Doubt

I do what I am supposed to do. I read the Book, so that I can know God. My reading schedule has taken me recently through Deuteronomy and Joshua. Their contents is not a surprise to me, but it is something I probably try to forget, to close my eyes to when it’s not right before me. It’s a hard thing, reading that my God of love is so jealous that he wanted all the men, women, and children in the land killed just so that their religions wouldn’t influence, wouldn’t call to the nation he had chosen to be his own.

How can this be? I shake my head. I can’t tell you how many times in the last few weeks I have wanted to completely repudiate my faith. I have wanted to come here, to this space, and say, “Look, I am not a Christian. This stuff just doesn’t make any sense. And if I try to convince you at some time in the future that I really am a Christian, don’t listen to me. Just turn me away from your church.”

I come this close. But then I glimpse something. I lie in my bed, and as I get ready to drift off to sleep, I find myself murmuring unknown words, and I almost stop myself, saying no, we don’t believe that, but I allow it. Deep calling unto deep, the Spirit praying what my mind does not know.

I am so tired of this struggle.

I seek the love of God, and the God of love, the one who feeds the poor without questioning whether or not they are worthy, the one who welcomes the homeless and the refugees without counting to see if he has enough, the one who looks on the love of two human hearts for each other and smiles, and it doesn’t matter if it is a man and a woman, a woman and a woman, a man and a man.

Sometimes I think, why do I try? Why do I allow myself to be pulled back in? It would be so much easier to just let go, so much easier to leave.

God, who are you? Where are you?

9 thoughts on “Doubt

  1. i send love to you tonight across the miles, sharon. i too am a follower of Jesus. i too have almost walked away at times. especially several years back when i was in a time of intense confusion over a whole lot in my life. but even still, some questions linger that i just live with. there have been times when i’ve walked right up to the edge of belief and thought that with one more step, i could be over the edge and leave my faith behind and then…who in the world would i even be? what in the world would life even look like?

    but…i have to say…in the moments when i have been closest to walking away…He has come for me. i could tell you very specific stories of how. things that were too personal and too direct to be coincidental, i believe. He has come for me…and He still comes for me. there are answers i still do not have, some of which i’m okay not having and others which i beg to have. and for whatever reason, i still don’t have them. but as you well know, since you’ve poured over so much of the bible, the Lord told His people all through the old testament to “remember, remember, remember” what He had done for them, Who He had been to them. and i do remember. He has come for me, again and again. He has not left me to myself (even when i thought i wanted Him to). He doesn’t answer all of my questions the way i would like Him to. but i have known Him…i have tasted and seen that He is good…and i cannot forget. I have so much history with Him. and i remember….

    oh Lord, have mercy on us. come to us. help us, your beloved daughters. be with my precious sister sharon. i KNOW that you love her so. i KNOW that you do. You have called her by name. she is Yours. she. is. Yours. she is Your beloved. come comfort her, Father. come reveal Yourself to her. be so near to her, Lord. fill the space where she is with Your presence in such a thick way that she can FEEL you there with her now, Lord. (of course our faith is not all about feelings, but sometimes we need to be able to feel Him and I believe He knows and gets and honors that.) come rain Your love on your beloved daughter sharon tonight. wrap her in Your arms. You are a good, GOOD Father. and You are going to lead her on. every step of the way. You will lead. her. on. all the way home.

    my goodness…i have more to say, if you can believe it. just as i was typing the last paragraph i thought of something I feel like God’s been speaking to me recently, and it somehow feels apropos to share it with you here, too. i hope you don’t mind…. i’ll do it in a second message so that this one isn’t too long. (as if making this into 2 messages somehow makes it any shorter. :))

    with love,
    lauren in seattle (part 1)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. hi again, sharon. this is lauren, returning for part 2, as promised.

    as i said above, as i was typing the words in part 1, i thought of something the Lord has been speaking to my own heart recently, and i’m sharing it here in case perhaps it is for you, too. please forgive me in advance for the lengthiness….

    there is a scene in the gospels (luke 22) where Jesus is sitting with His disciples on the night that He will later be betrayed. In verse 31, Jesus says (this is in the New Living Translation), “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat. But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers.”

    Peter replied to Jesus, “Lord, I am ready to go to prison with you, and even to die with you.”

    But Jesus said, “Peter, let me tell you something. Before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even knew me.” (Luke 22:31-34)

    Years ago I heard a teaching on this passage that was so powerful and personal to me that I never forgot it. (Beth Moore was the teacher who had given this teaching years ago.) I have thought about it over the years, but have never heard anyone else teach on it. This *sifting.* Then, about 1.5 or 2 months ago, my pastor at Emerald City Bible Fellowship in Seattle preached a sermon on this passage and talked about seasons of sifting. it, too, was so powerful. what i’m going to share next is a mix of what he shared that day, what Beth Moore shared in her teaching on this passage, and what I feel like God has been speaking to my own heart through all of this. i hope i can say it clearly….

