How To Make Decisions And Move When Your Faith Wavers

"Let's go across to the outpost of those pagans,' Jonathan said to this armor bearer. 'Perhaps the Lord will help us, for nothing can hinder the Lord. He can win a battle whether he has many warriors or only a few!" 1 Samuel 14:6

When people talk about faith, they are talking about a daring faith: A faith that is confident and secure; a faith that suffers no doubt; a faith that never shakes no matter what is thrown its way; a faith that just knows; an impervious faith. But this is not my reality. In my walk with God, I have rarely had this kind of faith. In fact, I remember moments of doubts more than moments of unshakable faith. I doubt too much. What has never, ever shaken is the knowledge of God's greatness and sovereignty. So what about faith that wavers? Faith that is unsure? Who will write about that? I will.

The first time I heard that it was okay to not have the more popular type of faith, that it was okay to not be so certain was from Pastor Furtick. Every definition of faith tells you, it's the confidence of things not seen. How should I be confident about something that I have not seen? Why should I desire something I might never get so strongly? That was a struggle. Then Pastor Steven mentioned the notion of a 50/50 faith in his "Maybe: God series" talking about the will of God. Huh. That's new. You mean, it doesn't have to be a hundred percent? Wow.

And then I recently stumbled on that chapter again, and read about Jonathan myself. Woah. Pause.

Perhaps the Lord will help us.


Er. Jonathan, what we often hear is that you gotta know for sure. Let's take a step back. Jonathan was going to fight the Philistines. Describing the Philistines' army is a post on its own. But he was  going to fight them without the knowledge of his father (Saul, the king), and he was going with his Amor Bearer. The thing was he didn't know whether he would succeed. He also didn't know what the circumstances were going to be. Normally, you would expect he would have been a hundred percent certain of his success before embarking on this journey. But he wasn't. He also was not sure whether God would even help him. But he went anyway. Saying, Perhaps God will help us.

I feel like this is the reality for a lot of Christians. The problem is many other Christians tell you how they knew for sure. They do not hesitate to let you know how God directed them in his clear, loud audible voice. I'm not saying this is not the case (I don't know). I'm saying a lot of times you won't know whether God will help you, whether that business venture will succeed, you won't know what you want to do with your life, you won't know whether you should actually marry that person, you won't know if you will get accepted, you won't know what tomorrow will bring. However, something Jonathan knew, was the capacity of God.

...nothing can hinder the Lord. He can win a battle whether he has many warriors or only a few.

Sometimes, all you gotta know is the capacity of God. You don't have to know whether for sure He will help in that circumstance, but you have to know that He CAN. He CAN, but the question is, WILL he?

I KNOW He can, I think He will

I know God is with me and I think this is where He is leading me

You don't have to know that part BEFOREHAND. You just have to know that He can. Yet many Christian thought scholars expect you to be absolutely confident that He will. The thing is, I don't care if you speak tongues that bring down a high-rise, you still don't completely know God. No one does. I always used to marvel at all the: God told me to marry him. God told me to take that job. God told me to wear color purple. Girl Bye. The actual truth is, *come closer and let me whisper it to your ears* many people are just making it all as they go; we are all just winging it. So don't feel bad when you feel that way too.

Let's take a step further into Jonathan's journey. When he said perhaps, he was still in between two rocks and had the opportunity to turn back. To actually fight the Philistines, he had to go across to their outpost, and then go up to them. After deliberating with his Armor Bearer, he decided to cross over and make himself seen by the Philistines. Do you know how he decided on whether to actually then go on up to them? He said, when they cross over, if the Philistines said "Stay where you are or we'll kill you", then they would not go up to them. But if they said "Come on up and fight", then they would go up because that would be God's sign that He would help them defeat the Philistines. Wait, you mean God didn't actually say audibly to Jonathan to go on to the Philistines? Nope. God gave Jonathan victory without saying a single word.

