There is a certain phenomenon of sorts in the believer’s life called “crisis of faith.” If we live long enough I think almost every Christian believer will, to one degree or another, go through this period of intense questioning of one’s own faith when life hands them a doozy of a trial and the responses of people and of God just don’t make sense.
As we grow up we adopt many ideas, some true and some false, about God and what faith in Him means. And even when we come to know Christ as our own personal Lord and Savior many of the false ideas about who God is still linger in our minds.
Then, when the violent winds of trial slam into our lives and we can’t control it and God doesn’t respond according to our preconceived, mythical notions, we can begin to have a crisis of faith. At this point we can choose to turn back to the world and stew in our confusion and bitterness or we can choose to forge ahead on the greatest journey ever known to man: the awakening of our souls, minds and hearts to the One, True God as we walk with Him and He with us, loving and becoming bonded to one another in a relationship that is unparalleled in its intimacy and blessing.
If we choose to weather the storm, hand in hand with our God, these are the times when we can begin to truly understand Who God is and put away the false god we have for so long envisioned in our minds.
The agonizing search for understanding that we begin to go through during times of suffering--the “whys?” and the “hows?” and the “how longs?”—finally shift direction from being focused on our trial to a deep soul-searching of just Who this mysterious God really is.
And the usefulness of our trial begins to emerge.
Psalm 51:6 says, “Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, and in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.” It is God’s desire to remove the lies we’ve believed in our hearts and fill us with the truth. Then we will “worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such to worship Him. God is a spirit, and they who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:23b-24)
We cannot fully worship and know God while the myths about Who He is still resound in our minds and hearts. Those myths will lead us off course in our understanding about God and about the painful things we encounter in our lives.
God’s enemies, satan and his lackeys, love it when we believe a lie. They can use those false understandings to persuade us into making wrong decisions, disbelieving God, growing bitter and eventually turning away from God and His people. We have to fight against that if our faith is to survive to the end.
Jesus said, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32) God longs for us to be free from the bondage of falsehoods, and the key to unlocking our chains is truth, and the source of all Truth is Jesus Christ. Jesus Himself said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father but by Me.” (John 14:6) It is only through relationship with Him Who is the Truth that we are able to come into the full knowledge and wisdom of truth.
A common question among unbelievers and many believers alike is, “Why does God allow people to go through difficult things?” And eventually the question becomes more specifically, “Why is God allowing me to go through this difficult thing?”
God does not wish pain on us for pain’s sake. But He does know that for us to become mature in our faith, not falling prey to the evil one, wise in our service and leadership of others and able to fulfill the great commission of making disciples as we lead others into the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, we must be filled with truth and a correct understanding of our God and His Word. We must worship Him as He is, not as we want Him to be.
If we choose to hold onto the Lord when the storm blows in we can have assurance that God is with us and that if we diligently seek Him He will reveal Himself to us in ways we never thought possible. We will experience increasing joy and peace and love as we more clearly see the wondrous beauty of our God.