Stability And Faith Crises

I am what I like to call a faithful doubter. I ask the questions, and when the answers don’t satisfy, I enter a crisis of faith. This happens so regularly I have come to expect it. A crisis of faith is not the same as a crisis of trust. Trust is a deep knowing that I am held even when I don’t have everything sorted out; even when I'm not feeling close to God.

A faith crisis is when the modern interpretation of how God works is challenged. A faith crisis is not being able to explain a violent god vs. a loving god. A faith crisis is not being able to go to a church because a past experience with it has hurt more than currently going can help. A faith crisis happens when Christians continue to project a political agenda into the mouth of God, or declare a holy war on other religions. A faith crisis happens when the supposed author of good gifts seems to stand by and let continual hardships occur.

Having a faith crisis directly relates to stability. Again, this is not what it would first appear. Having a faith crisis is not something that happens because a person is unstable. Rather, it is what happens when the relationship with God has come to a personal level that enables one a confidence to ask the hard questions. God can handle my hard questions, (and me.) God is not one of those please-just-nod-and-smile-at-my-benevolent-wisdom leaders who think having a comeback for everything equates with giving a satisfactory answer. I will not be an enthusiast for my religion over requiring that the character of my God be proven consistent with the representation. I will not nod and smile and move along, because I respect God way too much for that. No. I will wrestle.

I will fight the good fight of the faith. Because yes. Keeping faith is a fight. Not a battle of swords and fists, but a fight all the same. It is a wrestling match with the divine. I wrestle because I seek to understand and be in relationship with God. I cannot live in a relationship without transparency. I have to be all of my self, including the doubter. I must be accepted as the one who wants to know why, what, and how. I need to persist in pursuing the answers until they can settle gently into my heart. (And quite honestly, looking at history, the answers are probably going to be a tough sell.)

Stability is acknowledging those questions burning in my chest, releasing them, and expecting God to have the goodness to come through for me. Stability is staying present to the Presence, even when it would be easier to walk away from this faith altogether just so I can stop grappling with all the jigsaw pieces of my religion.

Yesterday, I talked about stability as a posture of gratitude. And it is. But also this: Stability is a posture of hope. In the midst of struggle, I still expect that God and I are going to work things out. I've just learned it usually takes some time.

Read the rest of the #31Days of Stability series here.

Jamie Bagley