There are times when faith is an overwhelming prospect. How, when life is just feeling like a consistent and growing challenge, do you keep seeing God in the fight?
I seem to answer this by increasingly avoiding thinking about it. Objectively I can speak about faith, about Gods faithfulness, his love and commitment but when it comes to actually feeling and trusting that he is there, that he cares and listens to what I say, I sort of back away from the conversation or make one of those bland sort of ‘Christian’ statements.
I think it is incredibly hard to understand what on earth God is doing when everything just seems to get harder. There is faith – we trust that God has us, that he is in control etc. But when it is time for that faith to get practical and real, when it is time for me to really let go of the fear that holds me I find myself wondering whether God really does want to help at all.
I have been in this sort of state for quite some time. My health over the past 18 months has deteriorated at a rate that feels like I have continually been on a slippery slide. My capacity for work and thinking is down to a couple of hours a day. My depression is holding steady (a blessed relief) at a consistent sort of slightly lower than I would like level. My anxiety though is taking me on an extreme rollercoaster.
In summary, a rollercoaster, slippery slide sort of health.
To boot, my husband Mike, has been unwell. Increasingly so. His capacity is seriously diminished and tests seem so far to be leading to nothing useful. Between us, we are basically an A-Z of health malfunction.
There is something in my head that says, but if God REALLY wanted to love us well, he would at least hit pause on the pain. He would make one of us healthy. He would take some of the burden.
This though, is essentially the problem with walking away from God when things get harder.
This last week I have found myself being prompted, increasingly, to engage with God. To talk to him, to trust in him. To rely on him. Last night my emotional walls broke and I found myself snotting all over church as I cried constantly. There was a brilliant sermon, talking about God’s abundance.
There was something about it though, that put his abundance into perspective. There wasn’t a moment of dramatic thunder and lightning and skipping, there was just a sudden rush of emotion, peace and comfort. I felt safe for the first time in ages in God’s presence. I trusted that he really was there.
Someone prayed for us, and she said many things that stuck. But, one that stood out amongst it all was that God is in here with us. He is in our pain.
This is something I speak on regularly. On the God that journeys with us, who sits with us in the darkness and encourages us, builds us up, loves us where we are. Yet I seem to have lost sight of my faith in that God. Having words I so often say, repeated back at me, startled me into opening up my faith.
Finding faith, when life is challenging – letting the words I believe wholeheartedly become more than words, but something deeper, is at times an exceptionally daunting prospect. Yet, when it came down to it, it was as easy as saying OK, in a slightly begrudging but hopeful tone.