Last week , we wrote how we viewed Jesus in the past versus how we viewed Him in the present. I wrote for the past column that I saw Him simply as just the best option. I was too afraid to not believe in anything, but everything else was a little too far out there and I for sure didn’t want to take any chances with hell, so I chose that. Later that week at the school, a friend told his testimony in our classes and allllllllll the kiddos asked their questions like they usually do. The hard questions. The ones that make you ponder existence. The ones that we all just thought they spent way too long thinking about. The questions that, for the first time, I was asking too. In fact, I was making a list as he talked of more questions to go along with those. Before I knew it, I was sitting in an ocean of doubt. I sat by my friend on the bus home and tried to ask my questions, but I couldn’t seem to get my words organized or my point across. I’ve never been good at explaining things in spoken words and when I can tell that the other person isn’t understanding, frustration takes over. I began writing things down instead until he understood better and went on to answer my questions. Upon realizing just how many I had, I started to see how big of a role doubt had been playing in my life. I didn’t know exactly where it was coming from, but I knew one thing for sure, that I wanted my faith to no longer be the best option, but rather the only one. He encouraged me to keep going and keep asking my questions as they came up. He reminded me that doubt is for real and it´s not talked about enough because we´re all a little afraid of the reactions we might get. He told me that he looked at my journey and spoke that this was going to be the first time I would make my faith my own.
The night before, we had sat in prayer for someone that all along was ourselves, but we didn’t know. We were given pieces of paper with names on them that we weren´t allowed to look at as we prayed for that person. (All along, it was our own name · good one…good one.) Mine was the visual of waves and a variety of things about not getting overwhelmed when they come. In a weird way, this was a comforting visual considering the one that I had been getting was of me on the shore. So, for me, I took it as confirmation that I had taken the leap of faith, but now I was about to get hit. Waves of hardship or waves of joy, I didn’t know, but it was going to be a lot. Could it be that it was going to be waves of questions as I go on this journey to finally answer the question, “Who do you say I am?”
Petrified. I wanted to ask my questions because I knew if I didn’t, they would turn quickly to destructive doubt. What if I overwhelmed people with all the things I wanted to know? What if I just get frustrated because through speaking, I couldn’t make them understand? What if they don’t have the answers so they just give up on me? I’m not ready to give up yet. For the first time, I no longer harbor the fear of the unknown. It feels like since I decided to run after Jesus when I was 8 years old, God and I have been on a blind date. A type of thing where, it’s totally possible to be intimate, but it’s just awkward, because you don’t really know the person, am I right? I came here trying to jump from square 1 to maturity so I jumped a lot of little boxes that were not as insignificant as they seemed. What if because of this, I didn’t know God they way I thought I did, if at all? So in a way, it all feels like taking a step back, but in the reality of it all, asking questions might really be a step forward.
I thought of all my questions as vices that the devil used to make me skeptical of my God. I didn’t want anything to do with Satan so I would push away my questions and soon my life became “Don’t ask, just believe and move on.” The times that I did ask, I thought I could take from 100 different people answers to 100 different questions and put them all together to make someone with a brand new combination of answers and call it my own faith.
I have no faith of my own, but my questions are valid. I want to be set apart and I want to know my God. I could quit, but if I did so, where would I go? Back? There is no room for home for the living in the land of the dead. So we are living and what is it that we have? I am a Christian sitting in a room with 10 other people. They are modestly dressed. They are selfless and want to do good in the world. They do not drink or do drugs. They are not Christians. What sets me apart? Yes, I have the post-life reward of going to Heaven and I don’t mean to downplay the beauty of eternal life, but is that simply all there is? We live the same lives of washing feet out of love and then in 70 to 80 years, I get to go to a good place and they go to a bad one? How can I go on being sure that there is nothing different for me in this vapor of a life all the while believing that I have things within me that they do not?
Who am I to doubt the goodness of the One who first washed my feet? Is it not testament enough to who I am in the insecurity that covers me as I serve alongside people and wonder what it is they are missing? The desire that overcomes me to share with them what it is that I have? A joy that is deeper than happiness, a peace that surpasses all understanding, and a purpose to the goodness that goes beyond the desire to simply be a servant because it is good.
Matthew 6:21. Where my treasure is, there my heart shall be also. If by faith, I store my treasure in Heaven, my heart too shall be there. Luke 6:45. We have the spirit in our hearts and out of the heart, the mouth speaks. I am set apart because I can´t not speak of Him. I wash feet out of love alongside other people, but I cannot keep quiet about what is working within me. The goodness overflowing from my heart out of my mouth, I will not be silent. The spirit leading me always, I will not be still. The strength within me, I will not be shaken.
There is doubt, but the truth is, He´s here. And maybe that´s scary. Maybe it´s scary to think about what fully believing in His presence means for us. For some of us, it means that we have to get really uncomfortable and give up things that give us security because we would rather give Him the space. For others, it means living in the midst of the stones being thrown and the persecution that never seems to end. For others still, it means choosing faith over the things that make sense and recklessly abandoning the logic to jump into something uncertain. It means we´re driven by fear.
1 John 4:18. His perfect love casts out fear. He loves us in ways that can´t be put into words and He wants us. This jealous God looks at us and wants all of us. When we love Him, we become new creations. We become co·heirs taking hold of our inheritance and running with it. We become people who see the world the way Jesus saw it, our hearts broken for what broke his.
I have faith today, but I do not know if I will have faith tomorrow. I don´t know if it will cost me. He is there, nonetheless. He takes pride in my sea of questions because He never stops pursuing me. The magnitude of His love is not dependent on the strength my faith. What will happen if I begin to doubt my doubts? What will happen if I begin to believe that faith the size of mustard seeds can truly move mountains? What will this piece of clay be molded into with the surrender of pride in exchange for the smallest bit of faith?
To the fullest.