I can’t quite remember when this current season of doubt starting creeping into my heart and mind, but I can remember the day that I realized its presence full-on.
It had been a day like any other. I spent my day at work, and came home to my sweet kiddos. I ate dinner, bathed some babies, tucked them into bed, and hopped onto Facebook for my nightly cool-down scroll.
Stopped scrolling. Stared.
“Jake! You are not going to believe this.”
I pulled him over to the screen, and we both stood there, shocked. One of our friends (acquaintances, really) from college had died. He left a wife, 2 small children, and a baby in his wifey’s womb that he had not yet known about.
I was devastated.
People die. I understand this. I shouldn’t be surprised at death.
But something about his death, and about the timing, and the little children, and the all-of-a-suddenness-of-it made me angry.
I cried for his wife and his small children. I cried for the one who would never know his daddy. Sometime during that session of tears, I turned my heart towards God and felt anger bubbling below the surface.
It was not too long after that that the questions began to come. First slowly.
- Why was this the best time for this man to die?
- Did God cause this to happen? Or did He just allow this to happen?
- Could God have stopped this if He wanted to? And since He didn’t, did He just not want to?
- What about the problem of evil in the world anyway?
These few questions started an avalanche. As the days went on, the questions continued rushing out:
- The Old Testament- what’s up with that? How crazy does God sound?
- This origin of life stuff- how could the plants be made before the sun? If this isn’t true, what else isn’t true?
- Do I have to ignore science to be a Christ-follower?
- Why do some people spend their whole lives doing the wrong thing and never feel the so-called “discipline of God”?
- Why do we always talk about how “blessed” we are? Is God the giver of all of our so-called “blessings”? Why are some people “blessed” while other people live in desperation?
- And why in the world did we even go to Kenya, anyway? We followed what we thought was Your voice, and it ended up seeming purposeless. We spent a lot of money on something that seemed like the wrong route.
- Why can’t I find a church to serve in that will embrace my gifts? Why was I made with these desires to dream and lead and teach and administrate … and then made to be a woman? Don’t you know, God, that women can’t do all of these things?? Why would you put these passions in someone’s heart, only to say they can’t use them?
- Can I even trust the voice I think is Yours?
- Can I trust You?
- Are you even real?
Mostly, one question led to another question and for the first time in a long time, I allowed them to come. In the past I would have made a spreadsheet of all of these questions and then searched out suitable answers, systematically, one after another.
But not this time. I would sit with those questions day after day, week after week. I prayed– nothing. I read the Bible– the words just sat on the page. I prayed more- still nothing.
I felt like as much as I tried, I couldn’t connect with God. The avalanche of questions stood like a giant pile of rocks between me and God. I couldn’t move them. I felt like God was choosing not to move them. So we both just sat, staring at the mass of boulders.