“Why does God bless some people and not others?”
That was one of the questions that almost ended my faith.
When I learned that miracles can happen today and that many had actually been healed, I had a brand new crisis of faith to consider. I met Christians who spoke in tongues, shared words of knowledge that were eerily accurate, and even healed people from various ailments. I saw a friend receive deep spiritual healing during a revival. I saw another receive a life-giving blessing.
Throughout all of this Holy Ghosting, I stood by, flat-footed and uninvolved. God hadn’t “poured out” his Spirit on me. I was just a regular old Christian with a Bible, notebook, and highlighter, learning more truth but not experiencing the kind of life the New Testament described.
Why not me?
Although there are many hucksters and abusers of spiritual gifts such as tongues and healing, I’d witnessed and learned about enough genuine encounters to know there was something to it. I wanted in. And when things didn’t start happening when I prayed for them, my faith took a nosedive.
What did my lack of charismatic experiences mean about my faith or about God?
I feared that I wasn’t a true Christian or that God had somehow found me unworthy. It wasn’t so much that I doubted God’s existence. Rather, I feared the end of my faith if I stepped out in faith, asked God for something, and then nothing happened. If I stepped out in faith and found only silence, I didn’t know what to do next. Should I just keep praying and waiting?
American Christianity has done a terrible job preparing me for patiently waiting on God or preparing me to deal with a spiritual “dark night” of the soul. We have language for quick fixes, processes, how-to manuals, and words like victory and break-through.
We hear a lot about break-throughs, but we don’t talk so much about breakdowns.
We hear about God delivering someone in the nick of time, but we don’t hear much about God being “late.”
I feared that the problem was inside of me and that God couldn’t or wouldn’t fix it. I feared that God was playing games with me, waiting for me to say the right words or to make the right sacrifice. If couldn’t figure out the code words, I couldn’t have the blessing.
In a sense, the hardest thing was simply letting myself ask that question. It seemed like the wrong kind of question for a good little Christian to ask. I feared the question and avoided it for years. I lived in fear and uncertainty.
The only thing that relieved the tension in my life was the moment I finally leveled up with a trusted mentor: “I don’t understand why God won’t bless me with the Holy Spirit?”
The day I asked that question, putting into words the seemingly irreverent if not downright heretical questions in my mind, I could finally do the one thing I wouldn’t let myself do: Search for answers.
We run from all kinds of questions, issues, and doubts. That running undermines our faith and alienates us from God far more than simply asking the questions we fear the most. In fact, there is freedom in simply asking what you’re not supposed to ask.
Starting Monday, August 18th, I’m going to blog about this question and some others that I wasn’t supposed to ask. These were some of the questions that guided my journey while writing my new book A Christian Survival Guide.
I’m inviting you to join me by writing your own post for a synchroblog. Here’s the prompt:
What saved your faith?
We face so many reasons to stop believing, so much discouragement, and face palm ourselves daily with the antics of certain Christians.
Why do you keep believing? What made the difference for you?
I’m inviting you to write about it and to link up for the week of August 18th. I’ll include some basic synchroblog information to include at the end of your post so readers can join in or read additional posts.
If you’re wondering how I resolved my question about the Holy Spirit and healing, I’ll write about that on Monday the 18th of August to kick off the synchroblog.
How to Join the Synchroblog:
1. Write a post for your blog during the week of August 18-23 about what saved your faith.
2. Begin your post with something like: “I’m joining the synchroblog for the release of A Christian Survival Guide: A Lifeline to Faith and Growth by answering this prompt: ‘What saved your faith?'”
3. End with a link to my post for Monday, August 18th (This is the link that is NOT live yet: http://wp.me/p36rtR-k5). Add the link up information to your post, the synchroblog image, and end your post with a prompt like this: “What saved your faith? Write a blog post answering that question and then visit www.edcyzewski.com to learn how you can join the synchroblog or to read additional posts to celebrate the release of Ed’s book A Christian Survival Guide, which is discounted on Amazon. ”
4. Link to your post in the comment section on Ed’s post and share it on Twitter with the hashtag “#SavedMyFaith”.
5. Read other posts by checking the comments or the #SavedMyFaith hashtag on Twitter. Then comment, tweet, or share the best posts you find! I’ll make a round up on Monday, August 25th.