Lord I believe; help me in my unbelief. Mark 9:24
It’s inevitable; I should have expected to come crashing down from the mountain.
I’m confused about what God is—how do I even imagine something so vast, so incomprehensible as the existence of God? Who is He? Exactly what am I believing in, praying to, trusting? Trying to grasp this, I read about God’s nature, that our limited human brains can’t even begin to understand Him. And instead of being in awe of Him, instead of being comforted by His vastness and His power, my brain goes into overdrive trying to figure it out, trying to hold on to something tangible.
When I pray my mind wanders. I try sitting with Him in silent, contemplative prayer and I think that I really need to paint that wall in the living room where the paint is cracking but remember that was a slightly deeper shade than the color I used in the hallways and I not sure I even have any more of that living room color so should I go buy a gallon of the original paint color or would it work to use a different color, maybe darker or lighter, or should I just repaint the whole living room, but what a huge task that is because of all the windows and doorways and I’m just not up for a project that huge right now . . . The inside of my brain is like Alvin and the Chipmunks on speed. Can you just turn it off, woman? Geesh.
Instead of resting quietly and comfortably in the existence of God and feeling my union with Him, I get distracted by the vastness of creation and what He is and the nature of infinity. “Be still and know that I am God.” Okay, work with me here, I’m trying.
“Lord, I’m hurting. I believe, I believe. But I can’t recapture the feeling that I had before, that absolute certainty, that blissful union with you. Can you please just throw this dog a bone and let me be with you for a while without all of this static?” I cry out in desperation.
One thing I know to be true: faith is strengthened by doubt—so consider this a strength-building phase. If I never doubted then this faith of mine would be unexamined and less deep. I have felt the depth of a relationship with Him. I’m in a fallow phase now and I know from experience that if I just trust Him and not give up, that feeling of relationship will reemerge from this swamp. I will not run away. I will dig deeper. I will remind myself again and again that God is a mystery, an unsolvable puzzle, and again and again I will pray for trust, for help in my unbelief.
And I go back to Scripture to find assurance that the Lord will not let me get lost, that He sent the Holy Spirit to help me understand.
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. John 14:26
Come, Holy Spirit, come.