“Great faith is often at the end of the search that starts with doubt. We should be thankful for what God has revealed to us. He doesn’t belong in the package we have created for Him.”
I remember clearly looking into the eyes of our newborn daughter and whispering, "I don't think we (meaning I) can do this." He whispered back, "Of course we can, we're bigger than she is." Filled with intense doubts I was looking to him for assurance. No matter the level of his own doubts, he demonstrated utter confidence that we were capable adults who could survive the transition to parenthood. Nine years later he continues to encourage that faith in him as he leads our family as God leads him. My faith in my husband grew immensely that first year of parenting as I watch him take my doubts and trust God with them.
Our faith walk has been much the same. We face things with the doubt that we can go further, and as we see God reveal himself one step at a time, our faith soars. I would much prefer that God just work out my doubts in a quick, easy-to-read manual for life. I want him to conform to my pre-conceived notions of how God should act in this situation when I express a doubt or fear. But he doesn't do that. He gives strength for each moment, guidance or wisdom for each decision, a little light for the next step. Then he does that again. And again. He does that until I reach a point that I wonder how I ever doubted in the first place. Faith has replaced the doubt. Confidence replaces the fear.
We are now a couple of years past the spiritual upheaval in a previous church setting. There were days during that year of crisis that German and I held onto one another with wild fear in our eyes repeating our mantra that "God is Good." I doubted every breath I took there for a while. I doubted that God could possibly care about us if the entire institutional church foundation I was standing upon was quaking. I doubted that I could ever walk into a church setting again with confidence of being vulnerable and authentic. But day-by-day, step-by-step we did survive. We found a new fellowship. We were given glimpses into how others' handle church conflict. We found prayer confidence again. We still held onto one another, but with less fear in our eyes. God continued to give us wisdom. He moved us to another place and another fellowship. He gave us further foundation of fellowship. I was thinking last week how I no longer remember the specifics of the harsh things that were said. The sadness and grief are still a part of me. But the intense hurt and fear have subsided. God has brought us through and we stand with a different, stronger faith than before.
I wanted an easy fix and to not experience the upheaval. But if that had happened, my view of God would not have expanded and deepened. He would still be God in a box of my conception. Instead, he became bigger than that. He revealed aspects of his character that I needed to know. My faith, my trust, is stronger because of the doubts that I screamed at him during that time that he answered. Sometimes our faith can grow in quiet waters. Other times, it develops muscles because of swimming in the choppy water of doubt. It's not my favourite way of developing faith muscles (I want easy), but I know these don't weaken because of troubles. They were borne of troubles. And for them, I am grateful.
Can you think of a time of doubt that God has used to strengthen your faith? Give thanks for the faith muscles that have been strengthened.
Our hostess this week is Karen at In Love W.I.T.H. Jesus. You will find a blessing there.