Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10, verse 23.
If you’ve read this blog for awhile, you know that I recently started a new job. My previous company laid me off in December. Now, I’m 50 and have been working in one capacity or another since I was 16. This wasn’t the first time I’d been rolled off an account or even laid off a job. Yet this has been the first time that my confidence has been rattled to the core. I started a new job 3 months ago and, by all measures, it’s going very well (I’m leading a great team of really talented people). Yet I’ve become ultra-sensitive to perfectionism, working to try to get things just right even as I know that isn’t a sustainable goal. For the first time in my life, I’ve encountered anxiety, even panic attacks. Couple that with some pretty heavy depression, a bunch of other stressors, and it’s a tough combination to live with. I’ve come to dread every time someone from my new job calls or e-mails, wondering if this is the message where the ax falls on my neck again. 50 is a tough time in life to be having to start over.
It’s as if I have forgotten how to hold unswervingly to the hope I profess in Christ. Except that my faith is still solid. All through this, I’ve known deep inside that God was still real. I’ve almost instinctively known that Jesus is with me, and that whatever I’m feeling, He’s beside me to help me. That’s proof of Hebrews 10, verse 23. And yet I’ve still been hurting.
Earlier, I was talking with my atheist friend who, once again, chided me for believing in “space fairies.” I replied to him that it’d be better if he got to know the One he calls “space fairy” now, in thanks and admiration, instead of later in fear and dread because he will come to know Him whether he calls Him names or not. Again, this is something I know inside of me because I believe what God has said through His Word and through His nature & history. Yet in a world of doubt, anger, and hurt, is it any wonder that people like atheists would reject faith they can’t see, even if the One they reject is faithful and bears real hope?
Perhaps it’s natural to occasionally question one’s faith, even as the God in whom we have faith doesn’t question us. He is always present, always the same, always diligent, always loving. He’s God; He can’t be any other way. We aren’t God; we can’t be God and shouldn’t try (after all, there really are no true atheists…). I can only speak for myself in saying that I truly believe in all God says He is and that I don’t doubt that He’s saved me. Yet I still question where He is and His purposes when things like this job loss come to me. I didn’t deserve it, but it happened. It has wreaked a lot of changes, some good and many not, in my family’s life, and I question “why”.
Perhaps the best answer is still the one God gave to Job, namely that He’s God and I’m not and I should just be comforted by knowing that. Way back in the book of Job – probably the oldest book in the Bible – God upheld the hope of His faithful servant who, like me, questioned when bad things happened without rejecting his belief in his Maker. It’s ok to be sincere about saying “Lord, this really sucks right now.” It’s ok to be sincere about feeling bad when things make you feel bad. It’s ok to be sincere in saying “I don’t want this.” Vent those feelings and share those thoughts; that’s good, even Godly. And then let them go and come back into His fold, remembering that He gives real hope for here and now, not just forever. He who promised it is faithful in all things and at all times.
For further reading: Hebrews 3:1, 1 Cor 1:9.
Lord, it’s been really tough lately and I’ve been hurting, questioning why these things have happened. I believe in You, though, and I know in my heart that You are with me. Uphold me now and continue to give me the courage to face each new day. Thanks for what You do and who You are.