Can I be honest?
Sometimes I feel like I have lost my faith somewhere.
Last night at Life Group this guy who I’ll call Mister Ed (not the horse) was talking about how we are supposed to believe the Bible and take it at face value and DO what Jesus told us to do. It reminded me of who I used to be and how I used to act. I mean back in the day (years 2003-2008 or so) when I firmly believed in and used the authority given to us as Christians. I would pace my bedroom floor speaking out loud to an audience of spiritual beings, professing scripture over my home, talking to angels asking them to go before me and prepare my work place, professing healing over sickness commanding it to leave the body, and a dozen other things that I won’t say because they make me sound like I need to live in a padded cell. Had people heard me they would have thought I was crazy. My favorite book back then was The Believer’s Authority by Kenneth Hagin and it challenged me to believe the Bible and to live daily life as if I believed the Bible. Honestly, I saw and heard some pretty amazing testimonies in other people’s lives during that time period. “Other people” being the key words.
As for me and my life, I felt like I had the crap beaten out of me. And I got kicked again while I was down. And before I could stand half way up, I’d get kicked down again. I am talking heavy weight devastating blow after blow after blow. So I eventually stopped walking in faith. I realized that being on the offensive line of spiritual warfare “did not work”. Prayer did not work. God did not listen to me or protect me so why should I pray? Days turned into weeks which turned into months. I began to live in the natural only. I still attended church, read my Bible and attended Bible study but I was numb and/or spiritually dead or just going through the motions. I had absolutely stopped speaking out loud and declaring and acting like a disciple. My faith was weak and I no longer believed in spiritual warfare. Jesus is not personally preaching at my house like He did for the disciples.
Then we met Pastor Joel Scrivner at Covenant Church where I attended in Sherman (he is now in McKinney). He was promoting his book The Supernatural You. Yep, mister I’ve been promoted to the top in ministry with my perfect wife and perfect family and perfect children so buy my perfect book. You know church can look like that sometimes. But nope. That was not his story at all.
His story was that he was raised in “Charismania” in Tulsa OK with his family having deep roots with Dr. Oral Roberts. His passion for God was unbelievable and he walked in faith everywhere he went. He believed the whole Bible and taught others to do the same. And then his 10 month old daughter was diagnosed with a brain tumor. He and his wife dove into the scriptures concerning healing, they fasted, prayed, anointed her with oil, brought her to the elders to have hands laid on her, took her back and forth for numerous medical treatments, and believed for healing in complete faith. But she died at around 1 ½ years old.
He was asked this question: “Joel, how do you balance your unwavering message of God’s supernatural power and His unchanging will to save, heal, and deliver with your own experience of loss?”
At the end of the day, that’s the same question that I was asking myself. How can I possibly live as though I believe God when many of my own prayers remain unanswered and there is so much defeat and heartache in life? What is the point of living for God when it feels like a much more difficult life than my former agnostic life was? One would think that being a “child of God” held benefits and protections. If it does, then why doesn’t it feel like it?
On Page 25 of the book, Pastor Joel says “I probably had more faith in my ‘faith’, than faith in God… Many Christians fall into this trap – thinking and believing something is going to happen because of their ‘great faith’. I thought the same thing too…until what I had believed for did not happen…”. Seven years after his daughter’s death he realized that he had become one of the “pseudo-Christians” who believed a fraction of the Gospel, had a semblance of religion, but lived a very impotent spiritual life.
And, that is exactly where I found myself after life beat the crap out of me. I completely stopped living like a modern day disciple. I knew the “correct answers” from reading the Bible and could still encourage others. But as for my own life, I was ready to throw in the towel and really did not know what I believed anymore.
So, after Mister Ed mentioned that we should be living like we believe the Bible, I dusted off the book The Supernatural You and skimmed over the highlights I had previously made. It opened to my not only highlighted but folded page on Page 61. “We are anointed to preach the Good News to the physically, mentally, and spiritually poor; to heal those who have been broken in body, mind, and spirit; to deliver those who have been taken captive by the enemy or enslaved by sin; to open the eyes of the blind and the demonically deceived, to introduce freedom to all those who have been deeply wounded and internally bound; and to declare that this is the acceptable year of the Lord and the day of His salvation! That is our mandate.”
Yes. If Pastor Joel can lose his daughter to cancer and still allow God to heal his broken heart and continue to run this race however imperfectly, then I can too. And if I can, then you can.
We are all in this together.