Many believers, if we’re honest, have had a crisis of faith. This is the time when we’ve begun to doubt the things we say we believe in. We may question the authority and credibility of what we read and begin to search for deeper answers ourselves. For me, this was a time in my life when I started to question God’s goodness because the people who claimed to know Him weren’t representing Him well. I witnessed people manipulate other people, justify selfish actions and backbite one another all in the name of God. The thing is, each of these people sincerely felt that they were carrying out God’s business. Our church had gone beyond simple division. We had multiple factions with nobody able to trust anyone else. There was an emptiness and sadness each Sunday when we got together to worship. Not because God didn’t want to come and minister healing, but because as the Bible says in James 3:16 –
“Where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.”
When we purport to be followers of Jesus and act like sons of hell, it’s no wonder that people begin to question the goodness of God and eventually His existence.I had to take a step back in the situation and ask myself where I may be contributing to the discord. Even though I may not have been the catalyst, I fed the flames and continued the conflict. It wasn’t until I was to desire reconciliation over my “right to be right” that I was able to see past my own hurts and offenses.
My skepticism began to fade and eventually dissipate when I began to trust God as my father. The heart of the father is to protect his child and when I experienced this first-hand through a visiting prophet, all doubt in my mind was removed. I don’t even remember this man’s name, but he spoke words to me that only God would know. I hadn’t met this man in life and he knew my situation. He came to me, held my face in his two hands and said to me, “God your father hears every word you’ve prayed and every tear you’ve cried. Your heart is broken by what you’ve witnessed, but that is not God’s doing. Have faith that God is in control and give grace to those who are wronging you.” The things that were happening by christians, in His name, within the walls of the church were not a result of God’s neglect or failure. It was simply because we, as christians, can lose touch with our Source. When this happens, we start to fulfill all our fleshly desires. I learned that I had started to trust in the institution of the church, the seeming reputations of people I thought I knew more than the unchanging nature of God.
“When we believe that God is Father, we also believe that such a father’s hand will never cause his child a needless tear. We may not understand life any better, but we will not resent life any longer.” William Barclay
Even though I’m saddened by the broken relationships and hurts that resulted, I’m grateful for the deepening of my faith in God. Despite the time of skepticism, God was relentless in proving His goodness to me. He used the prophet to relay a personal, intimate message to his daughter and is still trying to reach those doubtful believers, if they will only listen.