There are times in our lives when we begin to think that God isn’t helping us….or that God isn’t even there. Those times are hard. From an early age I have felt that God was with me….most of the time. Sometimes when I am anxious and I can’t seem to “feel” God with me I am lost. I don’t know what to do. Is everything that I believed a lie? I am cast into a deep dark hole. I am in the “valley of the shadow of death.” I am not just anxious but afraid. My worst fears raise their ugly heads and take hold of me.
When I am like that I can’t pray. I am so far down that prayer won’t come. I am lost. Then I remember that I have a community of faith who pray daily and that their prayers rise like smoke to God and God reaches down to me and helps me. I may not “feel” his presence since feelings ebb and flow but he is there. And somehow I am comforted.
There are definitely times when we can’t pray for ourselves. That’s why we need others who will pray for us.
Doubt can be a scary word. As children we are taught that some things are just true and we accept that. As we grow older we begin to realize that not everything we were taught is true. Our exposure to the world makes us begin asking questions. Some of the truths that held us up are taken away. We find ourselves in a dark place.
Many of us believe that doubt is the opposite of faith but I don’t think that. I think the opposite of faith is disbelief. Doubt is not sinful. It is a nudge to push us forward. It makes us question and by doing so…grow. It makes us search for God and look in places we have not explored.
Don’t be afraid of doubt. Embrace it and look deeper, listen more, learn and grow.
All your life you’ve been getting ready for now. The light is probably dawning on you – what God is calling you to be and do – and you could easily feel overwhelmed. But God is the source of the light, and God is behind the dawning. There will be provision. Go ahead.
-Br. Curtis Almquist
Society of Saint John the Evangelist
sometimes we know deep down in our heart that God is calling us. He may be calling us to something that we really don’t want to do. It does remind me of Moses who certainly had no idea about freeing the people of Israel. Sometimes what he’s calling us to do seems something that we are incapable of. But there is nothing that we cannot do with God. Listen for that voice. Hear God calling. And answer.
He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. 1 Peter 2:24
I can’t imagine what it must have been like. The fear and disbelief of the disciples. The grief of the mother of Jesus. The pain he felt. The effort of dragging the cross. It is all beyond my experience. I don’t know where I would have been in that scene. Would I have believed in him or been part of the angry mob? Where would you be?
I do know that things have been different ever since.
Doubts are the ants in the pants of faith. They keep it awake and moving. Frederick Buechner
Doubt is not the opposite of faith. Doubt is something that keeps us asking questions. It makes us grow. The trouble is that doubt can be uncomfortable. Growth can be painful. Don’t be afraid to question but when you do know that the answers may change you.
Prayer: Infinite God, give us the courage to ask the hard questions and the wisdom to know the answers may not come in our lifetime. Help us to continue to grow in faith and knowledge of you. AMEN
Have you ever felt so far down that you couldn’t see any way out? This is what happens to those who contemplate or choose suicide. Living in this kind of darkness is miserable. Strangely enough many of the mystics have been there. It is called “the dark night of the soul.” This is when you can’t imagine God being with you. You may not be able to pray at all. Your belief in God is shaken to the core.
Even though I have never been so far down as to contemplate suicide I have been in a place where I can understand that suicide feels like a peaceful solution. When we are in this place I have felt one thing that has brought light into the darkness: the prayers of others. If you feel yourself sliding down into darkness send out a plea for help. Ask others to pray. Know that they are praying and those prayers will be your lifeline out of the abyss.
Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects.
If someone asks you for prayer follow through for you may be someones light.
Psalm 22: 1-22
1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning?
2 O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer;
and by night, but find no rest.
This Psalm is used during lent. It is a cry for help. We also cry out to God for help and we don’t always see an answer. It is one of the difficult things that Christians deal with. Why would a God who loves us so leave us to suffer? It seems that either God is not there or not answering. I wish that I had a perfect answer to this problem. I don’t but I do trust that God loves us and wants the best for us. The best may not be what we expected.
I heard about a minister who was dying with a very painful disease. Everyone was praying for him to be spared. It did not happen. What did happen is that the pain stopped and the last days of his life were blessed to be pain free. For this he thanked and praised God.
Sometimes the answer to our prayers is not what we asked but it always is the answer of our loving God.
God of mercy, we know you hear our prayers and love us beyond measure. Help us to not expect to know all the answers. AMEN
No pessimist ever discovered the secrets of the star, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new heave to the human spirit. ————————-Helen Keller
All through the Bible God calls on the most unexpected people to do wondrous things. Usually they start by saying no I can’t but God doesn’t take no for an answer. He knows what we can do and expects us to do it. Never think you are not good enough for what God plans. You CAN do it!.
Expectant God, you have made us and know what we can do. Help us to see that too. AMEN
If God seems far from you who has moved? ————-Suzanne Boyd
God is with us all the time. The problem is that we are not always with God. It is so easy to think that God is not listening to us or doesn’t answer our prayers. We begin to think that maybe God isn’t there at all. In actuality, God has not moved at all. We are the ones who have stepped away.
Patient God, we often stop paying attention and feel distant from you. Remind us that we are the ones who moved. AMEN
Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple. ———-Dr. Seuss
Sometimes we want to intellectualize our faith. We continue to ask question that have no logical answers. Questions that can’t be proved or disproved. We need to sit in silence and listen for God. God could answer all those questions but he knows we don’t need to know. We just need to trust in him.
All knowing God, we always want to be able to prove things and have understandable answers. Help us to trust that you know best. AMEN