What I (usually) don’t talk about when I talk about God

As you’ve probably guessed, I scan the interwebs before I blog in the morning, looking for something to catch my attention and intrigue me enough to post about. I didn’t sleep well last night so I was going to just skip it today. But then I read this post from my friend Mary Elizabeth about dealing with the questions that come up about God when terrible and disappointing things happen.

I was captivated by how clearly she describes the symptoms of long-term grief…how there’s a point where you’re sort of all cried out, even though the pain still comes back and hits you in unexpected bursts, taking your breath away.

What helped me most was how she shared the questions she wrestles with: Where/how/who is God when these things happen? How do we live out faith in the face of so much disappointment? And how do we keep on keeping on, knowing what we do, having seen what we have seen?

I can post about this today because it’s not live for me right now. Aside from feeling groggy, I’m okay about God and life today. But I’ll admit that over the entirety of my life now – good days & bad – is a giant question mark about what and how to think about God.  Because when the bad stuff hit (and then hit again, and again from angles I never expected) it became apparent that my opinion/description/conceptualization of God was woefully insufficient.

The first time I tried to express this to someone I must have done a terrible job, because the other person accused me of turning my back on God and losing my faith. It became kind of a thing. I found myself flummoxed trying to prove that I still had faith in God (try to prove that sometime – it’s impossible) but find words to describe this new awareness: that I had way, way more to learn; that whoever/however/wherever God was,  I didn’t understand it all nearly as well as I’d thought.

This was the year I grew up.  I had to hibernate for awhile; I’ve learned that I can’t process these things much while they’re churning inside me. But I emerged from that season with a deeper respect for the truth that God is indescribable, and that when we’re living life on His terms, there’s a lot we don’t get to understand, at least not here on earth. We get glimpses: ideas and encouragements and slivers of hope that make no earthly sense. And then we have choices to make about whether or not to believe.

Today, I believe.  Tomorrow (or even this afternoon) may be more of a struggle. I don’t know. But I’m comforted in my not-knowing by a certainty that even when I don’t have a handle on what’s going on, God does. I don’t understand how or why I believe this, but I believe. And while I’d love it if my faith were a yacht, piloting me smoothly from one calm and gorgeous inlet to another, life is more of the high seas/no land in sight variety, and raft & paddle faith works pretty well too.


In Heaven, though? I’m expecting the yacht :)