Sometimes I forget there’s such a thing as a messy faith to go along with my messy life.
And in this moment, I’ll be totally honest – I’m not really sure how to best express what I’ve been feeling, lately. My thoughts are jumbled, my words ineloquent, and the feeling of being stuck permeates my every thought.
It’s quarter till eleven on Monday night where I am, and everything in me feels weary, uncomfortable, aimless. To try and pretend I have it all together, or that my messiness is endearing simply wouldn’t be right – I’m drained, deep thinking has left me unsettled, and all I want is for everything just to feel right again.
As I sit here, I begin to think hard and deep once again –
What do we do when reality hits and our lives don’t turn out the way we wanted them to?
What do we do when studying the Bible seems to leave us wrestling with questions more than finding answers?
What do we do when we find ourselves heartbroken, or filled with guilt and shame, just barely grasping what exactly grace is?
It’s so, so easy to just run and hide. And when we’re safely nestled into the shadows, pray that God would fix everything, make it all right again.
What do we do when God doesn’t fix it?
Often, in our desperation, we cry out, “Lord, you parted the Red Sea! You flooded the earth and yet saved the human race! You created the entire universe in less than a week, raised Your Son from the dead, saved Daniel from a den of lions, and turned water into wine! Why can’t you just take this mess and pain away from me?”
I’ve been there.
Oftentimes, it seems, we’re utterly alone in our hurt, in our weakness and distress. And, as young children do, we immediately run to our Father and beg Him to fix us, to make it better, easier, assure us we’re safe.
But something I’ve been mulling over these past few weeks is this: what if our discomfort is meant to drive us to God and deepen our relationship with Him?
What if His “fixing” of our problems were to allow us be so self-sufficient that we forget why we ever needed Him in the first place?
And that’s a terrifying thought, to me. At the beginning of this post, I said,
“Sometimes I forget there’s such a thing as a messy faith to go along with my messy life.” I do forget it – because I like the quick fix, the easy route. I like the simple, the sane, the predictable.
I forget that peace is the direct result of having a relationship with God – not a button to press, but having my mind stayed on Christ.
“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”
Because he TRUSTS in You.
Trust is active, faith a tangible experience that extends far beyond intellect. It’s often messy, because it calls for the active belief in unseen things, though they’re as real as anything else.
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
And why can we trust Him, in the first place? Because of love.
1 John 4:16
“So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.”
In order to experience His peace, His comfort, His goodness in our pain, we must first know His love and His grace, the same grace that crossed the cosmos to pursue our hearts – that gave everything in Heaven up to rescue our souls – that lost His life to save ours.
2 Corinthians 12:9
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
Our weaknesses become so much more than inconveniences or setbacks, with this in mind – that God uses them to draw us to Himself, to display His greatness and glory in our everyday messy, crazy, difficult lives.
It doesn’t make what we go through easy, by any stretch. Pain often still remains. God still may not make our lives necessarily any simpler.
But through it all? God loves. He gives more grace. He draws us to Himself. He gives peace. He fills us with joy. He promises His presence, and never deserts us. He empowers us by His Spirit to live fully, to chase after Him with all that we are.
And when that mess remains, but we can experience that depth, that love, that goodness in His mercy and grace – it’s all worth it.