Friday, March 25, 2011


I have watched as many of my friends have gone through some serious faith struggles lately. And, sadly, yes I do mean I watched. I have also had plenty of times in my life where I have dealt with faith struggles. For me though, I have always had the fortune/blessing at those difficult times that I was able to go on a church retreat to refocus. Unfortunately, now that I am in my middle-age years (defined as older than 20's and younger than 60 in my dictionary, sorry if I offended you), those types of retreats are much too rare for me. And, from what I can see in my friends' lives the same need for retreat exists in a big way.

Another sad reality is that I believe my friends and I that face these times of doubt, or times of waning faith find our own version of retreat today. The bad part here is that we are retreating away from God instead of into God. We get so comfortable in the surroundings of our culture that when we feel discomfort in our spiritual life, we seek comfort by diving further into culture leading us to retreat from God. Maybe this is a way of avoiding the struggles or facing our doubts. Maybe it is even worse than that, and our retreat from God is truly that: a choice to leave God, even if just for a short time. The worst news there is while we say "for a short time," this often gets out of control and becomes our new way of life. We find ourselves in a lifetime retreat from God.

Instead of retreat AWAY FROM God, away from friends who support us, and away from the very faith with which we are struggling, we actually should recognize that these are the times when MORE is needed, not less. More God, more Bible reading, more prayer, more communications with friends (Christian friends), and MORE GODLY ACTIONS. These are not the times for retreat, at least not retreat from God. It is time for retreat from self, from distraction. Those doubt-filled moments are the very times when God can make Himself most present in your faithful actions. Take those weak moments and trust God to fill you as you simply walk in faith by serving someone else.

This is one of the hardest things for me to do. It's so hard to talk to God when I am wondering if He even makes a difference anymore. But, when I do, He ALWAYS answers in a strong way. These are the times when I get new ideas on how to serve a hurting world. These are the times when compassion wells up in me (a rare thing for me). These are the times when I see and feel the Holy Spirit in and around me. When I am weak, He is STRONG! Take Jesus' lead in this and follow His example in the Garden. Jesus had a rather big faith struggle wondering if the Cross really was the right thing, but He talked to God and faithfully served others, all of humanity in the single, most critical event in history. What kind of impact can God make with you and me in our weak moments if we just hold to faithful obedience?