In a time when real people are facing very real problems, it seems trivial and silly to write posts about faith and hope and your walk with Jesus.
How can you think about your walk with God when your world is turning upside down?
When you’ve lost your job and don’t know where your income will come from.
When your marriage is falling apart and your spouse has abandoned you.
When your loved ones are sick and lying in a hospital and the future seems so uncertain.
When your life is so full of fear and worry and panic and anxiety and everything right now is just hard, a question like, “How is your walk with God” doesn’t seem that important and it may be the last thing that you want to give thought to.
I get it. I understand how simple and pithy even this website and the messages I share can seem in light of the things many people are facing on a daily basis. The last thing I want to do is sugarcoat an experience with God and make it seem like we need to just ignore all those troubling thoughts and just try to be happy.
One message I never want to send is that walking with God means choosing not to pay attention to the bad things and just focusing on the good in life.
Because the reality is that sometimes life just sucks. Sometimes there’s just not much good at all. And in those moments, we need to understand that it’s okay to weep. It’s okay to mourn. It’s okay to lament. It’s okay to not be okay.
That’s part of an authentic faith.
A walk with God doesn’t mean we are cheery and positive all the time, or that things won’t go wrong, or that God just wants us to “have faith, my child” and not ever stress about things.
I think God hears our stressful cries and sees our struggles and watches our moments of exasperation and He sympathizes when we say in frustration that we just can’t deal with it anymore.
I’m reminded of the moment when Jesus was on the boat with his disciples, sleeping peacefully, minding his own business. A fierce storm blew in and the boat was being tossed around on the waves. His disciples were scared. They thought they were going to be knocked overboard or be capsized and meet their death in the violent water.
They had every reason to be scared, didn’t they? The waves were terrifying to them. To them, it seemed like their world was about to crash down. And in their fear, what did they do?
They ran to Jesus, woke Him up, and asked for His help.
The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”Matthew 8:25 NLT
Jesus calmly arose, took note of the wind and the waves, and responded to their panicked request.
But consider what He said to them: “Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?”
Jesus rebuked His followers for their fear, and He made it clear that the opposite of fear is faith. And faith is what needed to have prompted them to turn to Him. Not fear.
Fear causes us to look at our situation and say, “I’m scared. It’s falling apart. This is terrible. My world is crashing and I can’t handle this. I don’t know what to do.“
But faith causes us to instead say, “I’m scared. It’s falling apart. Things are terrible right now. My world is crashing and I, myself, am unable to handle this. But God knows what to do.”
Do you see the difference? You see, I don’t think it was really the fear that Jesus was rebuking His disciples for. Fear is a natural human reaction. I think it was actually the fact that they had allowed fear to provoke them; that it was fear that had motivated them to run to Him, rather than faith.
It’s okay to be fearful, as long as our fear is responded to with faith. As long as we are able to say, “I am afraid. But I will turn to Jesus, because I have faith in Him.”
That doesn’t seem so pithy and trivial after all, does it?
God knows what people are going through right now. He knows what your current reality is. And He has a love for you in this situation that you may not even be able to fathom.
It’s okay to be scared. It’s okay to be frustrated or worried or to have a little bit of panic. But let those things prompt a new level of faith in God in your heart.
It’s that kind of faith that Jesus is going to respond to.