    Peter loved Jesus. And Jesus knew that. But Peter’s faith was not as invincible as he thought it was. In this passage, Peter tells Jesus, “I’ll never betray you. I’m ready to go with you to prison and even to death.” But Jesus knew the weak areas in Peter’s heart and in his faith, and He KNEW what was going to happen just hours after this meal they were having together. He knew that by morning time this passionate follower of Him was going to falter and deny Him not once, but three times at His hour of greatest need. When it mattered the most. And Jesus told him in advance: “Simon, Simon, listen to me. Satan has asked to SIFT YOU LIKE WHEAT. He is coming for you. You are not above His attacks on you. He wants to straight up SIFT YOU. But listen to me, Peter. I have prayed for you. I have PLEADED for you, that your faith would not fail. So WHEN (not if – WHEN) you turn back – strengthen your brothers.” In another passage, Jesus tells Simon that his name is now Peter (the rock) and says “on this rock I will build my church and the gates of HELL will not prevail against it.” But make no mistake, hell would give it its best shot. Peter would indeed, despite his insistence that he would never do it, deny Jesus three times that very night before the rooster crowed the next morning. And he would taste the bitter salt of his own tears, tears hot with sorrow, remorse, guilt, aching that he could do such a thing to his best friend. He had failed. Utterly.

    But Jesus had PRAYED for him. The passage above said that Satan had ASKED to sift Peter like wheat. That means God had to give his permission. Which is a remarkable thing to think about. Satan was not allowed just to do whatever. God had to allow it (not cause, but allow). And in this case, God DID allow Peter to be sifted, BUT He did prayed for Peter. He KNEW that this sifting was not going to be the death of Peter. He KNEW that Peter’s faith was not going to fail. He knew it would be tested through fire, but that on the other side of it all, Peter WOULD turn back and His faith would come through the fire like gold, and when He DID, Jesus had a job for Him: “go strengthen your brothers.” And in fact that is exactly what happened.

    Why am I sharing all of this with you here? Because I believe this is what Satan does with each of us who love and are following Jesus. He comes after us. And he is vicious. Scripture says he comes only to kill, steal, and destroy. He wants to destroy us and he wants to destroy our faith. But Jesus has prayed for us. He saw the moment of Peter’s greatest failure before it ever happened, and He saw through to the other side of it. Peter did indeed get sifted, but the outcome was not what Satan had hoped it would be. Instead of losing his faith, Peter lost his pride and gained a deeper humility and understanding and experience of the grace of Jesus.

    A little over 8 years ago I had one of those sort of foundation-shaking moments in life. It was nothing even remotely on the scale of any of the tragedy that you have experienced, so I am not even remotely comparing this to your experience. But nonetheless, it was one of those things that absolutely blindsided me shook me down to the very core of my being, and i have not been the same since. Eight years later, I am not over it. I do not feel healed yet, though I’ve begged for healing, for greater understanding of what it all means. But a few weeks ago I felt the Lord whisper to my heart that though *I* was absolutely blindsided by what happened on April 15 eight years ago, HE knew it was coming. He knew it was going to shake me down to my very foundation. He knew how many sleepless nights were going to follow for YEARS afterward (I don’t know how many yet, because I’m not through it yet). How many tears of angst would be wept. How many times I’d sob that I just don’t understand and that it hurts. He KNEW what was coming. And in that moment a few weeks ago, I felt like I caught a glimpse of Him with me in that room, just before I read the email saying the things that rocked me so profoundly, and I felt like in my spirit I could hear Him saying to me then, “Lauren, Lauren…Satan has asked to sift you like wheat. But I have prayed and pleaded for you, Lauren, that your faith would not fail. And when (not if) you turn back, strengthen your sisters and brothers.” In other words, “Lauren, this is going to knock you down. But it is not going to take you out. I AM GOING TO RAISE YOU BACK UP and I’M GOING TO RAISE YOU BACK UP IN LOVE AND IN POWER AND IN GRACE. And it will be a testimony of my goodness and it will bring me much glory and it will bring many much joy.”

