A good friend of mine who has an incredibly strong faith and who always challenges, educates and leaves me wondering something deeper about myself and my faith recently told me she could never go to seminary like me. She told me that if she would’ve she would have turned away from her faith. I wasn’t sure exactly what she meant but it stuck with me. Now however, after taking two systematic theology classes, I not only understand what my friend meant, I am losing my religion.
I have struggled in the last six months with both basic and grandiose tenets of faith and why I am studying the Bible at all. It was easier to just read my Bible, see where it intersected with my life and enjoy the peace it brought me. God was simpler, more fair and easier to understand and explain before learning about predestination, being baptized in the Spirit and other concepts the Bible and theologians cannot seem to be clear on or in agreement on.
A few weeks ago, I seriously considered abandoning my faith. I was wondering about my call to seminary, to ministry and to all I have based my life upon and taught my children. I haven’t been able to write lately because how does a Jesus-girl, as I so assuredly called myself, retract that title and change it to Confused-frustrated-on-the-fence-girl? How do I reconcile things I’ve believed and taught about faith may not be true? How do I do life and faith with my new found doubt and disillusionment?
Although I generally have always avoided the book of Job, I started reading it a few weeks ago. I’ve noticed Job makes legitimate complaints about and against God but then turns around and says, “I know that my Redeemer lives” (19:25) and “the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom” (28:28). Before losing my religion in Bible college, I would’ve thought Job was schizophrenic, but now I get Job like never before.
Despite my crisis of faith, when life is hard I find I still turn to the same God I am struggling with. When my oldest is driving across the state for the first time, when my friend gets diagnosed with MS and when I’m upset I find myself praying. Whether I want to or not, believe it or not, can explain it or not, like Job, all I know and have trusted is God. Like Job, when no answer will suffice, when nothing seems to make sense and when I need peace that surpasses understanding, God is still my best hope.
How am I reconciling difficult theology and my own faith? Through a series of highs and lows. By finding answers just to turn around with more questions. By accepting that life in Christ isn’t about religion, theology or anything else man-made and with the hopeful expectation that in the end I will come out a little wiser and with a stronger and more genuine faith.