Friday, October 14, 2016
The Faith Struggle
I have struggled with this post for some time now. It's not an easy topic for me to talk about and it's not a subject that most people openly talk about. That topic is faith, but more specifically struggling with faith.
Since I was born I have gone to Sunday school and church and spent time doing different volunteer projects for the church. My mom was a Sunday school teacher so she made my brother and I memorize a lot of scripture, but I never minded. Never while I was younger did I question God or my belief in him. I was a straight-laced, conservative student who kept my nose in the books and out of trouble. While some kids were out experimenting with substances, relationships, or whatever I was the 'good girl.' I wandered a bit from what I believed at the end of high school but when I wound up totally broken and full of hurt I found forgiveness and grace in the arms of Jesus.
When I moved away to college I found a church to attend and again stayed away from the typical college lifestyle. I surrounded myself with people who shared my beliefs and supported me. Everything changed when I graduated college and moved back to my hometown. Suddenly the very life I had built for myself ceased to exist and I was struggling to find my way.
Shortly after moving home I had to have surgery, but the surgery triggered a lupus flare and I wound up in the hospital for a week and spent even more time out of the hospital recovering. The difficulties didn't end there. My dad's fibromyalgia became so severe he was frequently in the ER just so they could give him some strong pain meds that are not commercially available. Doctors didn't (and still don't) have answers or solutions. Someone I loved hurt me in the worst way and I was devastated. I didn't get the dream job, in fact I couldn't get a job at all, or at least one where I could afford to have a place to live and eat regularly. More fibromyalgia flares. An emergency surgery. What started off as an IT band injury but ended up being a lupus flare that left me in bed for a week. My faith began to crumble.
I tried to remain strong but a person can only take so much before they begin to break. Bible verses I memorized as a child would (and still do) float through my head like Romans 8:28, "And we know God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them."
Don't misunderstand me I still believe in God. I believe he created the world and is in control, but I have so many questions and for the past couple months doubts. My dad has suffered for years with fibromyalgia and God could heal him, but he doesn't. Why? Why must he continue to suffer? Does God not see the hurt and pain my dad suffers on a daily basis and the pain that my family endures because of his fibromyalgia? God could heal me and lift the burden that lupus is. I can't tell you how many times I have woken up sobbing or laid in bed crying because the pain has been so excruciating. God could heal me but he doesn't. God could have provided a good job for me, but he hasn't. He could have prevented the flare I'm enduring right now. I just don't understand.
I don't understand how God who is supposedly good can let people suffer. Now do I think that my family or I are better than anyone else and should therefore be healed before others? Absolutely not. I just don't understand how God who professes to be good, loving, all powerful and above all can let people endure such suffering. I'm not asking for a perfect life because there is no such thing as perfect, but some relief would be nice. Last week someone told me that they were praying for me in a specific situation and I told them that their prayers were not working because I was still suffering, to which they replied, 'It's all in God's timing.' I get that life isn't about instant gratification, but a person can only be broken so much before they cannot bear the load anymore. I reached that breaking point awhile ago.
Some of my fundamental beliefs are rooted in God and the bible and those have not changed. Those views and beliefs are too ingrained in the fiber of my being, but there are some things I have begun to question. I still read my bible, I still go to church, I still believe in God, but I feel abandoned by God. Where was he when I was laying on the floor by the toilet for two and a half days straight this week because I couldn't keep food down? Where was he when I cried in the middle of the night for nights on end because the pain was so excruciating? Where was he when I didn't have the strength to get out of bed? I felt no comfort, no peace, nothing. Just pain and loneliness.
These are the things I have been wrestling with lately. I don't know where I will end up. I would like to say there is a light at the end of this very long, very dark tunnel but I don't know that. Maybe something will reignite my love of God and cause those passion flames to burn again but I just don't know that. The hurt and pain run too deep right now. It something that I am going to continue to wrestle with because I want to and need to figure it out for myself. It's not easy to take a step back from everything you have ever believed in and reevaluate it all.
If you have struggled with your faith please let me know. Comment or email me and share with me what you did and how you got through it, or if you're still struggling share with me what brought you to that place. My only hope is that something good can come of this wandering.
Posted by Rachael Miner