Do you ever go through a time in your faith when everything just feels like it clicks? You feel God so close, it’s like you could reach out and touch him. You have an inexplicable peace all around you.
Then, suddenly, things change. For reasons you can’t quite put your finger on, you feel lost and drifting. Your feelings of peace are replaced with a deep unrest in your soul. You wonder where God went, because you sure can’t feel Him now.
On days like this, it’s easy to start questioning where we went wrong. To start thinking, “If only I were different. If only I tried harder or did better, then I wouldn’t feel like this. Then things would be okay again.”
But what if these times when we feel down about our faith aren’t actually an indication that we are failing at faith? What if they are simply growing pains?
Think about it this way, in life the challenges are what make us grow. In the struggle is where we become stronger.
Look at any athlete, and you’ll know it’s true. Athletes struggle through the pain of training. They sweat and persevere, even on the days they want to give up. When it’s over and they look back, they can see the result – the strength and endurance they have gained.
It’s like that with all aspects of life. When we suffer through the struggles of cancer treatment, divorce, death, or whatever life throws our way, it feels horrible when we are in the middle of it. But when it passes, we can see how strong we’ve grown and how far we’ve come.
It’s the same with our faith. When our soul is in turmoil, even as we seek God, it does not necessarily mean we are failing. Sometimes it means we are growing.
The perfect example is the mother who doesn’t hear a word of the church service, because she’s dealing with her small children’s misbehavior. She walks away feeling frustrated and embarrassed, rather than peaceful. But despite her feelings of defeat, imagine how much she will grow in endurance if she chooses to go back to church anyway. It doesn’t feel good, but she is learning to persevere in faith.
It’s in the struggle that we grow stronger.
Or how about the person who is struggling with their faith, asking the big questions. They feel like the “bad” Christian, when, in truth, they’re seeking is precious to God. It might not feel good in the moment, but if they persevere, they will grow by leaps and bounds.
Our faith walk won’t be all butterflies and rainbows. There will be periods of unrest. But if we don’t give up – if we continue to seek God through it all – I’m confident we will look back and see how strong our faith has become. We will be amazed at our endurance – how much we’ve grown and how far we’ve come.
Jenni DeWitt is a fun-loving contemplative who is discovering the value of rest and silent prayer in the midst of this rushed society. She is the author of two books — Forty Days and Why Won’t God Talk to Me? Surprising Ways He Already Is. Jenni lives in Nebraska with her husband and two young sons. She loves to help people in their daily prayer time at Genuflected.com. For help in continuing to seek God, take her 7 Day Prayer Challenge.