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When Faith Hurts

I was raw.

Jesus’s words in Mark 11:24 (one of our “bites” this week) reopened a wound. I thought it was healed years ago. It no longer bleeds. It doesn’t even ooze, but there’s still a raw spot there, and I scraped it this week studying these verses about faith.

“Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea, and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” (Mark 11:22-24)

How many of us struggle with this verse and all the verses like it? I know I’m not alone. Which helps.

I once met a man who no longer believed in God or Jesus because he said, “There are things in the Bible that are not true.” His favorite argument was to pick apart the words in the story of Joshua who prayed for the sun and moon to stop so that they could win the battle.

So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, till the nation avenged itself on its enemies, as it is written in the Book of Jashar. The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day. (Joshua 10:13)

“The sun never moves!” he debated. He was right. The earth moves. Yet even when I tried to explain that the sun staying in the same position in the sky was how Joshua could understand it, he flatly said, “The Bible is not true.”

During our dialogue (I don’t debate) he continued to tell be about a very faithful Christian man who was full of faith and covered in prayer by many people. Yet, he died. I think this is one reason why he chose to stop having faith in the Bible and God. To be honest, he is a bitter person. Hurt is buried under a stern countenance. He has chosen to be a Humanist rather than a Christian.

Sometimes faith hurts.

It hurts when the answers don’t come, or the provision, or the healing. And we  mustered every ounce of faith that we had, but the mountains did not move. They didn’t even budge. They just got bigger.

What do we do then?

In my sorrows, I've found peace when I finally returned to faith in God's goodness. Click To Tweet

I learned this week that when I’m angry at him, I’m doubting his goodness, and that always reopens old wounds. But God taught me something else about those raw soul-hurts–those places where scriptures or teachings cause pain or anger to erupt rather than evoking peace, or faith, or joy.

Anytime faith hurts, God is inviting us to wrestle with him. He wants us to seek him in the pain.

If we don’t, these wounds will become strongholds of the enemy. If left unchecked, they become landmines just waiting to blow up when the right circumstances or scripture steps on them.

I often teach that if a verse in the Bible or a sermon or a “word” from a friend doesn’t sit right in your spirit, we need to study, dig deep into the text of the Bible, and pray and pray for the Lord to bring understanding. “Moving mountains” was actually a term used for rabbis who had profound understanding of a scripture. Maybe when we wrestle and study, and we reach understanding Mark 11:24 has come true–we moved mountains.

Sometimes when I’ve wrestled with God he has shown me my sin. But friends, when he revealed that sin, I felt no shame. Rather, I felt freedom. Again, a heavy oppressive mountain was moved.

Don’t be afraid.

Scriptures are often taken out of context which has caused the ache in us. God’s truth will always bring us freedom and peace even if its convicting.

I have a lot of studying that I want to do concerning Mark 11. From the little I’ve done, I’m convinced that Jesus’s words about moving mountains and even the answered prayer has to do with judgment and Israel and rabbinical teachings that we don’t understand. I hope to write about it one day.

But my study on this chapter doesn’t answer all of the other times Jesus spoke about prayers being answered and people being healed because of great faith. And I am still a little raw for all of those I’ve loved who went home too soon despite our prayers.

So, I’m leaning on him with this old wound that needs to scar over. I’m really glad he’s revealed it, though this week has been a bit of a roller-coaster and painful. He loves us just the way we are, but he doesn’t  want to leave us this way.

Jesus is constantly inviting us into deeper places with him. More healing. Final recovery from those wounds that have had their way too long with our hearts. Let’s don’t allow these places of hurt and pain be strongholds that keep us from living the abundant life of Christ. 

It might take months. Maybe years. But I know if we keep on wrestling for the blessing of peace with him and understanding in this area, we might limp later, but we will walk away with a blessing. Who knows, maybe even a new name. 

 

Join the conversation: Is there a scripture that scrapes open old wounds in you? How can I be praying for you?

 

Digging Deep to Live Fully,

 

andy

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6 thoughts on “When Faith Hurts

  1. Thank you for your authenticity. When old wounds hurt, I try to focus on the character of God rather than what I don’t understand. He is a good, good Father.

  2. Andy, couldn’t it be that all the words we hold Jesus to might not have meant for us but perhaps for His disciples at that time? I have come to believe this. Maybe we are letting ourselves hold God to something He never promised us after all. This is where my years of digging has brought me anyway. Thanks for your honesty. I hope mine helps rather than hurts.

  3. Wow! What a powerful word today, Andy. It’s so true. We all have those wounded places that we can’t understand with our human minds. Those doubts that linger. I’m so glad God says his thoughts and ways are greater than our ways or our understanding!

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