I feel....empty. No, that's no quite right. I feel like I'm searching for something and I can't find it. Spiritually, something is lacking. I go to church, hopeful for that elusive Something. I look for it while reading articles from really spiritually-together people. While interacting with friends, online and in real life. But I can't find it. I sit and listen to the sermon at church, waiting, hoping for the piece that will fall into place and make everything make sense. But instead, I find myself cynically replying to everything the preacher says. "God will always take care of us!" (except when He ...doesn't.) "Everything happens for a reason" (even that little girl that was abducted the other day? God better have one hell of a reason for that.) "Ask Him to show You where He wants to heal your heart" (I've been asking a long time, Lord...) "Isn't God good?" (Maybe. Sometimes. Then there's those other times...) "Lord, we pray for Your hand of healing on Brother Smith" (Right. Because that works.) "Lord, thank you so much that you spared Sister Jones' house from the fire" (what about the other houses that didn't get spared? Why do we give God all of the credit and none of the blame?)
I feel so guilty for thinking such things. I pray, but with no faith. I want to, but praying with faith didn't make much of a difference. I know that Jesus is a huge part of my life. That He cares about me and about my family. That's He's healed me from so much pain and sin and He's directed my life in obvious ways. I try so hard to listen and believe but I can't help the barrage of cynical questions and thoughts that bombard my mind. I try to talk about it with others but I'm only met with tired cliches and Christianese. It just isn't enough anymore! I'm so tired of hearing them. I need answers, real ones. And I'm wondering if there's anyone out there in Christendom who can give them to me.
I'm tired of church. I go only to find community. I love the people, the friends we've made, the community we've formed. But church...even some of the songs we sing drive me crazy. It's not the church's fault. Honestly, this church we're attending is great. The people are passionate and sincere, and the preaching is full of grace and truth. I feel accepted and loved. But for some reason, it's not enough. Enough to answer the burning questions and fill the void in my heart.
Why can't we get a break and get ahead financially?
Why can't God help us find a job that would be easier for our family?
Why do little children have to suffer at the hands of adults?
Why does my daughter have to struggle with autism?
Why doesn't God heal people?
What good does following Him really do?
If God isn't inept, that seems to make Him aloof and uncaring....
And if one more person tell me to "just take your questions to Jesus" I'm going to blow. What do they think I'm doing?? I read my Bible and all I get is more questions. I used to be so optimistic and passionate and now I don't feel much of anything except cynicism. And I hate that! I am craving community, close friendships, someone who won't either freak out or offer pad-answers when I ask questions. I sat in church on Sunday and I looked around at eager people soaking up the Word of God and I wondered, What's wrong with me? I listen to my friend tell me her problems yet still saying "but I know that God will work it all out" and I think, I used to say that. Do I still believe that? I don't know. What happened? Life, I suppose.
I think we're missing something. That Christianity, with all it's ministries, programs, churches, worship, and VBS's is missing something. There's should be so much more to this thing we call "church", this label "Christian". But I walk into a church and it's like time freezes around me, and I'm the only one still moving while everyone else is frozen and I can see all the happiness and joy on people's faces but I can't be there, experience it with them. I want to reach out and connect but I can't. Am I the only one that feels like this doing church isn't enough? Everyone else seems perfectly content while I sit here, frustrated and lonely. And doubting. I just can't seem to reconcile what I read about God with what I am experiencing on a daily basis.
I crave a real relationship. With a real God. Not the God everyone has neatly in their church-defined boxes. But the God of the Bible Who came through for His people in mighty ways. I crave community. Not Sunday morning "let's stand and worship the Lord". But Monday night Bible-study-turned-comforting-and-holding-up-the-broken-ones. Friends that do life together. Fellowship that you literally cannot live without. I've seen glimpses of this amazing life. And it leaves me wishing, longing, grasping for more. And tired of missing it.
Does this resonate with anybody?