Confession: I struggle believing that God is benevolent. As a little girl, I suspected that God wasn’t really paying attention to me, but then after my parents died when I was 20, I decided that God was out to get me—he downright disliked me. Losing my parents was enough to convince me that the prosperity gospel wasn’t true; my parents were good Christians and good people, but they still died. I was a good girl and did everything right, going to a Christian college and refraining from drinking and smoking. Oh, sure, I wasn’t perfect, but I believed the praise songs we sang in chapel and even if I didn’t love-love Jesus, I certainly wanted to love him. Yet my parents still died.
Eventually, God convinced me that he didn’t hate me, that he loved me, and that he actually liked me. Somehow I still have this nagging feeling in the back of my mind that God isn’t as good and gracious as he says he is and as everyone else seems to think he is. Life seems so full of heartbreak and brokenness. And I know, I know—it’s full of joy and wonderful things, too, but don’t you ever get overwhelmed by all the rotten things going on around us? We can’t get on Facebook or turn on the tv or drop our kids off at school without hearing a tragic story. I drive down the street and see the glory of God’s creation only to stop at the light and be faced with the sadness of homelessness 3 feet from my car. My friends die. And move away. My community has conflict and broken relationships. And it all hurts so very much. So much so that when we have those brief periods of beauty and wholeness when everything seems to go right, which I know God gifts us with to give us glimpses of what is to come, I ruin them by fearing, by wondering when the other shoe is going to drop. I can’t enjoy happiness because I’m too worried about when and how it’s going to end.
I have these days when I look around at my beautiful, cozy bungalow, my perfect, darling children, my hunky, godly husband, and I chide myself for being ungrateful; I wonder how I could ever waste a moment doubting God’s kindness when I have a roof over my head, insurance paying for my son’s medications, and a full belly. But somehow I can’t help it. Ann Voskamp would be so disgusted in me (if she knew who I was…). Actually, probably not, because she is so wonderfully gracious and godly and somehow, in the midst of raising her full house and baking bread from scratch and living on a farm, she is able to write elaborate poetry of gratitude for thousands of days, while I can barely eek out prayers like, God, I believe, help my unbelief and God, forgive my pride; humble me and God, save me from my despair and God? Please help.
That’s my simple confession. I share it with friends so I don’t have to carry that burden alone, so I can say it out loud and bring it into the light. When I confess, my sisters say, We will have faith on your behalf when your faith is weak, and I am brought to my knees by their love. I say it out loud to make it real, to acknowledge the state of my heart, so that Jesus and I can have a...well, a come-to-Jesus. My soul craves the cleansing that accompanies confession, ugly cries, and leaning into Jesus with teardrop-sized hope.
So I cry, I confess, I cling onto Scripture, I lean into Jesus. My faith is weak, yet because the Holy Spirit dwells in my heart, I can’t help but hope. What is your confession today? How do you seek healing? How will you lean into Jesus despite the weakness of your faith? What Scripture gives you hope?