The Ugly Side of Faith: When Endurance Feels Like an Impossible Task

Published on 16 January 2024 at 13:49

To the woman who cried out to God but felt like he refused to answer, I'm glad you're here.

To the woman who fasted and prayed only to watch Satan's plan unfold before her eyes, I'm glad you're here. 

To the woman who has built her life on the firm foundation but feels it's not enough for THIS storm, I'm glad you're here. 

To the woman who loves God with all her heart, mind, and soul, but has doubted, I'm glad you're here. 


There are storms that rock our boats amongst the waves, and while we lose our footing for a brief moment, we regain control with some ease and forge ahead. Then, there are the storms that are so gut wrenchingly turbulent, they send you collapsing to the floor, unable to breathe. You're flailing and gasping for a single breath so that you might be able to utter one helpless "Why, God?" before sinking. You continue downward, and downward, and downward, until reason tells you there is no possible way to go but up, but the disorientation of the hurt has you spinning so that you don't even know which way up is or what it looks like.


But you are a Christian woman, and you know you have built a life on a firm foundation, a cornerstone that will uphold you through all things.

Only, you feel no confidence or hope. 

You feel anger. You feel betrayal. You feel rejected. You feel like screaming "This is unfair God! I did nothing to deserve this, and so why am I responsible for clawing myself out of a hole that a storm out of my control threw me into?".

Then, the lamentation floods. You keep screaming to God, "Where even are you? The seas were calm and smooth sailing, and I could even see the glimmering horizon ahead, and as I prayed for deliverance to that sweet horizon, you said no.".

As a wise sister of mine put it so honestly, "Rejection is hard to take from the One who could have said 'yes'."


But I am a Christian woman, and I know I have built a life on a firm foundation, a cornerstone that will uphold me through all things.

So I read Jeremiah 29:11 where you declare, God, that you know the plans you have for me, plans for welfare and not evil. To give me a future and a hope. But honestly, I can't help but laugh, because it almost sounds like a cruel joke. You knew this would happen, it wasn't a surprise to you. Except, contrary to your word, this does not feel good for my welfare, it feels like grips of evil have taken ahold of part of my life, and you're letting them hang on. And I certainly do not feel hope. 


But I am a loved daughter of the King of love and goodness, and I know I have built a life on a firm foundation, a cornerstone that will uphold me through all things.

So I pry myself off of the floor, open my Bible, and try again. I pray for something, anything, to remind me that He is still working. The prophet Ezekial gives me a new word.

"And they will say, 'This land that was desolate has become like the garden of Eden, and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are now fortified and inhabited.' Then (they) shall know that I am the Lord; I have rebuilt the ruined places and replanted that which was desolate. I am the Lord; I have spoken, and I will do it." -Ezekial 36:35-36

Here's some context. God was speaking this to His people Israel, who He was displeased with (to say the least). He repeats that "It is not for your sake, that I am about to act, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations". God, Creator of all things good, is telling His people, although you disrespected me and defiled my name, I am going to restore you to from desolation to an abundant garden, for my Holy name's sake, not yours. When I consider this, a change of perspective came to me like a beacon of light that has been hidden since the storm first struck.


If God would restore those who blasphemed His name and turned from Him, how much more will he revitalize the desolation of a child who still chooses to praise Him in the storm, no matter how futile it may sometimes seem? 


This perspective also forced me out of the selfishness I had justified for myself. When we are hurt, it is natural and some would probably say, justifiable, to put on a selfish attitude. "I didn't ask for this, I didn't cause this storm, why am I having to pay the price for something out of my control?" Then I remember Jesus, dying an agonizingly slow and merciless death. He cries to God, "Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?" My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? -Matthew 27:46

Sound familiar?

Jesus didn't deserve what He was dealt. It wasn't his responsibility to suffer for the sake of others, and he even felt forsaken by His Father. All to restore us to relationship with Him in heaven. 

I write this because this is an area that I wish more Christian women, and Christians in general, would be honest about. That to follow Christ doesn't mean you will never question Him, or that you will never doubt His goodness. Similarly, you are no less a Christ follower if you get angry at God or doubt his goodness amidst life's turbulence. We are Christ followers because when those times come, we scream and cry and speak to God the way no child should ever speak to their Father. But then we choose to stand back up and keep looking and listening for Him, because we know that seeking His face is still far better than remain a sitting duck in a wilderness, prone to further attack. 

So, while the storm feels unbearable with no end in sight, remember that you are not the first to experience this desolate wilderness. The only hope you may be able to cling to in the meantime is that in enduring and persevering, you may be made more like Christ, and in turn, bring others closer into His light as you fight to step back into it yourself. Because it is a fight along a narrow road, but it's the fight we are called to step in to when necessary, no matter how unfair it may seem. And the God who rebuilt the ruined places thousands of years ago is the same God who calls you daughter today. 



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