We sing about it.
We talk about it.
We pray about it.
We throw it around as if it was somehow easy to have or easy to grasp.
We tell people they need to have faith.
We tell others they need to keep the faith.
Or maybe we ask them, Where’s your faith?
We describe faith as pure. Or simple. Maybe basic. Or even elementary.
And sometimes we describe those who might be struggling as losing or having already lost their faith.
Believe me, I know.
I have been accused of not having enough faith.
I have been pigeonholed as one who has lost his faith.
I have heard how he’s (that’s me) lost his way, bless, his heart.
Or better yet, what kind of a preacher gets mad at God?
As it turns out, this kind.
And the truth is? My faith has suffered some hard, hard days.
Try having your family ripped asunder.
Try seeing your whole world unglued.
Try losing a whole circle of friends.
I bet you’d also find it hard to sing about having an awesome God…
Not that He isn’t. Not at all.
But when people are hurting and wanting answers, it’s not a simple matter of just having faith.
I never once stopped believing in God.
But if you reframe the question, then I had trouble seeing his goodness. I had a difficult time finding His mercy. I struggle even now with seeing His purpose for my life. Lots of things are still topsy turvy upside down. With no end in sight.
Still want me to have faith that everything is going to work out alright?
Let’s be real. Somethings will never be made right. Not on this side of eternity.
But in a funny way, I have found strong hope in the strangest place.
My hope is wrapped up in faith.
A faith I wrestle with.
A faith that has left me without near enough answers to satisfy my anger, fear, and frustration.
You see, I think we have the concept of faith all messed up. We see faith as something concrete, fixed, unmovable. But that’s not necessarily true.
The very idea of having faith means also having doubts, fears, worries, and questions to go along with it. Without those things, faith wouldn’t really be faith, would it?
Honest and pure faith is full of unanswered questions. It is a wrestling with God and the answers we crave.
I confess: I don’t always understand. But my hope is in a God of faith who recognizes the validity of struggle, who acknowledges the doubt, who understands the heart behind the questions, and who helps me take a step forward, even when it seems so counterintuitive to do so…
And sometimes it seems like the last thing we ought to hold on to.
But it gives me hope.
And I am glad.
Les Ferguson, Jr.