Another excellent post by Laura Brasov
Q: Why when you walk in faith and trust, it seems you just get scammed or deceived? Is it possible to be skeptical but still believe? Life has just seemed to prove the pet doctrines of the church to be used to measure spirituality.
These are some great questions! I am going to address them individually, even as I recognize that they build on each other.
First, it is possible to walk in faith and trust and yet not have life turn out the way we desire. This is why Jesus commands his disciples in Matthew 10:16, “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore, be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” In other words, we are to be thoughtful and smart in our sizing up of situations, and yet irreproachable and unwavering in our trust of God’s ability and willingness to be present in the midst of the situation. Sometimes this will mean to leave the situation, by the way!
Second, it is possible to have doubts, to earnestly seek, to search out and even question God while having belief. As the father of a boy possessed by an evil spirit told Jesus, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (NIV) or “I believe. Help me with my doubts!” (MSG) in Mark 9:24. Often doubts come in momentary whispers, sometimes they come during long seasons of wrestling. Regardless, God welcomes our deeper questions and thoughts and invites us to struggle with Him through them.
The third question is more of a statement than a question, originating from the place we have all experienced personally: the place where we have felt sized up, categorized and often even diminished or dismissed by others as to our spirituality. It is a disappointing place to arrive at not being “_____enough” – good enough, spiritual enough, smart enough, etc. Fill in the blank; we can all relate. The truth is that God says we are enough; yet we often look to others instead of Him to validate that truth.
When we look to others for validation instead of God alone, we find ourselves facing what theologians have referred to over the ages as the tension that resides in all of us; the tension between the depravity and the dignity of man. In other words, in each of us resides depravity: our own brokenness, our unique tendencies to sin, our individual behavioral habits and traits that we’ve developed over the years. Yet in each of us also resides great dignity: the gift of Himself that God bestowed upon us during creation that enables and reflects His desire that we are to be His image-bearers in our own unique, creative ways.
The tension between the depravity and the dignity of man is alive and well, in and out of the church. Hurt often comes when we expect the church and its individuals to be different, only acting out of God’s imbedded dignity, and we instead receive more of its present depravity. In those moments, we need to remember that we – just like the church and those individuals that make up the church – are broken and yet beautiful. We too will continue to sin, and we will continue to be forgiven. We too will wrestle with depravity and dignity inside of ourselves, just as we learn to recognize and navigate that tension in others around us.