I wrote this a little while ago but events of today have prompted me to re-publish it now rather than later. I’ve been having increasing problems with my knee and there’s a chance I may need surgery to repair it. The situation with my knee is preventing me from training and I enjoy training a lot, it was helping me through my S.A.D which is slowly kicking in. Today I got prayer from some of the guys at church today and the grand total of nothing happened. Two, three times they prayed but nothing. Why?
Do I have too much unbelief when it comes to this? I’ve never actually seen someone been healed and this isn’t the first time I’ve been prayed for regarding my knee. I know God doesn’t heal all the time and despite me knowing this, it’s causing some small doubts and questions…..
So here’s us, on the raggedy edge – Malcolm Reynolds, Serenity (2005)
I led my church’s house groups a couple of months ago on the evidence for the resurrection. It went well but in the discussion afterwards, one of the guys raised a simple question; so what? The context he was coming at was does the evidence make any difference. My answer was that it provides a rational base from which we can be sure its true. But the question can be applied to the resurrection itself; Jesus rose from the dead, so what? What difference does the resurrection make?
Christians talk about being reborn, about putting our past lives to death and being fresh creations. Lately, I’ve been doubting whether I’ve really done this. I’m not sure I have changed that much. I seem to have the same struggles and the same desires and same tastes. I fall back into old habits and hate myself for doing so. I still have bitterness and rage in my heart. I tell myself that I’ve channeled my determination to doing Christs work, but this often seems hollow and more an attempt to convince myself more than anything. If someone was to taste my fruit (to quote Paul) would they really taste what they should? Would they really conclude I was a Christian from my life? In this world but not of it? I straddle both but feel I belong in neither.
I spent ages looking at the evidence for the Christian faith when I was an atheist, I still do today. I have a basic grasp of the arguments, but I’m not the sharpest tool in the box and see many others doing a far better job than me at answering objections. I’m not sure I know Christ. I get told to pray but that’s a struggle for me, I just can’t do it. I get told to have more faith, but how can I have more of what I’m not sure I have in the first place? Getting answers works great if the answers help, but some just push me down deeper. I’m not convinced I’m saved and known by Christ. I’m not convinced I’m doing enough to bring people to him which is why many of my friends are still atheists. I just want to help people but not sure I am. I’ve thought about not referring myself as a Christian anymore because of all the hurt and pain caused by the church, and because I’ve had so many run ins with Christians and been branded a heretic so many times I’ve wanted to say “fine have it your way, I’m not a Christian”.
I think back to that evening at my friends house, when I said to God he’s got to help me, when I broke down and felt so at peace as Christ released me from whatever was tormenting me. I look back to the times I’ve had recurrences of the past and how God has supported me. I think about the fact that I fight my past and thinking about it doesn’t send me spiraling out of control. I look at the causes I’m taking on because I feel I’m called to fight injustices in this world, and even though I beat myself up because I think I can do better, try harder and put pressure on myself, I remember God sitting next to me and saying “one step at a time”.
So I continue to wrestle with God, the world and myself. I keep the image I have of me hanging on a rope in a dark pit, Christ has the end and stops me from falling whilst I help others out of the pit. I remind myself that I have not fallen into that big black hole and that the whole world struggles. For now, I’m going to keep having these doubts but I look at Thomas and see Christ brought him to a place where he could proclaim “My Lord and My God”. I sometimes have that confidence, other times I don’t. So I live on the raggedy edge and it does get messy.
This is who I am though, maybe I just need to embrace that.
First published 18th July 2013