Sometimes you just gotta work with what you have. And literally, li-te-ra-lly decide that if that thing works out then yay, that means God will be with you. It can, in fact be so basic. But we love to complicate things. If someone disagrees with you on your fundamental principles, if they are on a completely different path than you, or if you are not in the least attracted to them no matter how hard you try, maybe that's sign enough that you are not meant to marry them? Why overthink things? Why not work with the knowledge you have now. Look, it might not work but that does not mean God is not working. Like Pastor Steven said in that message,  maybe God will use this thing that i think i'm supposed to do to lead to something that i was really supposed to do so that even if the first thing fails, at least i'm not sitting in fear.

The thing this does is help with decision making. Because in waiting for God to speak or call us, we become paralyzed into inaction. My favorite saying of Bishop TD Jakes goes something along the lines of, "God already gave you trees, He is not going to come and make furniture for you." Similarly, Steven Furtick said, "why would God do for you what He gave you the strength to do?". God has given us critical thinking skills and capability, and I feel like given that, you should be able to, for instance, decide on what to wear yourself. I mean, COME ON!

So if you waver, it's okay too. Just remember  his love and his redemption are certain and constant. Know that part well. Everything else, perhaps?

The point being, there is a faith that can withstand the silence from God, that can withstand ambiguity and mystery, that can withstand the worst kind of problem



For Rachel

Last week, a formidable Christian writer, Rachel Held Evans (RHE) passed away. Her death was tragic and not just because it all started as a "simple" allergic reaction to antibiotics she was taking for the flu, which she tweeted about (!), but because of the impact she had on everyone. As testimony poured from several people about her personal reach in their lives, I couldn't help but marvel at this wonder of a woman God crafted for earth and well, decided to take at His own time...because He is ALL KNOWING.

I was so heartbroken because we lost a brilliant and courageous writer. She used her writings to embody compassion, to challenge norms, and to help people better understand their faith. She never shied away from controversial topics, and she understood her spiritual journey enough to acknowledge that God is never afraid of tough questions. She was a force. My favorite thing about her was that she constantly demonstrated that to know God is to have unanswered questions and moments of doubts. She welcomed ALL to the fold of Christ. Another thing to love about her (and there are a TON: see #prayforRHE and #Becauseof RHE on Twitter) was that she did not have that condescending smugness lots of social media Christians tend to have. There was a humility to her profession of the Christian faith that drew me to her. What a devastating loss!

As many women have also mentioned, she was a "catalyst for a freedom they didn't know was possible because of the wounds of patriarchy within the church."

I guess you probably know how I found her now. She was a Christian feminist. That's not something that is commonplace. She loved the Lord but she also believed women were first and foremost human beings, and also equal to men (including their husbands!) in the sight of the Lord.  RHE was as Bishop Curry put it, "a fearless seeker of truth and servant of God." A lot of Christians are often afraid to question, to dig deeper, to uncover truths, to challenge norms, as though if they went any deeper, they would find out it's all a lie. However, what such depths bring; what they uncover is the majesty of God, the kindness of God, and a fierce and powerful love of God. RHE knew that.

She was only 37.

Here are some befitting tributes to her and her work: on religion news; in New York Times; Christian Post; and CNN.

In honor of RHE, I want to share some of her writings that inspired me and emboldened me in my walk with Christ, and belief in equal rights for women. For instance, she writes here that if you really think the husband is the head of the wife, then you must also argue for a relationship between slaves and masters, no? She attempts to remind us that adhering to the wives submit to your husbands reasoning is accepting Greco-Roman household codes. And yes, God created them man and woman, but did he make man dominate woman? In addition, see the common misconceptions about egalitarianism. As a bonus, here she is explaining how she can be pro-life but still vote for Hilary Clinton. Oh Rachel, eshet chayil.

I hope that each time I remember RHE, I remember to be bold; I remember that social justice is a core of our Christian faith and principles; I remember to write without bother or fear because after all, God has not given us the spirit of fear but of LOVE, POWER, and a SOUND MIND;  I remember to be courageous; I remember to dig in on the values and principles I have come to cherish because my father in heaven cherishes them; I want to remember and see God as compassionate the way RHE saw God; I want to remember that it is sometimes okay to doubt; and if I can find just one gift to utilize the way RHE used her gift of writing, I think I will be okay. Because of RHE, I will speak out more. Because of RHE, I want to be brave.

Rest in peace and power, Rachel.

eshet chayil