Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Struggling to Believe

Ok, so writing about a teenager’s struggle with her faith has brought out some difficult memories for me: I was once a teenager struggling with her faith.

For me, the issue wasn’t about doubt, but about obedience. I grew tired of being obedient all the time. Just writing that sentence makes me wonder, what the heck was I thinking??

But when you are 18, you don’t always think straight. After being the “good girl” all the time...the Richie Cunningham of the family...(ok, I just dated myself) and doing the right thing, pleasing mom and dad, getting good grades, staying away from parties, etc. I was ready to just do what I wanted to do.

So, I put down God’s word and walked away feeling like I already knew everything there was to know about Jesus and the Bible. I was ready to experience college and life and, well,…anything that came my way!

Looking back, I now realize that “struggling with faith” really means “struggling with sin” because all those feelings I had were sinful. I walked away from my Beloved. I walked away from the Person who died for me. I walked away from a promise I made…a commitment. I see now how incredibly foolish I was.

My character will have to go through something similar. Why? Because there is a purpose for every trial we endure.

For me, I had to go through the pain of sexual sin. I fell for the temptation and saw how the “other” half lives. And I saw how miserable they are.

 But the Lord is faithful to His own even when they are unfaithful to Him. He waited for me. He always made His presence known to me either in a chapel message at school, through my 3 Christian college roommates, or in a Bible study message. I knew He was nearby, I just didn’t think He wanted anything to do with me. 

How could He want someone who had been unfaithful to Him?

Had He been just a man, that would have been true. He would have rejected me. 

But He is God, my Father, my Creator.

It would take almost 3 years of living in the darkness of sin for me to realize what I had left behind. I had squandered the inheritance that was bestowed upon me at a great cost. I was a fool trapped in my pride. I had no joy, no hope, no life..only darkness.  Like the prodigal…I returned hoping to have at least the crumbs off the table. Instead, He ran to me and wrapped me in His arms. He forgave me.

I had the Light again! I was HOME again! 

My character will struggle through her faith as well…she will deal with sin and all that comes with it. She has to. Just as I had to. But one who is truly the Lord’s cannot remain in sin.

1 John 3:6  "No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him."

For those struggling with faith…step back and really think about what that means. Are you struggling with faith or with sin? Unconfessed sin has only one purpose: to keep you from God. I know, I have been there.

I once told my story to a young woman I was mentoring, and she asked, “But you still sin now. What is the difference between then and now?”

 I told her, “Because then I wanted sin in my life. I had convinced myself I needed it. Now? I hate sin in my life. I want nothing to do with it because I know what it does. It separates me from God…it puts me in the darkness where there is no hope, no joy, no life…and I never want to be in that place again. Now I confess it every day. That’s the difference!”

Your turn: Is it time for you to realize that your struggle with faith is really a symptom of something else? That maybe your real struggle is with sin?

Think about it. 


1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing this Ruth. I'll repost it on my Facebook.