Friday, August 20, 2010

Faith and Trudging...

A friend and I were talking about the hard times of Christianity. Sometimes, it's a hard path to be on, that of faith. Sometimes, you want to give up because of the misconception of Christianity today (no pun intended) as being that of rainbows, prosperity, and having whatever you want; that is not true Christianity. What do you do during that struggle? What do you do when you feel as though you're walking waist deep in mud? Well, here is what my friend wrote me.

"This is an interesting topic, and an interesting time to bring it up. And I don't want you to think in any way, shape or form, that I am dismissing you, as I am not, and would not.
We have talked about somethings in my past, how I had gone to college to be a minister, cause that is what I felt God had called me to, and as you pointed out, it might have been to be a youth pastor. Yet I felt that I hadn't lived a life so I could understand. I didn't know much about life, so how could I relate. A big world out there, and yet, I had lived in a small town, after being sheltered in a big town in Ann Arbor. There was also, at the time, my questioning the loneliness of being single, when I wanted so much to be in a relationship. How I would look more for the girl then for God, and that is - in the end - a massive distraction from what we are called to do, and we should do, which is to focus on God.
I felt abandoned at times by God. And it could have been called a trial, it could have been called lack of faith, there are a lot of things I could have been called, but it ultimately led me to question my faith in God. "Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will grant you the desires of your heart" Okay, I did, WHERE ARE THEY?
So, then we need to look at what God wants for our life, verses what we want for our life, and I can guarantee you, they are two different things, most of the time. In fact, I use to stump Campus Crusade kids by asking that if we Delight ourselves in God, and He grants us the desires of our heart, isn't that just God giving us what HE wants us to have, instead of our free will of what WE want to have? And if they are in line, isn't that more brain washing then free will?
I have had my heart CRUSHED by relationships, and it takes time to rebound from them, not because of God's lack of love, but by my, and man's inability to move on and let go. And there are times when pain is the only way you know you are still alive.
Christian music in the Early 80's was all bubblegum stuff, How happy we all are in the Lord, How the Lord shines through our lives, and we have no complaints, and no problems. Well, there is a hurting group out there, who have faith, who have belief, who wonder what happened, and at many times in my life, I have been one of them. From where I would have expected my life to be, to where I would like my life to be, to where my life is. Then I discovered Keith Green, who sang from the heart, not only songs of praise and worship, but also songs of hurt and dismay, saying God, I don't understand, what happened, how did this go astray. Keith made people acknowledge that people hurt while still having faith. I was very sad when God called him home.
But there lays something that follows your comments. People lose heart, and mistake that for faith. And if they do lose the faith, did they have it to begin with? Did they really learn what they bible teaches? So many follow Joel Osteen, Robert Schuller, that Faith is all blue skies and blessings, and it isn't, and never has been. Faith is hard. Faith is work. ESPECIALLY in the times of today. If it wasn't hard, if it wasn't work, and IF IT WASN'T WORTH IT, then Paul wouldn't have been crucified on an upside down cross, and it wouldn't have cost Jesus his life. Paul talked in his writings about trials and tribulations, and so many people try to gloss over that, and you can't. If you do, you short yourself and you short the requirements of faith. Faith is simple with the blessings, but how is faith in the hard times? In the dry times? In the times that makes one wonder, where is God? Does God care? Does God love me? Why is my life falling apart? And trust me, those times are there, and they can be very tough, very rough, and as you can see by the article, they can cause one to just give it up.
How many times, in my own personal life would it have just been easier to say SCREW IT, I'm done. Instead, I say, God I don't understand. I am tired of moving, from going from place to place, not having roots, and talking to people who just don't understand. Why do I keep getting judged by a world that doesn't love you, and family that doesn't understand you, who keeps putting me down, because I have a different path then they do, and they just call me lazy, flaky, irresponsible, and why God, do I care?
The hard times are there, they test your faith, and there are times, God will let the faith be tested, and some of those we pass, and some of those we fail, but the ultimate thing we as believers must always understand and believe, God forgives us for our short comings. God loves us for our short comings, and God wants us to grow, to be trustful of Him, and to grow in Him, and growth hurts at times.
Let God in your heart, believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, that he Died, and thee days later Rose again, and Jesus will always be there, even when it feels that He isn't, HE IS.

Sorry for the ramblings, but I hope they made sense, as I tried to bring some personal insight into it all."
Mark Casey

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