Thanks for your honesty and for an excellent question! You’re not alone in asking it.
We’ve come to expect some prepackaged experience or answer or feeling — a formulaic, feeling-based approach to faith. But our collective experience at RISE as a community journeying together is that faith is often not cut and dry. It’s not black and white. And it’s not something you can put on paper and reproduce. Struggle and uncertainty are part of the journey of life and faith. And struggle and uncertainty are incredibly faithful. See Job, Joseph, Peter, Thomas, Jesus, Amanda … (We realize Amanda isn’t in the Bible … just making sure you’re paying attention!)
There will be moments in your dance with God that feel like fireworks. Inevitably, there will be moments of intense loneliness and disappointment and confusion. And there will be a lot of in-between times, too. It’s important to remember that faith doesn’t equal feelings. Sometimes it just looks like putting one foot in front of the other and sometimes, in doing so, we bump up against Jesus in unexpected ways.
The wisdom of our forefathers and foremothers of the faith has taught (and continues to teach) us that community is essential at all times. Living in honest, authentic community helps us stay firmly rooted in all times and in all seasons. We need each other. We also need the age-old wisdom of people who’ve gone before us and have learned a thing or two. They teach us that practices like prayer and fasting and honest sharing and giving of our time and money and stuff helps us stay centered throughout all the ups and downs of life.
And speaking of community, we want you to know that you’re not alone. And we love your honesty. Whenever we gather at any time and for any event, there are always people who bring celebration and joy and there are always people who are hurting intensely. There are those who feel very close to God and those who feel very distant. Ironically, sometimes there are people who are experiencing all of those realities at the same time.
So be where you are and know that God is there. We want to journey with you. And may you know that you are not alone and you are loved … by God and by this community.
Here are a few great books we recommend about faith, doubt, uncertainty, questions, etc.
- risehburg posted this