A couple of years ago, I had a sort of mid-life crisis. Not the kind in which I bought a Corvette and dyed my hair blond, but a private, internal struggle with my faith.
All my life I had been surrounded by Christianity, never knowing any other way to think or live. I realized my own sinfulness and need for Christ when I was eleven, and I still recall that moment clearly–the tears I shed and the words I prayed, and the peace and lightness of heart that filled me afterward. The certainty of my salvation has never left me.
But there came a time in my adult life when I began to feel restless within my faith. I still felt sure of God’s existence and my own salvation, but I knew that there must be more intended for me. I was going through all the right Christian motions without feeling a passion for God.
Seeking help, I read The Pursuit of God by A. W. Tozer. He wrote, “O God, I have tasted Thy goodness, and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more. I am painfully conscious of my need of further grace. I am ashamed of my lack of desire. O God, the Triune God, I want to want Thee….Show me Thy glory, I pray Thee, that so I may know Thee indeed.”
That was exactly it: I wanted to want God, and I wanted to see more evidence of Him to give me cause to truly love Him, not just be comfortable with Him. I began to pray and to read Scripture with that in mind, and I was blessed to see some familiar passages in a new light.
For example, I used to feel sorry for the Apostle Thomas, forever branded as “Doubting Thomas,” but his story now seemed relatable. Thomas was a realist who did not want to be duped or have false hope. He did not want to rely on the off-the-deep-end faith of others like Peter, who must have seemed all talk with his promises to die for Jesus one moment and his denial of Him the next. Thomas sought a faith based on evidence rather than emotion; he wanted to see Jesus for himself, and not only that, he wanted to touch Him. In a way, that’s not such a bad thing. My kids and I have discussed how wonderful it would be to sit and talk with Jesus face-to-face, to make tangible the One we have learned so much about in the Scriptures.
But He gave Thomas, and us, all we needed in order to believe, no theophany necessary. He wanted Thomas to trust not just his own senses, but the promise Jesus had made that He would rise again after His death. He said, “Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.”
I also love the story in Mark 9 of the man with the demon-possessed child who came to Jesus seeking help. Jesus said to him, “If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.” The passage continues, “And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.”
Ah, I love that statement! The man responded immediately, with tears and desperation, to Christ’s gentle admonition. He sincerely did believe, and he wanted to believe more–yet he must have been holding onto a shred of doubt that Jesus could heal his demon-ravaged son, in part because none of the disciples had been able to heal him–and Jesus pointed that out as only He could.
Like Thomas and the boy’s father, I lacked faith. I began to pray that God would increase my faith in Him and love for Him, not based on any signs, but based upon His character and His promises, all there for me to see in His Word.
Are you seeking more in your relationship with God? I’d love to hear from you.