Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me! Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?"
Matthew 14:30-32 (NIV)
My good friend Sunnie has a new blog. Besides being a wonderful friend, Sunnie is also the children's minister at our church. She does an amazing job. When I read her last blog entry, it got me thinking about faith in general and MY faith in particular. I thought I would share with you a little of what came to mind.
Hopefully, I won't shock any of you with this revelation, but I have never been great at blind faith. There are times when I have questions, times when I have doubts, and times when I wonder if what I believe is all just a figment of my imagination. There have been entire seasons of my life when I have felt distant from God and have found myself just "going through the motions" in regard to my faith.
The time I struggled the most was while we were living in England. I had just spent a really difficult year in the ministry (just out of college) and was incredibly disillusioned with the church and with Christians in general. I was doubting myself, my abilities, my purpose in life, and I guess I was doubting God as well. I don't know if I realized it at the time, but I started falling into a depression during that year of ministry and spiraled further down the following year while living in England. If ever I had a crisis of faith, it was then. Rich was at school working on his Masters Degree. I was alone A LOT. I went from working 60+ hours in ministry each week to not working at all in a foreign country where I knew no one and where no one knew me. Most days, it was just God and I. I had successfully run away from the difficult situation, but I really couldn't run away from Him. We had some talks, He and I. Mostly one-sided ones where I was crying out to Him. And He listened. He showed me some things in the beauty of the countryside, in the lofty cathedrals, in the liturgy of the church, and in the silence of my loneliness. He taught me that I had been putting my faith in people (Christians) and not in Him. He taught me that my worth was not found in other people's opinions of me...or even my own, but in His and His ALONE. It was a healing time for me, a learning time for me, a growing up time for me, and a faith restoring time for me.
I wish I could say that was my last "crisis" of faith, and that since then I've been a pillar of faithfulness. Not so. Yet still, my God is infinitely patient with me in the process. And when I start to have doubts, he lovingly throws me a lifeline, a little something to keep me afloat. Maybe in the form of a thirst quenching worship service, a relevant scripture, the testimony of a stranger, an answered prayer, a glimpse of his amazing creation, even a MIRACLE or two, until once again my sickly faith has been renewed.