In my life, my faith has been tested in crazy ways. Strange money situations, relationship issues, health scares, scares with the health of my family, lies come to light, beliefs shattered…lots of things.
Always I have been able to see that God is still God and that He is on the throne.
Sometimes, though, faith can be shaken to the core and all that we once believed comes into question. It’s a crisis of faith. I happen to have been in this sort of situation since January, struggling to see the light at the end of a very long and dark tunnel, trying desperately to locate the point of my joy and cling to it.
Its not really anything all that dramatic…I’ve been blessed beyond belief when considering the circumstances in which I live. I have a beautiful son, a husband who loves me, a beautiful home, a job I actually love (most of the time), and lack nothing in the way of needs and most wants.
Its just that sometimes we believe in something, believe completely that our prayers will be answered and our trust will be rewarded, and then we find out we have been woefully deceived.
Sometimes we find we have clung to the things we have purposed in our hearts and not actually to what God has placed before us.
Sometimes, we make a plan, and then we refuse to let go of it, asking God to bless OUR plan and OUR demands, without really stopping to consider that we might be walking on shifting sand.
I believe completely in two things …that relationships are about giving and taking and that God has His hand in all things.
What I have found from experience is that actual reciprocity in relationships is generally rare and that God will take you into some fairly treacherous territory in order to help you release your grip on your own life and turn it over to His control.
In terms of reciprocity, if you do it God’s way, you give in one place and get back from a completely unexpected place. I don’t care if we are talking about family or spouses or friends, God’s way always works this way. If you attempt to demand reciprocity, you can severely damage a relationship. If you feel you somehow deserve to be paid back for all that you give, you will find yourself heartbroken and without the strength to live.
Not that I’m saying that you will never get back from a person to whom you give. What I’m saying is that in the ebb and flow of relationships and human lives, sometimes you will be sowing into a life that has no way of returning the effort…and sometimes they will sow into your life and you, in your turn, will be unable to find the energy, time or inspiration to give back.
The best relationships have a good ebb and flow. There is equal give and take, if not always in the same timing. The best relationships function like an intricate puzzle – where one is weak, another is strong; where one is able, the other is in need. In the best relationships, this can be immediate or take time, but each party always feels as though there is something amazing in the ebb and flow, each party understands the blessing of having another person to share the journey.
In the more challenging relationships, there is always one who loves more, one who gives more, one whose strength is constantly relied upon…and one who loves less, takes more and who cannot find the strength to stand alone, let alone support another.
In all relationships, there is no such thing as “equality.” There may not even be equity.
On the matter of treacherous territory and releasing my hold on my life to God…well… since I’m a certified control freak, releasing my hold on my own life is…uh…traumatic.
I honestly don’t know how people who have no faith find their way through tough times or even the most common and undemanding relationships. I feel its hard enough to ride out the tough stuff and make joy a choice WITH God…without Him, I don’t know what I would do. The rifts that can grow between people without God as a bridge are wide and deep…it takes faith to navigate, to care, to love, to build bridges and not burn them…it takes faith to allow people to be who they are…
So, what to do when faith is shaken, when all that we have held onto turns to dust, when what we have truly believed is no longer even an option for the truth? What do we do when people and situations conspire to let us down?
For me, this is where the rubber meets the road. To talk a big talk about faith and then not walk it out in full view of the world would be mighty hypocritical.
I’ll be honest. I want to throw in the towel. I want to say, “God, this is not what you have promised me.”
I want to lay down and say, “Hey…wake me when its over.”
And then, I hear the words of “my” scripture, the words of Jeremiah 29:11, “ For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
He doesn’t promise me a trouble-free life.
He doesn’t promise me a life where my faith is unchallenged, where my rosy glasses can remain intact.
He doesn’t promise me riches, or wealth, or always-happy relationships, or even constant human company.
He doesn’t promise that I will have an easy time of anything.
At this point, I should mention that I am so very thankful to God for all he has given me. Because I’m eternally grateful that at least for periods of my life, I have had ALL of these things, if only for a moment.
He DOES ask me to stand strong and tall, with my eyes and my heart firmly rested on Him.
Because He will not harm me.
He has plans to prosper me.
He wants to give me a future.
And above all…
He will give me hope.
A light in the dark, in the middle of no where.
A beacon in this life I have chosen