I’m aware that what I’m about to say will blow many a mind, but I…occasionally struggle…with doubt.
Okay, it’s not a shocking revelation, but since I’ve been chugging along for the past year or so in relative peace as far as faith goes, this admission didn’t come easy. Sunday after Sunday, bible study after bible study, God has revealed so many truths–and for the most part, I’ve embraced them and treasured them and (hopefully) tried to live them to the best of my ability through the power of Jesus.
And now, let us have a moment of silence, because? That was quite possibly the hokiest paragraph of Christian cheese I’ve ever written.
All this time I’ve had a sense that I’ve been on the right track–until this past week. While I will spare all personal details, there’s been a recent happening in my family that has even the most understanding of us calling for blood. Though this particular offense impacts one person more than others, all of us are confused and hurt and betrayed and angry. My heart was hardened before I had even two sentences worth of information. For several days I saw no way the situation could be rectified; no forgiveness and no light at the end of the tunnel. In fact, I saw a full-scale withdrawal from the tunnel, period, followed by an all-out sprint in the opposite direction, toward a pile of tommy guns maybe, and a top-secret operation called “Six Months of Slashing Tires”.
I have, at times, also struggled with a red-hot temper.
And then came the questions: “What gives, God? Why do you allow these sort of things to happen? God, how can anything remotely good come out of this? How long will you let this pain go on? The suckage factor in the current situation is major. Where are you in all of it? How can anyone expect to see you in such terrible circumstances, especially when they’re not used to looking for you to begin with? I write my heart out about how awesome you are, and then this awful thing goes down, totally blowing out of the water all that crap about loving and forgiving our enemies. Give me something to work with God! Zoom out and show me the big picture! Because right now, all I’m seeing is a steaming pile of horse shdoo.”
And then here’s my husband, who likes to drive me crazy and make me feel bad and cause me to lose focus on my irrational-yet-comforting thought process:
“What do you think about all of it?”
Me: “What do you mean, what do I think? You know what I think. Don’t you think it too?”
Caleb: “Well, I understand, but you never know. It can be fixed.”
Me: (scoffing) “Oh, okay, Caleb, genius. Tell me how it can be fixed and why it’s not necessarily as bad as it seems.”
Caleb: (quietly) “God can do miracles. God has his purposes. God can fix it. Maybe it happened so that people will search God out in a time of need. Remember how it was with us?”
Me: “Well, yeah, God can do it if He wants to, but why would he want to? And besides, people probably don’t want Him to anyway even if he wanted to.”
Caleb: “I can’t believe the words that are coming out of your mouth. Do you hear yourself?”
Me: “Yeah, I do; and I make a lot of sense. You just don’t understand.”
I ended the conversation because it started to make me uncomfortable, but of course God slapped me upside the head during prayer time and Sunday church time. Never fails. And so here’s my official statement:
There is nothing God cannot do. There is no problem too big for God. There is nothing He can’t fix. Here’s Beth Moore this past week, word-for-word, from James: Mercy Triumphs, my daily bible-study: “God can change what people do. He can change behavioral patterns that have been in play for decades. He can change what we do to cope, to find comfort, to survive conflict, to count. Like me, Rahab had done a same old thing for years…and then she did something new. She believed God and acted on it.”
Now, Rahab? Was a total prostitute. No, really, a prostitute. But God got ahold of her and took her life in a direction no one could have seen coming. It reminds me of a poster that I’m sure we’ve all seen but it hits home in my case, especially recently:
I don’t know why certain things happen. Perhaps many times, the really terrible stuff is not from God at all, but from the devil and our own sinful nature–we succumb to it because we are spiritually weak, and we give in. Or we know no other way of life; our sins to us aren’t really sins–just commonplace behavior that, though hurtful, is normal and in a way, expected.
I know this because it could not have been God’s intention for me to meet my husband in a bar and start a beautiful relationship based on raging alcoholism and a mutual love of fornicating. There’s no way our beginnings were God-condoned.
I do know that God lifted us up when we hit rock-bottom. He held our hands and led us away from those damaging habits and hurtful behavior, and believe me when I say that our marriage was literally one more binge away from stone-cold OVER. He protected our family, and positioned each of us around sweet, caring people who saw to our spiritual needs almost like they were nursing us back to health.
God works in big ways and I am so ashamed of doubting that in any way. Who am I not to forgive? Who am I not to hope? Who am I not to trust God? It is my big fat prayer that God brings something beautiful out of a situation that is beyond my understanding at this time. I don’t get it, but I know that God does. It’s not my job to pass judgement and make assumptions. God brings light to pitch-black. He takes weak things and makes them strong. He can make oozy goodness out of the worst kind of sin. He can wash us up, shiny and new and beautiful. Even when it seems impossible to us, God will help us forgive and love and move on in a direction we never thought we’d go.