in the darkness. That you’re wanting to believe, hoping you’ll believe or even stepping into belief with God is something that shows that darkness will not win. Light shines in the darkness. It’s just that light is confusing because it doesn’t take orders. It certainly does illuminate relationship through truth, honesty, and then grace which covers over all the truth about us that otherwise would have brought us shame and condemnation. Light reveals everything hidden, and as the hidden places are illuminated, life enters us. And all this is a mystery. Because no one can explain God. But He gives me faith to believe. And so I live.