For many years I’ve been on a frightening journey of faith. I say frightening because I stumbled into the land of doubt and uncertainty and wondered if the God I was raised to believe in could love me even though I had serious questions about this Christian faith I was told was the only path to Him.
So many questions plagued me. Here are just a few:
Are we treating all people, all people, with dignity, love and respect, even if we don’t agree with them? Are they welcome in my church? Would they feel welcome?
Why does it seem that Christians in different decades seem to pick a pet “sin” (what they call sin) and make that the “worst sin known to man” for that decade or two?
Is there a literal hell? Would Love (God) reject anyone, especially if the penalty has been paid in full? Why do we require people to say they “believe in Jesus” when He already paid the price for us?
Is the Holy Spirit felt in church? Do we pray for Him to come and move us to worship? Why not? Do we talk about Him? Why not? Do we commune with Him?
How literal is the Bible? How many of the stories in the Bible are literal and how many are figurative or poetic? Is the Bible still fully relevant for us today? The basic message of love is relevant, but the other parts, does it matter if we read it?
How old is the earth? Were Adam and Eve the first people on the earth? Is there life on other planets? Other beings out there? Have they visited earth, creating wonders like the pyramids and stone henge?
Is Jesus the ONLY way to God? This question stopped my heart from beating a couple of times.
Some of you reading this might only be interested in knowing the answers I came up with. But the answers have not been the most important piece of this amazing journey for me.
I couldn’t sleep at night, afraid I was betraying God for questioning Him. I cried because I was afraid He was disappointed in me and that maybe He would start ignoring me. That was a familiar feeling I didn’t like. Would he turn His face away from me like He did Jesus? I deserved it, I thought, for who am I to ask such questions.
But I had been meditating for months, getting connected to my inner self, learning to love myself, accept myself, and receive God’s love. I was aware that I was slipping into self-loathing when I thought God was angry with me, but I also knew that self-loathing is NOT from Love; it’s not from God. I knew that God never makes us feel like terrible about ourselves like that. It was then that I was able to separate my self-loathing from how God feels about me, and that I needed to stop doing that to myself. On a walk in the woods behind our house I said to my husband, “I know God still loves me even though I have these questions and doubts. I’ve just never tested it like this before and I was afraid. But I know that Love loves me!” He smiled and agreed. There is nothing I can do to separate me from that love.
This was the most significant change in my heart during this journey and worth every moment of self-doubt, question, and even risk that someone might misunderstand me. I KNOW that I know that God loves me and it’s 100% because of who he is. And He’s accessible to me anytime. He wants me to be in relationship with Him and to tap into Him and connect and commune with Him.
I don’t have all the answers to all of my questions, nor do I think that’s my purpose here. I’m on a journey to seek joy in every day, and I want to help others find their joy, too. I was reminded in a study recently that Psalm 119:2 says (paraphrased) “Lord, I seek you with all my heart!” and by the end, in verse 176 of the same chapter, the psalmist says, “I’m lost! Please find me!”
I find great comfort in that; that even the psalmist got lost on occasion, but that he could cry out to be found. God will find us. He seeks us out. Love looks for us, especially when we’re lost.
If you need to hear that you are loved today, let me say it: Sweet friend, you are so loved today and every single day by a God or Source or Higher Power who created all. I hope you can spend some time today meditating on that and thanking Him for loving you, guiding you, sustaining you, and giving you everything you need to live a full and joyful life.
P.S. I use masculine pronouns to describe God, simply because it’s the standard and easier, but neither maleness nor femaleness could possibly incapsulate the complete nature of God. He is our All in All, the Great I AM. He/She is EVERYTHING.