Monday’s confession of faith

I probably look like I always love him and I never doubt

And for many months this can be true

 

For many months the thought of him is sweet and I believe his words and am

So happy to be part of his family

The Bible is alive and the Lord’s Supper full of meaning

And when I sit in church on a Sunday morning, the sound of my own people singing hymns

Is the feeling of slipping into a warm and fragrant bath

 

But I will tell you honestly

Sometimes

I cannot stand us

Sometimes our meetings are endless and our trivialities a millstone

And our pastors insufferable

(Yes, I married one of them)

(His wife is even worse)

Sometimes God’s people are not that good

I said sometimes God’s people are not that good

Sometimes God’s people are not that good, folks

And the Lord’s Supper tastes like breadcrumbs and nothing more and

The magic does not descend

 

Sometimes it is a small discrepancy in Scripture that I stumble over

Calling into question the whole book and everything I’ve swallowed

 

Sometimes it is just life, when so many bad things happen at once that I wonder

How can it be that someone out there is taking care of us?

Would life look any different if he were nothing but a figment of my imagination?

 

And

What if he is there, but not who I always thought?

And

Can anyone really be that good?

 

Sometimes I drop into darkness and know that the world is empty of a Messiah

And that hanging all my heart on this one man to be true

Is folly

 

So I cry

 

And then

I blow my nose and think

Well

Here I am

If I can imagine a God better than the one there is, what kind of contradiction is that?

Wiser people than I have hung their hope here and found grace to live and die by it

(Some of them attend church with that pastor’s wife

And love her anyway)

 

I have not found another philosophy on earth

That makes anywhere near as much sense as the one that says

The Master suffers

And pain heals the world

 

And

Discrepancies aside, the fresh-air truth blowing out of those pages gives me reason to go on

There is more right about this amazing, historic, eerily accurate book than wrong

 

And

If he is not

There is nothing to explain the beauty

And how buds form every spring and seeds grow and the earth is renewed and people are sometimes kind

 

And I pray please, please be real. I need you to be real.

Who will I turn to instead?

 

I probably look like I always love him and I never doubt

But I believe in doubt

As the birthing stool

Of faith

 

26 thoughts on “Monday’s confession of faith

  1. Me too.
    Now I know why I loved your blog and connected with your writing from the first.
    I’ve been reflecting on my own journey of faith and doubt as I anticipate the opportunity this weekend to tell a younger gal who is struggling “I’ve questioned and doubted too.”
    Amen, especially to the last line – “I believe in doubt as the birthing stool of faith.” I believe it with you, because I have seen and experienced it.

  2. Oh Shari, I had to read this several times. Thank you for putting in to words what so many feel but are afraid to voice. As the person above me said, your honesty is refreshing.

  3. No wonder the people at her church love their pastor’s wife…. it is difficult not to be fond of someone who is so honest. Thank you for being a good example of saying what we all know — sometimes this whole Christian thing doesn’t make sense. And even though we go on during those times, it helps to know others have slogged right with us.

    • Thank you, Shana. But I meant the kind of love that says “We are committed to this lady and will not give up on her,” not the kind that says “Aw, she’s so awesome.” They know me pretty well. So just to clear that up – and now I’m grinning. I need the first kind of love from them more than anything else, and I’m forever grateful that they give it to me.

  4. This Monday’s confession matches the feelings I wrote in my journal this morning- exactly. Thank you for letting me know I’m not alone!

  5. <3 A man I know, gave the story of when he was a child. He had warts on his hand. He went to his mama one day and said "God can heal my hands from these warts" and his mama said "Yes he can" They prayed, and the warts disappeared right before their eyes. At this time in his life him and his wife are going through great trials. (His wife needs a liver transplant) He told us that he thinks God gives those times of obvious miracles so that when we go through the hard times we can look back and remember those answers to prayer. and don't doubt during the wilderness/dry/difficult times. That was such an encouragement to me.
    I too have had my times of doubting, during difficulty, but I know God has answered my prayers many times. So I'm challenged to look back and remember those times when I'm tempted to doubt. It seems like lately I often have to tell God I choose to serve you even tho your not showing yourself to me at the moment.
    ...and YES THIS! "But I believe in doubt as the birthing stool of faith"

  6. I’ve been a quiet reader of your post since last year…but this was too beautiful and honest to be quiet. Your words put on paper what my heart has felt.

  7. “Do not be deceived, Wormwood. Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy’s will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.” ― C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

    Love to you, and prayers in faith that Jesus will help our unbelief…

  8. For most of my life I would have been with the alarmed rather than the refreshed. But God has taken our family through some dark valleys over the past few years, and it has changed our lives. Jesus has been with us, and without His friendship we would have lost our way. Another friend has been there too, for over the past year. I share many loves with her: coffee, children, creativity, music, books… She communicates with grace and wit about hard subjects that I can relate to: depression, sensory-driven children, orthodox stones,:) doubts…
    Have you recognized yourself yet? Thank you Shari, you don’t know how often I have felt the loving understanding of God here.
    I remember meeting you as a very little girl, and you littler, still. I have a faint but certain memory of a small Shari and her parents eating lunch at my parent’s table. My mother is JoEllen (Skrivseth) Weaver and I grew up hearing Zook stories. (mostly TIm, whose family my parents still keep in touch with)
    God bless your day, as you have blessed so many of mine!

    • Aw, this made me want to cry – except for the orthodox stones, which made me laugh. Thank you for saying hi and sharing what Jesus has done for you.

      The Skrivseths are very special to the Zooks. Instant ticket to VIP status. 🙂

  9. “Sometimes God’s people are not that good” …truth(tears)
    “But I believe in doubt as the birthing stool of faith” …life-breathing(more tears)
    Thank you for this raw honesty…it’s good to know we are not alone.

  10. I have been missing so, so much by not reading here. Tonight catching up on your blog has me bawling my eyes out.
    Church has been so blah in the last months and everywhere I turn there’s another question that deserves to be answered, but the Answerer is silent.

    You wrote this with such grace and beauty. And I love Ryan’s comment too.

    To whom else would we go?

    Plus, you are SUCH a gifted writer, Shari. Thank you.

  11. Thank you for your honesty and vulnerability. I too experience this. Months of amazing and deep fellowship with Him even in the really tough times. And then – deep doubt that it all is a figment of my imagination. We need each other – to share our doubts and hear encouragement. Thanks for sharing.

    Our lives are very different – I’m single, working overseas at a hospital – you are a mom busy raising littles and caring for a home. Yet in the busyness and truth seeking/sharing and caring – your blog resonates with me and often speaks into where I am and brings smiles to my face. Just so you know – He uses your words here in another land as well. 🙂

    • Thank you! I always love to hear from you; it is a bright spot from the time we shared a community. I am so grateful for the faithfulness of Jesus in using even our faults to draw us and others closer to himself. He’s so good. I pray he will be especially near you!

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