As we approach the end of the year, I always love reflecting on what has occurred in my life and others throughout the past twelve months and looking ahead for what is to come in the future.
But If I’m being honest, I have found 2017 incredibly difficult for my faith.
This time last year, my family and I suffered a close bereavement, and it had a knock-on effect on me as a person and my beliefs about God. For the first time, I doubted God’s goodness and sometimes even His existence. And it didn’t just go away.
Doubt is something I truly believe that most believers will experience at some point or another. Even Pope Francis (leader of the Catholic Church) said this when talking about doubt – “Who among us has not experienced insecurity, loss and even doubts on their journey of faith? Everyone! We’ve all experienced this, me too. It is part of the journey of faith, it is part of our lives. This should not surprise us, because we are human beings, marked by fragility and limitations. We are all weak, we all have limits: do not panic. We all have them.”
As Romans 11:1 says, “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”
And sometimes it is really hard. We long for a tangible experience with God or proof of what we sing about at church on a Sunday. Throughout the summer when so many amazing Christian conferences and festivals are going on, it can be all too easy to get really excited about God for it then to fade away in the months to come when normality hits and you start experiencing trials and difficulties.
Admitting that you are struggling with your faith can be a trial in itself too. Often when we are in positions of leadership or responsibility at church or in youth groups, we are afraid of what others may think or say about us.
There can often be an underlying lie that if you ever question your faith, it makes you a ‘bad’ Christian. Yet this is so far from the actual truth.
We are covered by grace alone, and thankfully God’s love for us does not change when our faith levels start to fluctuate.
It’s so important to have other Christians joining alongside you, in prayer and support throughout this period. Being open and honest about where you’re at with your faith can actually lead to greater truth and freedom; as you begin to dig deeper in your beliefs and gain a greater understanding of Christianity.
Be encouraged- God’s not finished with you yet.