“God, at this point in time there is loads of room in every area of my life for You to work miracles….but I doubt that You’ll do anything.”
This is just one of the thoughts that ran through my head in the early hours of the morning, left over from last night when I was amongst the party-goers and the loud music and the everything. I was overthinking again, I was exhausted and uncomfortable, overwhelmed by the uncertainty of life and by my own impatience. I was becoming angry that there were so many things going on in my life, within the walls of my house, during the summer, in my heart, and God was doing nothing to change them or make them quiet down so I could think clearly. I was tired of being optimistic, and I wanted things to change and happen now. I didn’t want to wait or pray anymore. I just wanted something different.
These thoughts left me stranded on an island in my head where I told God all of my frustrations, my fears, and my doubts, ignoring all of the miracles He’s done in my life, all of the things He’s saved me from, all of the pain He’s endured for my sake.
I ignored the way Jesus Christ made Himself vulnerable for me and separated Himself from the One He loves most, the Father, just so I wouldn’t have to experience life without Him. I ignored the way He pulled me out of a toxic relationship to which I’d sold my soul, just so He could look me in the eye and tell me that a man, no matter how kind, how romantic, how faithful, how Christian, will never fulfill me and that I’m loved beyond all comprehension by Someone I can depend on and trust. I ignored the way I believed and the way I loved because of Him and because I knew He loved me. I ignored the healing that has taken place in my family, as well as the growth going on as I write to you now, despite how difficult and hopeless it all seems. I ignored the obvious facts, the air-tight promises, the things I’d been sure of.
I sat back and doubted all of it.
When I woke up this morning to leave for New York, at 5:30am, mind you, I knew I still doubted, and I knew my heart had been uprooted for a night. But as I got ready in the silence of the morning, I realized that it wasn’t necessarily a matter of God not being who He says He is. It was a matter of my thinking that I have a better plan for my life and for my family and for the world than God does. I was frustrated that I wanted certain things to happen involving certain people and God just wasn’t doing them. I was frustrated that I couldn’t just pray for something to happen and it would happen, just because I wanted it to. It wasn’t even bad or sinful, but I knew, deep in my heart, that it wasn’t the right time, and I wasn’t ready for it.
I slept the majority of the ride home, waking up every once and a while to think. Near the middle of the ride, my face grew sanguine and I felt so embarrassed with the fact that I’d thrown a spiritual temper tantrum, for a moment putting the blame on God and boldly declaring that He had no idea what was going to happen in my future, that there was no way certain things would ever happen because of reasons x, y, and z. But God has never and will never merit any blame, because all He’s ever done for me is what He’s known to be what I’ve needed, what I’ve been ready for, what has challenged me and brought me closer to Him. He is spotless and blameless and I am the only one who merits any blame or fault in this relationship.
For the longest time I didn’t think I was allowed to doubt. I never felt like I could come to God and say, “Lord, I know this is what Your word says, and I know this is who You say You are, but I don’t believe it.” But God, in all of His magnificence, strives to prove to me that His word is valid, that His character is cosmically solid and His speech is powerful in every way, even after everything He’s proved to me already.
It would be easy, I think, for someone to say, “Your faith must not be very strong if you go from praying and reading the Bible one day to doubting and running away the next.” But I think this is the opposite of the truth. If my faith is real, if my God is the One true God, then I should be free to doubt Him and challenge His word and be open about my fears in His presence, and He should, with a quick movement of His finger or a blink of His eye, be able to destroy every one of them with His reality and the sureness of Himself…and He can 🙂
I’m human. I’m a hypocrite. I’m a liar. I’m doubtful. I’m selfish. I contradict myself. I fall on my face. I suffer from disbelief and disobedience. I embrace the evil in myself before I venture to allow God to instill His good. These are my default settings, because my heart, in its innateness, is black with sin. But God graciously enters into my life, infiltrates my heart, and changes my mind until my default settings gather dust and become rusted over, and His desires become my own, His characteristics become my own, His sight becomes my sight, and His default settings become mine. He can’t be anything less or more than He is. And it’s through giving me the Holy Spirit, after showing me with absolute clarity that I’m a sinner in desperate need of a Savior, that I’m able to love anyone, that I’m able to doubt with the expectation of being proven wrong in God’s perfect way. And how grateful I am to be proven wrong every single time.
God is God, exactly who He says He is in His word, and I’m not. I’m just not God. I don’t know what’s best for me or what’s best for my family. I’m not the one who makes the heart beat nor do I know its contents. I’m not the one who made boundaries for the waters of the sea, or the one who knows every star by name. I’m just so ignorant of everything and here I have the audacity to go around thinking that what I want is more important and more exciting than what God has planned. Really??
You’d think I’d know by now that God knows what He’s doing, that He loves me and isn’t going to do anything in my life without purposing it to bring me closer to Him and to grow me.
I didn’t think a simple trip to Ohio would turn out to be a lesson in humility. Go figure. The world does not revolve around me, and how glad I am it doesn’t, because my plans are so small compared to God’s. Thank goodness once again that God is God, and I’m not.
“Rejoice not over me, O my enemy; when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me.” —Micah 7:8, ESV