Sometimes, from the outside looking in, faith looks really easy. Sometimes, it looks really cheap. Sometimes, it looks like it isn't the massive engagement that it actually is. The truth is that when I talk about my faith, I usually talk in absolute terms about the things that I know, and this can make me come off really confident, often to the point that others ask me, "How do you do it? How do you stay so faithful and confident and sure?"
And well, the truth is...I don't.
I speak the things I know for certain - things like God is good, life is full of grace, all things are working together, etc. - but these may not be the things I believe or the things that I wrestle with in any actual given moment.
So just to be clear about what faith looks like in the dark and quiet places, I want to share with you an actual conversation I had with myself the other night when I suddenly was thinking about this particular situation and could not fall asleep.
As you may know, I've been looking for a new car for a few years. My current car is 22 years old and has a host of hilarious issues that cannot be fixed because they no longer make the parts to fix it. So I just have to deal. But I am also currently in a season where, due to an inner ear issue, I am struggling to drive at all. So here's the conversation:
Maybe God hasn't let you get a new car yet because He knew this season was coming and you were going to wreck your car. (I have not wrecked my car.)
Oh, my goodness. That sounds just like Him!
Wait...does that mean I'm going to wreck my car? Suddenly, I don't like this...
Well, maybe that is just the enemy trying to make you too scared to drive at all any more, at a time when God is just about to finally heal you from this.
Oh, my goodness. That sounds just like him!
So wait...then is the fact that I'm still driving my old car a goodness from God so that when I wreck it, I'm not as sad as I would be if I had just dropped a big chunk of change on something new...or is it a trick of the enemy to just want me to think that so that I'm scared to drive in my car at all and anxiety eventually just takes over and crushes me until I'm no longer a functional human being?
One of these must be the truth. Lord, please tell me which one of these is the truth.
But how will you know if it's the Lord revealing the truth to you or the enemy just wanting you to think that the Lord is revealing the truth to you so that you'll act in a way that the enemy wants you to act. The enemy could want you to think it's the enemy talking so you'll be more likely to act in rebellion to it and in fact, lead you to the very thing you don't want by convincing you that you wanted it all along.
What if you can just never know?
The truth is, I don't know. The other truth is, I actually have this conversation with myself a lot, trying to figure out if God is really doing a good thing that I maybe don't like or if the enemy is just trying to convince me that God is doing a good thing I don't really like so that no matter what, I end up in a bad thing.
I can never really know, either. If I wreck my car, I cannot know if God kept me from buying a new car because He knew that was coming. If I don't wreck my car, I cannot know that I wouldn't have if I had had a new car. There's not really a way of knowing in this case that gets me out of the conundrum of whichever voice was truly echoing in my head the other night.
And that right there is the very reason why when I talk about faith, I talk about the things that I know for sure - that God is good, that grace is abundant, that all things are being worked together. Those things don't change, no matter what happens with my car situation. Those things are eternal. Because God is eternal and He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
So when you hear me talk about the faith, yes, I am talking about the things that I know. But don't let that fool you for one second into thinking that I don't lie awake at night wrestling with all of the things I don't - and can't - know.
Such is the journey of faith.