If you’ve been with me for any period of the last seven months you will know that I hold nothing back. I don’t “beat around the bush” or hide a lot of what I’m thinking. I’m an individual tired of the fake glitz and glam that so entrenches our society. Nobody wants to be real anymore…
Well, today I want to be real with you and hopefully touch a nerve. I know that many of you struggle with hopelessness. I know many of you have many a question about God and for God. Some of those may call God’s faithfulness into the spotlight. I want you to know that you are not alone in this. I hope to be an encouragement and motivator to you through my personal struggle.
I have a Confession to make.
I doubt God more than I should.
For a pastor’s kid (and studying to be a pastor) this is an entirely foreign and scary thought. I’ve been raised to believe in the power of the unknown, how could I ever doubt Him? How could I ever question the validity of what my all knowing and all powerful Creator says? What I’m about to say (I’m about to answer my own question) is not an excuse, just reality.
I’m a sinful human being.
Recent years have warped a massive amount of my worldview and I credit fault to no one but myself. I don’t blame God for my depression. I don’t blame God for the consequences of allowing anger to steal my heart. I guess I’m just having a hard time believing what He says.
“Jesus responded, “Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!” Then he got up and rebuked the wind and waves, and suddenly there was a great calm.” Matthew 8:26
More so in the realm of why would He love me? Why would He continually choose to forgive me when I so often turn my back on Him? Not just why but how? When it comes to God I struggle viewing Him as my loving Father. Seeing Him as a tyrannical dictator comes easier to me than the thought of His loving hand. It doesn’t make sense. I know God is my loving Father, I know He is quick to forgive, and I know He only wants what’s best for me (Why else would He sacrifice His son for our hearts?). Despite all of my head knowledge my heart is slow to pick up on the incoming information.
“But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” Psalm 86:15
When I sin and turn my back on God you would almost think a civil war had broken out inside of my mind. It’s a battle between the Devil telling me I’m the worst human being in the world and the Holy Spirit assuring me I can brush it off. Who do you think I’m swift to believe? The rampant onslaught forces me to think that God can never forgive me and that His grace has run out. After any kind of mistake I can spend hours, sometimes days, begging God for forgiveness because I feel so guilty. I feel that I’ve crossed that line of no return.
“Oh, you’ve done it this time, kid. God’s grace is done with you.”
“Really? Again with this mess? You’re better off just staying in the mud.”
I feel so stuck in my struggle that I’m tempted to believe that God will never deliver me. It’s so easy to trust in the fact that God just isn’t listening anymore. What’s seemingly worse is that I’m so quick to be fearful of the consequences (of my mistakes) rather than being regretful over the break in our relationship. Simply put, I’m more worried about the repercussions than the restoration.
“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace…” Ephesians 1:7
I know what my problem is. I’m choosing to wallow in my selfish pride that says “I’m too dirty to be forgiven”. I’m choosing to believe a lie when I have the truth laid out right in front of me. I’m a sinful human, yes but Jesus didn’t eradicate my sin on the cross just for me to wallow. Believe it or not God isn’t the harsh ruler that we so often think He is. Yes, He is just and cannot allow sin but He abounds in mercy.
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I John 1:9
The truth of the matter is that God is who He says He is whether we believe it or not. It doesn’t matter how many times the Devil whispers the lies in our ears. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He has more grace and love than our human brains can fathom. I can never stoop so low that He could not reach me. You can never outrun the merciful love of God. He is relentless in His pursuit of us, the Bible says so.
“As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.” Psalm 103:12
So, my point in writing all of this is to say that despite who we are God never changes. He is faithful, full of love, and sovereign in what He does. Yes, He calls us to repentance. Yes, He calls us to live a life that is contrary to the world. Yes, He knows that we cannot do it perfectly. He is with us in our battles, our failures, and our successes. God is not waiting for us to fail but rather running the race with us. He picks us up when we fall, brushes the dirt off of our knees, and gives us the strength to keep moving. You and I are the same. There is nothing about me that screams for higher approval. The Gospel puts us on the same playing field. We all have doubts but (as cliche as it may be) God is the answer.
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
It is with this knowledge that I press on. It doesn’t mean my heart won’t doubt. It doesn’t mean that I will find perfection. It only means that I will hold tightly to the faithful word of God when I fail (And when I succeed). God can love me (He does), God can forgive me (He does), and God can make me into something that’s beautiful (He is) despite my failures to believe.
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39
Don’t lose hope.