Ah, holiday weekends! Due to an out-of-town holiday trip, Nicole Alison was not able to write for today. Instead, we offer you a reflection on John 6 that Janelle Gregory (who serves on the Resurrection staff as a Human Resources Specialist) wrote in 2013.
I grew up in the church. I was in Sunday School every week. I sang the songs, I colored the pictures, and when the class was asked a question I was the first to raise my hand. In high school I was president of my youth group, and then I became heavily involved in college ministry. I went on mission trips and retreats and I memorized scripture. I even wore the t-shirts. Yes, I was “that kid.” And as an adult, I came on staff at Church of the Resurrection.
Yet six years ago or so, the floor of my faith dropped from under me and I fell into a time where I doubted God. It’s not that I didn’t trust in God. I was struggling to believe that He even existed. It had all become too much – the stories, the miracles, the resurrection, the Holy Spirit – the whole thing. I mean seriously, when you stop to think about it, it all sounds like something right out of a fantasy movie. Throw some elf ears on the disciples, and you’ve got yourself a summer blockbuster!
So here I found myself with everything I had believed to be true, the foundation I had built my life on – it all suddenly crumbled into a pile of rubble. It was becoming apparent to me that the Bible was just made up of fictional characters and fanciful stories handed down through generations of people in need of explaining the ways of the world.
With this new understanding, I entered a very dark and lonely time. I didn’t feel like I could tell anyone. How could I? What would they think? They seemed to have it all together. Nobody else was questioning, and certainly not anyone that had been a Christian for as long as I had. How could I be so deep, so invested, and yet so lost? I went through weeks of uncertainty, weeks of going through the motions, forcing myself to play the pretend game of a believer. I would talk about God with conviction, but behind those words was a cloud of doubt.
And then the day came when I couldn’t do it any longer. I remember running into someone that asked the everyday question of, “How are you doing?” Well, the truth was that I was not doing well – not at all. Little did they know that this polite inquiry would result in me pouring my soul out, and finally coming to ask, “Is it real? Is God really real?” In a quiet assurance, this person’s response was, “Yes, He’s very real.” He then took the time to stop and pray with me. I can’t really explain it, but after that God revealed Himself to me in ways that settled my doubts.
So… what’s the point? Why am I telling you this?
Because I wish that at the time I would have known that it’s not abnormal to question God even years after deciding to follow Christ. I was so caught off guard by my lack of faith that I didn’t know how to respond. I felt that there was nowhere to turn, nobody to understand. But I can’t believe that I’m the only one that’s experienced this. After all, we read today in John 6 that even those that had heard Jesus’ words from his own mouth and saw Him with their own eyes thought that He had lost it after a while. So if those that touched Him had doubts, we shouldn’t be surprised when we have those same doubts 2,000 years later.
If you’re reading this, it’s highly unlikely that you’re experiencing a crisis of faith right now. But don’t be surprised if one day you do. My hope is that should that day come you won’t feel ashamed when you question, because you’re certainly not the first to do so. Others have been down that path, so don’t feel like you have to forge that path alone. Talk to someone – a pastor, a mentor, a friend.
Six years later, I know that I am so thankful for the people around me that support me in my faith, those that will surround me should my foundation be shaken again. And most of all I’m grateful to God for His continued love for this wandering follower.
Return to the GPS Guide to read today’s scripture and reflection questions.