Wrestling

Had a conversation recently with someone who’s really struggling with faith. Asking those tough, classic questions like, “Are people who don’t believe in the Gospel really doomed?” And, “What about all of those miracles? Did they really happen?” I could have followed up those questions with others, like, “What about the resurrection? Was Jesus really risen from the dead?” And, “How could a loving God allow such terrible things to happen in the world?”

Sometimes I wonder if people who would call themselves “Christians” allow themselves space and grace to question. Because, so often when I’ve had these sorts of convos, the response many times is something to the effect of, “Yeah! You have those questions, too? Wait, aren’t you a pastor?”

Here’s my stance on those sorts of things: we don’t live in a closed system. It’s not like the world of faith is a bubble isolated from all things ‘real.’ It’s all so very diffuse. So when stuff happens–good or bad– naturally we appropriate and discern those things through our own worldviews… or, if you will, through our faith.

So what happens when something challenges our understanding of the world? Questions arise. Things get messy. Maybe even uncomfortable. We begin to doubt. And, all too often, we feel alone.

Listen, there’s nothing wrong (in my book/Book) with questioning. Or doubt. Jacob wrestles with an angel one night on a riverbank. He emerges from that no less faithful… just changed. New name and all. Jesus even cries out from a cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” It’s not like we’re dealing with a God who can’t take it. The way I see it, we’re just trying to get to know God, ourselves, and our world a little bit better.

The problem arises when people think they’re going at it alone. Like they’re the only ones who could possibly have those thoughts. Or like they’re some sort of freak for asking what they ask. Because that’s just not true. That’s not the way it works.

Every now and then, we all need a wrestling mat.

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~ by presbytide on August 1, 2010.

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