CHEWED PETUNIAS—When Faith Fails

By on June 25, 2014
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By Susan E. Richardson

“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord, (Romans 8:28-29).

One year when we were growing up, my cousin, Lynette, got a magic set for Christmas. The next time we visited, she was eager to show me all of the tricks and illusions. One in particular grabbed my attention: a simple tube with a rubber band hanging out of the bottom. The idea was to insert the hooked stem into the tube and catch the rubber band.

She demonstrated how easy it was. One try and the stem snapped back in place. So I tried. Nothing. I tried again. Nothing. I looked down the tube. Couldn’t see anything. Tried shaking it before the next attempt. Still nothing.

I handed it back to Lynette, and once again she succeeded and the stem popped briskly into place. Now my stubborn was up. I was going to hook that rubber band if it was the last thing I did. After watching my attempts for a while, Lynette—being a kind-hearted person—offered to tell me how to do it. No, I wanted to figure it out on my own.

We made at least one more visit where I spent time trying again and again to snag that pesky rubber band before I finally gave up and let her tell me the secret. Quite simple, really. The tube had no rubber band inside. The slanted tip of the stem let her squeeze it back into the tube with a snap.

With faith issues, sometimes I’ve felt like others knew a trick I didn’t know. During struggles friends would share Scripture, and I believed, held onto God’s Word, but still didn’t receive any comfort. Books reassured me that if I called God would answer, but I heard nothing. I kept doing the right things to walk in faith, but nothing seemed to touch my pain or confusion. Why did faith seem to work for everyone else and not for me?

Faith, of course, isn’t a trick, but a relationship God makes possible with us through Jesus. I didn’t doubt my salvation, and I’d had the kind of fellowship others talked about in the past. So why didn’t I receive anything from Him during a crisis?

Trying to answer that question left me with a couple of agonizing options. On one side, I had to ask if God was false. Could it be that faith was an illusion and the promises of Scripture not true? The testimony of others paled against my own pain.

On the other side, I had to consider if I were in the wrong somehow. Had I left sin unconfessed? Did God need to break something within me that I was resisting? After much prayer, nothing came to me that showed I needed to repent.

The truth is, neither option was correct. I’d forgotten the results of living as a wounded Christian.

We don’t connect to God as easily as those without damage. Adopted children may suffer from Attachment Disorder, because they did not have adequate care early on. Wounded Christians may suffer Spiritual Attachment Disorder, especially if Satan wounded us before we had a relationship with Jesus.

With damaged connections, we don’t hear or feel God like healthy Christians. While others move deeper into faith, we must go over the earlier lessons again, practicing believing what we can’t sense and trying to form a deeper connection. God understands and works with us as patiently as any parent helping a child catch up.

If you, too, have wondered why faith seems to fail, take heart. Living as a wounded Christian in a healthy Church can be challenging, but God loves us as we are and where we are. Give yourself grace to grow, as you’re able, being faithful where you are without comparing yourself to others.

Father, the way is hard. Living wounded as a Christian can lead to discouragement. Give us an extra measure of Your strength. Help our brothers and sisters understand when we don’t respond the same way they do. Above all, help us remember that You are always with us, even when we can’t feel Your presence.