#realtalk Crisis of Faith
The series we are going to be in the next few weeks is #realtalk, and we are going to be discussing the moments when God becomes most real to us. I have been thinking and writing for about a week about my first real encounter with God, and the word that kept coming back to me was crisis. It’s interesting to think that God would come with crisis. However, there are several examples in the Bible that show God uses many moments of crisis to reach someone. I know that he used a moment in my life when I was in extreme crises to change my look on everything. Job is one of my favorite figures in the Bible and God used incredible moments of crisis to help them on his journey. I had an entire plan to write about those things but another thought kept working its way into my mind. “There is a crisis of faith in the world, but it doesn’t have to do with non-Christians.” I don’t know where from or why that has come into play, but I do know I need to write about it.
First, I think I should talk about my moment of crisis. There might be a few people who can relate a little bit to my story. Like many Christians, I grew up surrounded by faith. My father spent 13 years in the ministry. He held positions as a senior pastor, associate pastor, youth minister, and music minister. His knowledge and natural ability to teach the word of God is extraordinary. My mother is also a dedicated Christian, volunteering her time with the church in the music, youth, and children’s ministry. So naturally my two older brothers and I were heavily involved with the church. From the outside I looked like the happiest kid in the world, in fact my mother would call me her “grinner.” No one, not one single person had any idea the world of pain I was actually living in. Not even I fully knew how much pain I was in. I appeared to have many friends in my life, but the truth is I did not. I had no friends to speak of. One day a boy who lived in my neighborhood became my friend. I was nine at the time, interestingly enough that spring I had decided to give my life over to Christ. The problem is, I had a secret. That “friend” was molesting me. I was being tortured inside. I knew what he was doing was wrong but I didn’t want to lose my only friend. He eventually stopped being my friend anyway, and I never told anyone. That is the moment I started suffering from depression. I also began lying to anyone and everyone who would listen, because I had been lying to myself about what happened. It actually just feels like a really bad dream, almost like it never happened. That was my original disconnect from God. See, God wants an extremely personal relationship with us. In order to have that type of relationship we first must be truly honest with Him, and with ourselves. It wasn’t until a few years ago I finally became honest with myself. This brings me to my moment of crisis. It was a cold November night, and I had completely imploded over the 3 to 4 months before that. I hated everything about my life and truly felt that I had no hope. I had acquired a pistol sometime before this night but I decided that I was done that night. I drove to a park with every intention on ending my life. God, however, had different plans for me that night. A friend reached out to me that night, she had seen that I was in tremendous pain, I told her what I was doing and she talked me down that night. The next day I admitted myself into the hospital to get treatment. During that time, I had a chance to sit with a Methodist minister, and he finally got me to admit what was driving me down this road. He was the first one to really get me to talk about what happened almost 20 years prior to then. That night I was still very emotional, and I couldn’t sleep. I decided to get my Bible and take it and read. I read the passage about God’s response when Job question God’s will.
Job 38:1-3 (NLT) says, “Then the Lord answered Job from the whirlwind: Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorant words? Brace yourself like a man, because I have some question for you, and you must answer them.”
See in that very moment I truly had started to question God, I had truly began to wonder why something like that would happen. His response to me was very simple, to remind me that no matter how big and strong or smart I had become that I still needed Him. I had been carrying around that burden for so long that it was like a heavy stone resting on my back. In that moment I dropped to my knees, tears streaming down my face, and finally gave EVERYTHING to Him. All my pain, fear and anger just came pouring out of me. Now here is where God immediately changed me. Hospitals are frigidly cold and I was shivering when I finally confessed to God. I became very weak and just fell to the tile floor, but something was happening to me. I was warming up. It felt as though someone was laying the warmest blanket on my body. I could feel something moving in my heart. I felt lighter as though I had gained so much strength. I believe that God was filling me with his strength. I had finally earned this gift for my obedience. I couldn’t sleep and I felt that I needed to read more. Then I came across a verse that I already had memorized…
Psalms 116:1-2 (NLT)
I love the Lord for he hears my voice and my prayer for mercy.
Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath.
In my moment of crisis God changed me. Ever since then I have been looking for deeper truth in his word. You could say I am desperate to know more. Now I still make mistakes but I know that through those mistakes will be his lessons that he needs me to learn.
Since that time I have been, what some would say, hypervigilant about my faith. I am extremely protective of the truth. With my first real encounter with God came a new pair of eyes. I look at things differently than ever before. I am more aware and am more afraid of “friends” than enemies. That is where the phrase, “There is a crisis of faith in the world, and it has more to do with Christians than non-Christians” comes from. I began my search for the resolution to that thought with a harsh look at the enemy, SATAN. Like many people I envisioned an obvious enemy, but that is not the truth. All Christians must remember that first and foremost, what was Satan before he fell? He was an archangel, a general in Gods army. He isn’t the horn having, red skinned, pitch fork wielding enemy we have been taught. He is beautiful, that is why he is able to enter into our minds and hearts so easily. His words make sense, he knows more about God than any man or woman (except for Jesus) who has ever lived. For many of us he begins to ensnare our minds and hearts before we know it is happening. The Christian faith is under attack, make no mistake about it. However, the enemy is coming from outside. He is coming from within. Satan knows that we would easily recognize him as the enemy if he wore a scary face. That is why he comes as an ally or “friend”. He offers easy roads and solutions to our problems. At first they even seem like they are perfect. The problem is we don’t see the hole he is driving us towards, until it is too late. There are great Christian leaders who are speaking more out of fear instead of hope. More of hate than of love. This is the exact opposite of God’s desires for our lives. Fear and hate is the house built by the enemy. I know this isn’t exactly what many of those who read this will want to hear. But like I said earlier it is the truth. We cannot allow for our actions and words to be dictated by those emotions. In the new movie God’s Not Dead: A light in the darkness, there is a scene in which a young lady speaks to Pastor Dave and says: “The whole world knows what the church is against, but it’s getting harder and harder to tell what the church is for.”
I honestly felt like God was reaching out to me with that. He has called on me to start leading and begging for truth. I want to be very clear about this section, I am not saying all pastors and leaders of Christians are not speaking on truth. The vast majority are, but the time is now for them and for the rest of us to start showing the world the truth about Jesus Christ. We need to start standing up and calling out false leaders, and hypocrites just like Christ did with the Pharisees. Christ never kept quiet when he saw them acting outside of Gods will. We must do the same.
With that harsh reality though, God has brought me so much hope for the future. Cause as the song says, “For I know, my redeemer lives.” Christ is alive which means we can defeat the enemy. It will take all of us. It is said in Philippians 4:13 (NLT) “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” With Christ’s resurrection, he defeated Satan’s grip, and now we have the responsibility to finish the fight. I know there are so many people going through struggles, and pain, and loss. I will hope to pass along this thought. That it is okay that you are still broken, it means God is still shaping you. Out of great crisis comes incredible joy. I am a testament to that. As you go about your days, challenge yourself to keep pushing towards the difficulties in your life. Whatever they may be, you can defeat them with God’s help. And I promise when you pass by those dark times, you will thank God for them. Out of those moments came Gods ultimate weapon, YOU!!!!!!!!!!!
Be well and keep Gods love and joy in your heart.