Do you struggle to believe that God is real? For all of us, it is a fight to believe in an invisible, seemingly far-away God who you cannot physically touch, see, or smell. It often sounds absurd that we would believe in God and heaven and hell. But possibly even more absurd is not only believing that God is real…but living like it. To live like God is real and has a purpose for us each day. Now that sounds more like a challenge!
People in the Bible Doubt Too
I’m feeling terrible—I couldn’t feel worse!
Get me on my feet again. You promised, remember?
When I told my story, you responded;
train me well in your deep wisdom.
Help me understand these things inside and out
so I can ponder your miracle wonders.
My sad life’s dilapidated, a falling-down barn;
build me up again by your Word.
Barricade the road that goes Nowhere;
grace me with your clear revelation.
I choose the true road to Somewhere,
I post your road signs at every curve and corner.
I grasp and cling to whatever you tell me;
God, don’t let me down!
I’ll run the course you lay out for me
if you’ll just show me how.
Psalm 119:30-32 MSG
Struggle to Believe is Expected
In our everyday, run-of-the-mill kind of life, there come days when we just can’t see it. We can’t see the purpose through the thick clouds, or find our way through the redwood forest. We don’t know how God is possibly working things together for our good because what we see doesn’t look good in any way, shape, or fashion. To be honest, what we see seems quite the opposite. It’s horrific. Depressing. Downright bad. How could God possibly be involved in it? Ultimately, it is during days like this that the fight to believe gets real.
No more messing around.
It is time to take our faith out for a spin.
I have sat right here a time or two. And most likely, you have as well. A place where discontentment comes lurking as you find yourself choking to catch a breath. You struggle to believe. The bills are stacking high on the kitchen counter or you feel the pain of rejection. And your kids are constantly quarreling. So, you cannot muster the strength to keep going. Besides, you can’t get along with your spouse, or maybe it’s your boss who is giving you fits. Don’t matter what your current predicament is…the truth is that it isn’t fun!
What it Looks Like to Surrender
During times like this, I am confronted with the fact that I have kept a piece of my life off-limits to God. Interestingly, I️ have put up a barrier, telling God, “You can do whatever you want with my life…EXCEPT THAT, of course, would be too much for me.” Foremost, I fail to remember that God has given me everything. The clothes on my back, the roof over my head, and even the children who bear my image.
Consequently, God constructs our lives whether we give him permission or not. He doesn’t wait around for our okay. That is to say, He does as He pleases…and He also does it for our good. If we believe the Bible, we must believe that the heart of our sovereign, unpredictable, powerful, and omniscient God is good. Certainly, He is always good. On the contrary, it is our fight for control that gets us in trouble causing us to struggle to believe. It is the same fight that began long ago with Adam and Eve in the garden. They wanted to do things their way rather than listen to God. Moreover, they wanted to be the ones holding the control button.
Fighting Through Disbelief
We try to manipulate, twist, and turn, and get cozy and comfortable because somewhere deep down within we are afraid of what might happen if we let go. Somewhere deep down we are afraid to say “yes” to God. We are afraid He may send us to Siberia or the uttermost ends of the earth or cause us to take an oath of poverty. We worry He might cause us to get deathly ill, or be scoffed at by others for being a “Jesus freak.” Furthermore, we think that God will do the most terrible things to us. But I have to ask you a question…What are you most afraid of? Are you afraid of being stripped of something? What do you think God will make you do? Do you think you are better than God at making decisions for your life?
When we have a false belief about God, we develop a barrier in our relationship. In other words, it is because what we see with our physical eyes seems more real than an invisible God that we cannot see or touch. We allow things like fear, worry, and doubt to creep in, causing us to lose sight of God. However, God is a God who has laid down His life for us. Most importantly, we must believe that He can be trusted! And even if we have to journey through suffering, we must believe that we will be better because of it.
We must live a life that has more than earth as its focus.
Do you struggle to believe today? What barriers get in your way (for example, doubt, distractions, and disappointment), and why? Finally, what are you holding on to?