From my journal dated December 16, 2002:
I keep praying and praying for my family. But I struggle so much with my faith right now. It’s hard to trust a God who didn’t protect Jason. Does He hear me? I have prayed and prayed and prayed for my family over the years, for their lives, for their protection. And yet Jason died. Did God hear me when I prayed for Jason?
Sometimes I feel like scrapping my faith entirely. But I know I won’t, because I do believe in God. It’s who I am. It goes to the very core of me. I have, without a doubt, seen God answer prayers. There’s so much I question, though. There’s so much I don’t understand.
During the offering “ad” at church yesterday morning, the pastor taking the offering said something along the line of “give your tithe and God will bless you,” “pressed down, shaken together,” stuff like that. I looked at Joe and said, “I just don’t know if I believe some of this any more.” He agreed.
We have given our lives to God; we dedicated our kids to Him; we have given our tithe; we have prayed; we have fasted; we have read the Scripture; we have served in the church. But I do not feel blessed of God right now! How can it be a blessing that Jason is gone??!! How can it be a blessing that the rest of us are struggling so much? It doesn’t add up for me. The formulaic approach doesn’t work for me. Do this and God will do that. Faith without works is dead. We’ve had the faith, done the works. Jason is the one who is dead. I just can’t understand how God would let this happen.
The pastor’s sermon was on joy at Christmas. I just don’t feel it this year. I can’t be phony, paste a smile on my face, and jump for joy.
I know that – without the birth, life, and death of Jesus – there would be no resurrection, no hope of seeing Jason again. I do believe. I do believe that Jason is in heaven. I do believe we will see him again; that we will see my dad, the baby we lost, my grandpa, and all the others who have gone on ahead. I do believe that Jesus was born, that he died for our sins, and that He rose again so that we can have eternal life.
I’m just really struggling with parts of what I believe right now. I question so much. What’s real faith and what’s not? It’s an odd position to trust in/believe in God and all that goes with that – and yet being so angry at him that sometimes I feel like grabbing Him by the lapels (assuming He has any), shaking Him, and asking Him why He didn’t protect Jason and why my family has to walk through all of this.
I trust, but I question. I trust, but I’m mad at Him. Church has always felt like a safe home for me, but I’m struggling with being angry at “His people” for abandoning us when Jason died (and since then). I suppose I’ll eventually find some middle ground. I’ve been a Christian for a long time. I picture my faith like a large tree with roots that go deep. But that tree has been nearly cut off at ground level. I’m questioning everything I took for granted – the sayings, the teachings, the cliches, the formulas, the things I thought I knew and understood to be true. Maybe that’s not a bad thing. I think God is big enough and has enough grace to handle my questioning.
I feel like my faith will grow again from the roots up, but it may not look the same as it did. I don’t want some pie-in-the-sky cliche. It’s got to apply to the tough stuff, to daily life. I want a faith and a hope that is real, practical, strong. I want a “rubber meets the road” faith in God that will carry me until I see my boy again.
© 2011 Rebecca R. Carney