monday musings: learning to rest

I think I’m finally starting to understand how to rest in my doubt. Sadly, it’s not a 10 step process, so I can’t give you any answers as to how it could work for you. I’ve talked about it here before, how my faith has been punctured with doubt. It has hurt tremendously to wrestle through this faith that has both defined me and set me apart. I’ve told God that I don’t believe in him and yet I keep coming back to Jesus. I’m sure it seems crazy to those of you who don’t believe Jesus is God but I can’t explain it other than the fact that I feel him calling me back to him. I know, I sound like a nutcase even to myself sometimes. How he works is a mystery to me. It’s just too big.

I just finished reading Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis by Lauren Winner and I love how she said it,

“… in those same moments of strained belief, of not knowing where or if God is, it has also seemed that the Christian story keeps explaining who and where I am, better than any other story I know. On days when I think I have a fighting chance at redemption, at change, I understand it to be these words and these rituals and these people who will change me. Some days I am not sure if my faith is riddled with doubt or whether, graciously, my doubt is riddled with faith.”

I haven’t found answers to a lot of my questions and I think I’m beginning to feel a peace in not knowing. I’m not called to know all the answers, even though that’s what I want. Oh GOD, I want the answers so bad. And because of this, I’m sure I will return to this struggle time and time again. I do know that I am called to be Jesus to our broken world and to bring heaven as close to earth as I can. I love that idea, bringing heaven, a perfect earth, to our current situation. How achingly beautiful is that thought? Can’t you feel how wrong everything is? And just to bring a small piece of something right . . .

I think everyone can agree that our current planet is far from heavenly. We see hints of this ultimate beauty in nature and then we see the absolute failures in our own humanity. I believe God’s heart is tremendously pained by humanity’s trajectory. We have enslaved each other, treated our planet poorly, exploited the weak, turned a blind eye to injustice and killed each other in the name of war and even worse sometimes in the name of faith. I am one person but I know I can bring heaven to the few people in my corner of the world. I desperately want to, even when I’m in the throes of doubt.

Another quote I wanted to leave you with from Lauren Winner’s beautifully written book,

“… maybe this is a way of inhabiting faith that is, indeed, faithful; that is generative. Maybe God has given some people belief like a pier, to stand on (and God has given those people’s steadiness to the church, to me, as a reminder, as an aid), and maybe God has given others something else: maybe God has giving to some this humming sense that we know nothing, this belief and disbelief a hundred times an hour, this training in nimbleness (and maybe this is a gift to the church, too).”

Maybe my doubt is a gift to the church. Maybe my ceaseless desire for answers and constant wrestling brings something to the table that will keep things fresh. Maybe God made me with this unquenchable doubt so I could draw people to Jesus just the same.


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3 Comments monday musings: learning to rest

  1. Lindsey April 16, 2012 at 9:51 am

    Beautifully written Beth. It reminded me of the thorn in Paul’s flesh and his begging of the Lord to take it from Him, but the Lord gently reminding him “My power is made perfect in your weakness”. It’s a beautiful juxtaposition (sp?) how somehow this overwhelming doubt seems to draw you closer & closer to Jesus’ side…for ultimately he is the only one who can quench it (even if he chooses not to). What a beautiful picture of dependence. And grace. And a picture of Jesus to the world – He chases after us, longs for us, and brings us peace in a world full of brokeness & trouble. Something everyone (& I would think especially those who don’t yet know Him) can relate to & appreciate. If there was no doubt, there would not be faith…so perhaps the bigger doubt you are feeling, the bigger the faith God has given you & is growing in you.

  2. Michelle Muenich April 16, 2012 at 9:58 am

    Wow, Beth. I definitely see the wisdom in that. There is something to wrestling that is inviting to others. It probably is hard for others to relate to us in issues we are firm and secure in when they are not. Chalk one up for the body’s completion, even in being weak, that Christ may be glorified!

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