Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Easy Faith in Hard Challenges

Have you ever doubted the goodness of God?
Have you ever doubted God's love for you?

If you haven't, then congratulations. You are amazing!! Truly- you are.

If you are like me, maybe you have struggled at times in your life.

You may have had some sort of crisis of belief or questioning of God's presence in your life for different reasons. It could have resulted from the death of a loved one, a tragedy, a scary diagnosis, or the loss of something important. There are many reasons why people end up in a situation where they question their faith.

For me, it was a series of events during the first 4 years of motherhood. It was watching my child have two open heart surgeries, and all the things that went with it. It was handing my child over for a few minor surgeries. It was having five or six specialists in my daughter's life prescribing medications, making suggestions, and running tests. It was failed hearing tests, complications during routine procedures, and unexpected diagnoses. It was having my daughter admitted to the hospital a few times for breathing issues. It was a miscarriage. It was personal and professional changes in my life as a result of all of those events.

In the first 4 years of becoming a mother, I became very confused in my faith.

I wondered if God had forgotten about my family. I questioned the goodness of God, because I didn't see much good happening in my life. I doubted God even loved our family because I felt pain, hurt, and stress. I didn't feel loved at all. Every problem with my daughter caused more and more doubts. None of my daughter's health issues seemed fair. I wondered where God's justice was in all the health scares.

These doubts were small in the beginning. I didn't wake up with questions that suddenly seemed legitimate. It happened over the course of those tough years experiencing things I never imagined. It was days and months and years of twinges of doubt and lack of understanding that led to me questioning fundamental beliefs about God.

I struggled for a bit to understand my life, my faith, and how they could go together while parenting a child with chronic health conditions. I didn't stay in the struggle thankfully. I recognized I was in a bad place and took steps to change my perspective. I also knew God was real and my thinking had somehow changed because of circumstances in my life.

I discovered some important things in my spiritual struggle.
1. If you doubt the love of God, your doubt will grow uncontrollably! The love of God is clear in scriptures. Love is what motivated God to send his son to bring salvation. If you doubt the basic characteristic of love, the doubts will grow. You'll have nothing to stand on if you can't stand on that knowledge. You won't know how to pray or believe for simple things because the love is in question.

2. Having questions during struggles may be "normal," but they aren't helpful. I recently heard a minister say, "Questioning God's plan and love for you does not empower you to move forward. Faith does!" It's so true! Questions aren't empowering. They cause division and doubts. Yet, I was more apt to stay in the questioning mode instead of just trusting God with my life.

3. Trying to find God in your circumstances, especially a health crisis, is often more difficult than we make it. God is there. Period. We don't have to search for him. When we do, we are walking by sight and not by faith. I have tended to look at stressful health situations and claim God is just nowhere to be found as there were no apparent positives around us. Yet, that thinking was wrong. I had to trust that He was there instead of looking for proof that He wasn't.

4. Did I become a Christian for the perks? Did I think that adversity would never find me? Did I think that my Christianity would keep all harms from my family? Yes, there are blessings of God when we are in relationship with Him, but we live in an imperfect place. The earth is not heaven; there will be hard times here. So why do I get frustrated with God when I should be running to His peace? What was the point of being a Christian if I responded to adversity like anyone else? Hmmmm...

I've learned many things about faith as a parent of a medically complex child. I've found out that doubts come easily and swiftly in health crises. I finally discovered how to keep a mind focused on the truth. If you're struggling, stay in the Bible, continue in prayer, and reassure yourself of the truths of God.
He's there.
He loves you.
He cares.

Want to hear more? I discussed this topic with Sandra Peoples recently on the Not Alone facebook page.  
Watch it here!!

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