This year I’ve been coming out of a period of doubt about my faith. It’s been amazing to feel hungry for God again and to feel like I can believe, that the good news sounds good.
But I’m realising I haven’t even articulated my doubts. I should have done that at the start, so I could understand better what I was up against. Writing them here might help some other people going through similar things.
My journey of doubt started as the house church I’d been a part of started to fall apart in 2006, and finally disbanded last April. I launched straight off again, trying to plant a new house church with my wife, but it felt so hard, like there was strong resistance to what we were doing. Not much interest in others, not much enthusiasm in us. I discovered what it was to be trying to something ‘in the flesh’.
Everything went colder and colder, till I realised I was no longer sure of anything.
I wasn’t feeling God’s presence. Where was He? I would try half-heartedly to pray, but all my words seemed to fall flat to the ground.
I knew all along I couldn’t expect it, but I felt like I needed it. God’s not tame, and he doesn’t come at our beck and call. I think I was probably making too many demands of God – that He would be a certain way and I would experience him in a certain way. And of course, if God did things my way He wouldn’t be God at all.
There’s no guarantee we’re going to feel God’s presence. Mother Teresa seemed to feel God’s absence for most of her life. This is a disappointing truth. I wonder if the charismatic movement has a false expectation that God will turn up all the time? I’m not sure; probably some charismatics do and some don’t. I only know that lately it sometimes feels like God is here with me, and for a while it didn’t.