I never jumped right into Christianity and immediately declared belief. For me there have been stages of faith, growing past borders from one strength to the next. I don’t remember a single one of those transitions being simple and quick.
Building faith is not like the simplicity of say, driving from one town to the next on a nice, easy, beautiful country road. You don’t put the top down and breeze between signs that say “Welcome to our town, population 3,000”. For me it’s much more like physical strength training; often gritty, sweaty and incredibly challenging with a lot of grunting and pain.
My best comparison
Let me give you a short description of how that physical strength training actually works. Why? Because it’s incredibly similar to faith, and the illustration will help my point...
You grab a weight, lift, let down, repeat. Each rep (repetition) gets harder. And now comes the somewhat scary, painful part... micro-trauma. When you lift that weight, as you do more and more reps and sets; you actually start to create tiny, microscopic tears in the muscle. You’re actually damaging your body. This is why you end up sore for a few days after. As those microscopic tears heal, new and bigger muscle fiber grows over the tears to repair them. Once healed, the muscle group is just slightly bigger and, in turn, stronger.
I find the process of building faith to be just like that of building muscle. And often times, there has to be damage to start the process. Then we heal. I believe that the spirit heals like microscopically torn muscle. New, slightly bigger bits of spiritual strength are built over the damaged areas; in turn, leaving the spiritual “muscle” bigger and stronger. Sometimes the damage that gives way to the healing is microscopic. Sometimes it’s big.
Who causes damage?
I believe that God causes or maybe just allows the microscopic tears. His way is to be easier on us, but give us reasons to mildly break, then heal stronger than we were before that breakage started.
I also believe that when big breakage happens, God has different levels of responsibility. He may allow larger damage based on how badly some of our behavior needs to change, or, how difficult our training is for what our responsibilities are in life. But much of the time, the biggest breakages come from the enemy. Those are just strong theories, but In any case, God does use such breakage to our advantage; trying to help us heal and become stronger, even if that damage was unreasonable.
Sometimes it heals, sometimes it doesn’t
A crisis of faith… it’s something that I’ve faced many times. And, right now as I write this, it’s happening in my own life. In a recent turn of events; Grace, Jewel and I have been battered around quite harshly. It seems every time we’re about to gain solid ground, in many ways we’re tested to an extreme. It happens in our finance, emotional states, ministry, church life, family relationships, living arrangements, areas of self improvement and just about everything else.
We’ve had an extremely difficult time the few weeks before writing this. Another round of financial breakage, Grace’s mother almost dying three times, a hard trip across the country, Jewel’s behavior becoming difficult because of it all. Thanksgiving also flared up some old emotional scars… And now, after a night of terrible sleep loss, frustration and then some; I’ve turned toward my heavenly Father with some serious questioning and ranting.
For many people, moments like these are a classic turning point away from faith. And right now, part of me feels that pull. But for the most part, based on my experience in overcoming many similar moments; I feel the burned out spiritual muscles about to heal. Likely, they’ll get bigger in the process.
What it takes to heal bent or broken faith
There’s one, major, common mistake people make with physical strength training; you need two support systems to make it worth your while. Most people overlook these systems. Lifting weights by itself will bring some results, but without proper rest and nutrition, it’s likely you’ll see such little yield that you’ll burn out and walk away. You don’t just need rest from strength training, you need days of it. You don’t just need protein, you need complete protein resources.
Faith is the same way as the above. You don’t just have an episode of damage to faith, then jump back in and call it a day. There are support systems that have to be in place for proper healing. For me, they are:
Information. That involves reading the manual to life, the Bible. I also listen to a lot of sermons online.
Prayer. It’s about asking for wisdom and understanding, which also helps you gather information about questions like "Why God Why?".
Community. This is about church, fellowship activities, Bible studies and other engagements with followers of God.
Understanding. It’s not that we don’t deserve to know why God does what he does, it’s that we just often get blinded to it. We sometimes just have to accept that we’re not going to get it all right away. In a world that keeps us from truth, we won’t find it until we dig deep. Sometimes we don’t find it at all.
A forum from GettingToGod.com. For when the questioning of faith is strong, we should share; it’s really that simple. That’s why I’ve started this group. Your participation will help you and others. So please feel free to join, question and answer. 3… 2… 1… launch!
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