It happens. There is really not a good reason often, but it does. We stop believing. No one is immune - not even pastors. Sometimes it even comes on the heals of great reasons to believe... like today. Over the weekend I participated in 3 great training events and 1 really good day of worship with New City Church. The training was excellent and pointed out all of the reasons there are for belief and confidence in God and His promises. Everyone who participated had very positive feedback and talked about how positive the training was and what a difference it would make in their spiritual life. I can see how it is already impacting our Missional Community Leaders at New City - great stuff! Excellent gospel-centered training and reminders Friday, Friday night, Saturday, Sunday, and Sunday afternoon - evidences of God's grace toward me and toward New City Church... then it happens... all of the circumstances of life begin crashing in around you - the gripes and complaints of a church member find there way to my ears, the crushing weight of church finances settles on my shoulders, the deep distance that still remains between where we are and where we need to be becomes evident once more - a night of tossing and turning becomes a morning of despair and worry.
I remind myself of the promises of Scripture, promises we have been talking about for 3 days and afternoons straight - promises of provision - promises of love - promises of belonging - promises of security - promises that no matter what the circumstances I am a loved son of the King and in Him I have all that I need, and this King, my Father loves me dearly - He protects me and provides for me. I know the promise that even in struggles He is working all things together for good. I know that there is no need too great for Him, no obstacle that He cannot overcome... I KNOW these promise
But today, I don't believe them...
It isn't the first time. In fact if I am honest (and clearly that is what I am going for here), it happens somewhat regularly - on varying levels. Sometimes the disbelief is fleeting and quickly replaced with faith. Other times the disbelief nags for days. If you are honest, it happens to you as well.
So what do we do when it happens? What am I doing today to move from this disbelief and despair to again believe and hope? I am doing what I do every other time this happens!
- I am reminding myself again and again of those promises that I am not believing today and reading them in His Word, I am His. This church is His. These people are His. He is my Father who loves me. He will meet all of my needs and our needs. and then some
- I am praying. My prayers are simple today, as they were last night. And maybe they are even self-centered. But if I am a child of God's then certainly I can come as a child - right? needy, wanting... "Father, you know we need _____________________ and you can give it. PLEASE do. I can't do this." "God, I don't know what else do do with __________________. HELP ME." "You say that you will do these things, God, do them. Please don't wait any longer." "I don't believe, Jesus, help me believe."
- I am asking others to pray for me. I am thankful for people who love me. They are a gift. God has given me many who love me and care for me - His grace. And if prayer may somehow move God, then I want as much help with that as I can get.
- I am forcing myself to remember - to remember what I have seen. God has always been faithful and I have seen it. I have seen answered prayers, supernatural provision, broken things fixed... I have a life filled with those things - so I am reminding myself not only of His promises, but of His goodness to me and my family and his church.
If we are honest, we have all been in this place - the place where we know but don't really trust. We are in good company, I suppose - Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, Solomon, Gideon, the disciples... all doubted - for a moment - for days - in big things - in small things. I know that God is faithful and I know that this moment of doubt and despair will soon pass... because He is good. But for now, I pray, ask for help, and reflect on all that He has done.
Call upon Me in you day of trouble, and I will rescue you, and you will glorify me. Psalm 50:15