I’ve not been giving my faith nearly enough attention lately. Where once my faith was a cornerstone of my life it’s now evolved into something different. The topic of faith or God tends to enter the fray only when one is presented with a serious life challenge, event or tragedy. Do I still need faith? Has it been reduced to a very effective coping mechanism?
People react differently in times of need or when disaster strike. Some move into action and handle the situation themselves, some phone close friends and ask family to help, while others cling to faith in the form of prayer or trust in God.
After being presented with a potentially sad and stressful situation regarding our new born Son found the need to fall back on faith in a God that could swoop down and fix the matter. But seeing as I no longer believe this is how God operate I had a conflict inside me. I wanted to fall on my knees and start to pray and ask God to help me yet I also knew the folly in asking such a thing. Has asking God to help become a habit? Was I falling back on a previous way of dealing with stress? Is it an effective way of dealing with sadness? Will it actually remove/fix/heal the pain?
Here’s the interesting thing: Had I still believed that God is a God that is directly involved in our lives and that He would under any normal circumstance come and alleviate my pain if I ask, or help me heal the wound then I would definitely have felt better. Even without God doing anything yet, the mere belief in something greater than me that I can give this burden to carry is enough to help me. Whether it will actually work or not my faith helped me think it will and helped me feel better in that moment. Surely this is a good thing? Anything that can take away the pain of a parent, the suffering of any person(s) is worth it whether it’s a lie of truth?
The problem with this type of faith or belief in God is that eventually you’ll get to a point where God does not pull through, show up, heal or act on a prayer. The effects can be devastating.
When this happens it normally puts the believer in the middle of a fork in the road where a very serious choice has to be made. To the left you have the open and yet unexplored road of rejecting your faith because you are tired of believing God will do something when He never does. You’re tired of God not coming through in-spite of the many years of devotion, prayers, songs sung and time given to this God (note the bank-account model of relating to God being followed: When I give Him something I make a deposit and therefor I can make a withdrawal/ prayer request at a later stage).
To the right you have the road of “reason and ignorant logic”. This is when the believer finds some reason as to why God did not arrive, did not heal or did not answer the prayer. These answers can be blatantly ignorant to logic or it may actually hold some truth. It all comes down you your expectation of God. Believers will continue to put faith in this God regardless of the sadness or pain because their idea of who God is still does not warrant a crisis of Faith. “His ways are mysterious” or “we’ll know why one day” or “there is a reason for this that He will reveal soon” are typical reasoning.
The one constant that lead to these two paths is faith. It’s the way the believer…the way I got there. I had faith and that faith made me cope. It made me feel better in that moment. That is all that matter. People take drugs, alcohol, go on food binges and do scary stuff that helps them deal with pain and suffering. Who am I do discredit someone else’s way of coping? How dare I mock someone else’s way of coping with pain and suffering?
The matter of truth and right or wrong is irrelevant here. It’s about getting the help we need to deal with that pain and moment of stress or sadness.
So what if God is my coping mechanism. I happen to feel very comfortable trusting in Him even if I know it all sounds a bit ridiculous and most of the times it doesn’t pan out the way we want it to.
What is your coping mechanism?