The eight years we lived in Chicago can best be described as a desert season in my life. Yes, there were definitely times we rejoiced in the occasional “oasis” that we would encounter. But as a whole, it was a whole lot of hard. In that extended season of hard, I experienced a lot of anger, causing me to question and doubt. What was it that I really believed?
Even now, while I am in a season of adventure, I have had to wrestle with questions. Mainly, “Are you really for me, God? Are you going to teach me yet another lesson? Can I trust you?”
Please know, I am no “super Christian.” I mess up, big time. I struggle, big time. In fact, I find it difficult to trust “Super Christians.” The ones who chirp, God is good all the time, and all the time God is good. Now, I know that I do not know their heart. Perhaps they truly do feel that way. Perhaps I come across that way! However, if someone has not struggled with their faith, then is it really their own?
Someone who struggles with their faith, making it their own, cries out…
Why do bad things happen? Why is my life so hard? Will I always struggle? When will this anxiety and depression go away? What good could ever come from this?
Lord, HELP ME! Don’t you care? Are you even there? Is this a waste of time?
These are the questions and doubts all of us have come face to face with. And the enemy would love nothing more to dump a big ol’ heap of shame and despair on top of that. But… God can handle our questions, and God is not offended by our doubt. He honors our honesty, and because He wants nothing more than all of our hearts, He will meet us where we are.
Even if that means we are living in one gigantic mess of how-can-God-ever-forgive-this sin.
Even if that means we are living a life so full of abuse and neglect, we cannot even imagine how we can ever trust another human being again.
Asking questions is a sign of humility. It’s admitting we don’t have the answer. Even if it is done in anger. Anger and hate are not the opposite of love. Indifference is. There is no shame in calling out to the Lord with our hurt, anger, questions, or doubt. This is what leads us to a place of surrender.
O Lord, how long will you forget me? Forever? How long will you look the other way? How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul, with sorrow in my heart every day? Psalm 13:1-2
The journey to surrender is a difficult battle. We want to keep fighting. Fighting for hope. Fighting for happiness. We want our life to be better, easier. But because we resist the surrender, it gets even harder before we finally submit. It seems easier to keep trying to do all the right stuff. Honestly, though, this is prideful. We are trying to provide our own salvation. There are not enough self-help books in all the world to bring us the peace that comes from Christ.
Surrendering is the final release of our pride. It is our embracement of humility. It is by our walk from pride to humility that we are able to receive and experience redemption. There is nothing we can do to earn favor from God. His favor is freely given. We need only to receive it.
After we surrender, we begin to practice our own faith. Not the faith of our parents, or our friends, or our church. Faith is when we choose to believe God is good even when we don’t feel IT. IT being the warm fuzzies we experience. IT is when we feel so in love with the Lord, that nothing will shake our belief. Sometimes, however, we don’t feel IT. We are too worn down. Too tired. Too beaten up. And all we can do is surrender. In a moment of surrender, our prayer may simply be to lie in a heap on the floor. Imagining in that moment, we are lying in the palm of His hand, being held in his embrace.
I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. Isaiah 41:10
Once we reach the moment of surrender, once we are in His hand, we may find ourselves still asking the questions. But now the position of our hearts has changed. We have a new perspective. Now the questions are…
What do You want me to do with this bad thing that happened? Will you please comfort me in this hard season? Will You show me Your goodness in this struggle?
But I trust in your unfailing love. I will rejoice because you have rescued me.
I will sing to the Lord because he is good to me. Psalm 13:5-6
No, God is not offended by our doubts. He will meet us in the middle of them, and show us His truth.
Rachael Smith was a member of Valley View until she and her husband moved to Chicago in 2003. She is an author, a speaker, and the Founder and Executive Director of the nonprofit ministry, Oh Lord Help Us. This ministry believes everyone is uniquely created with value, and designed to live with purpose, believing that circumstances do not determine our future. Instead, we are defined by our redemption. It is the belief in our true identity that motivates this ministry. They mentor the woman who feels broken and messy; who feels she doesn't belong; who feels unsure; and help her find the freedom to be who she is created to be.
Connect Through Fellowship
Our next Hearts and Homes will be Tuesday, October 2, at 10:30am at the home of Lisa Workman, 13801 Medora Road (40272).
Hearts and Homes is a time where women in all seasons of life gather to share life and a meal together. Each lady brings her favorite finger food, appetizer or dessert and the hostess opens her home and provides drinks and paper products. We spend time in sweet fellowship and have a short devotion and prayer. If you are interested in hosting Hearts and Homes, contact Shannon Hampshire or Vickie Keene. You choose the day and time that best fits your schedule and we'll send out the invitation.
Connect Through Study
Living Life Together is so important because others help us fulfill our purpose, grow in our faith, and serve others every day.
A new Art of Marriage class began on September 30. The class deals with the topic of improving communication in your marriage. It is a six-week study in which couples will learn about barriers to strong communication, making their relationship a priority, and encouraging each other through trials. It meets on Sundays at 9:30am. For more information, contact John & Pam Majors at email@example.com
Fit for My King
Fit for My King-Women’s Health and Wholeness Ministry promotes whole-person health and healing— body, mind and spirit within a faith community. Our God desires for His beloved daughters to experience good health, and for their souls to soar.
Let us come alongside one another and help each other get healthy - physically, mentally, and spiritually. We will nourish our souls and renew our minds while learning to care for our bodies (God’s temple). We can, and will, become the best versions of ourselves as we commit to our King.
Come join us weekly for exercise, encouragement and fellowship. Fit for My King-Women’s Health and Wholeness Ministry is ongoing and meets on Tuesdays at 10:00am in Room 206.