    I hope I am not remiss in sending all of these many words to you tonight. I hope you can see where I am going with this. All I really want to share is just that I KNOW you love Jesus, Sharon. And I know that your love for Him doesn’t even compare with the love He has for you. And His love for you will not fail. I believe that Satan has come for your faith, my dear sister whom I respect and esteem so much. I don’t say that in any way to sound condescending. HE CAME FOR MY FAITH (and still does). And you have been through more than I have ever been through, so please hear all that I am saying as coming with utter respect for you. The pain that you carry every moment of your daughter’s missingness…there are no words. No. Words. I share all of this tonight just to say that I believe Jesus is saying to you, “Sharon, Sharon…Satan has come to sift you like wheat. But I have PRAYED and PLEADED for you. Your faith will not fail. I will be FAITHFUL to you…through the not knowing, the aching, the throbbing, the pain. I will never leave your side. You are Mine. i have called you by Name. You are Mine. And I am going to carry you through to the other side of this. And (according to 1 PETER – yes, the same guy we just read about – 1 Peter 5:10), “[I], the God of all grace, who called you to [my] eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will [myself] restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast. The sifting will not last forever. It has an end date. My love and faithfulness to you does not.”

    You are going to come through this season, Sharon. I don’t know how long the season will be. I wish I did. But the doubts will not last forever. His love for you will. He will RESTORE you. And, as Joel 2:25 says, He will even restore to you the years that the locusts have eaten. Those who sow in tears will reap in joy. Morning will come.

    Maranatha. Come, Lord Jesus.

    With so much love and respect, from one feeble follower to another,
    Lauren (in Seattle)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh my, thank you so much Lauren! Sometimes I feel as though I have just worn through everybody. I ask the same questions over and over again and everybody gets tired of hearing them. As a pastor friend said to me, “Sharon, do we have to dance this dance again?” And I said, “Well, I guess this is my dance to dance,” and I went off and danced alone. Others come, go, get overwhelmed, and I feel like a disappointment to everybody and just a big fat waste of time. So it means a lot to me that you took so much time to send so many kind, hopeful words to me.

      This is a passage that has spoken to me for a long time. I have it underlined and commented on in many different versions of the Bible! And I have felt that these words were speaking to me as well, except that I can’t seem to stand up long enough to hold out a helping hand to anyone else. I am so unstable that if someone does hold my hand, I am liable to drag them down with me when I fall.

      Yes, I do know the “remember, remember, remember.” I think I wrote somewhere, some time, that I used to look at the stories of the nation of Israel and say, “tsk, tsk, how can they be so unfaithful,” but now I look at them and see me. I could leave slavery and walk through the Red Sea and then build a golden calf! In fact, I think I have. This was the message I actually kept hearing through the initial chapters of Joshua. I have heard from God so many times, things have happened in my life where I can say, if that is not God, what is it? But still I keep falling falling falling.

      And I am so tired of it.

      Thank you for your words, so much! Thank you for your prayers!

      Like

  3. Hello Sharon,
    It been a while since I have stop by your site. I wanted to say hello and let you know I still pray for you and your daughter Michaela. If I lived closer, I would adopt you. I would come get you one day a week and take you out for coffee, mani & pedis. And when your having a a super bad day, I would give you a hug and chocolate bar & watch some mindless movies on tv. I would simply be your friend who would want nothing but happiness for you..
    Love,
    Megan

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Beautiful and inspiring words, Lauren! Magan just sweet!! Sharon- dear dear woman. You will dance this dance until your daughter is found. Pastors don’t get it, but mothers do. Death of a child would be easier. The never ending not knowing. The hope it will be a Jaycee Dugard ending…. We don’t tire of you. You are a reminder of how blessed we are. You reminded us to not let our children out of our sight. You reminded us that in our darkest times, things werent that bad. We are all here for you because, you need us to listen. During the day, you put on a happyface for blessings- darling grandson, family- but we know you ache- where is Michaela. My baby. ✨💗✨. Dance the dance as long as you hear the music in your head- we are here listening for the missed notes. Rest Rest Rest

    Like

  5. Dear Sharon,
    I never really know what to say but these two ladies Megan and Cynthia who replied are saying pretty much what I would say and how I feel toward you.
    I pray and long for answers for you, Michaela, and your family.
    Dear God PLEASE move in this situation. Bring Help, Hope, and Answers to Sharon and her dear family. I know God that our timing and your timing isn’t always the same, but it feels like this has gone on way too long and enough is enough! Please God Please give Sharon and her family the answers about Michaela. In our eyes God we believe it is time. Jesus we need a miracle right now!!! In Jesus precious name amen.
    Michaela if you are alive and reading this please contact your precious Mom. She loves and misses you so much and she longs to hold you in her loving arms.
    Sending lots of love and prayers to you Sharon, Michaela and your family.
    from Thelma Mandera

    Like

  6. Dear Sharon,
    I’m Juanita from Kenya. Sending you lots of love and light. I have been following your heartfelt story for about 2 years now. I can’t imagine what you are going through. Be strong as there are lots and lots of mothers out there me being one who are with you every step of the way no matter how far we all are.
    God will answer your prayers. Please don’t give up on him.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s