Like you, perhaps, I’ve learned that "it"- the Christian life- is a massive, complicated struggle. Especially at House of Mercy I came to really agree that "doubt is not the enemy of faith, but its partner." It’s not that I doubt the existence of God or something like that (as this idea is too often reduced to by some Christians). Rather, I sometimes doubt God- I don’t trust Him- don’t believe that he can/will/has really "saved" me. I doubt that "it’s all going to be okay" in the end, that perfect love really casts out fear, that life conquers death, etc. Yet I find joy and reassurance in echoing the Biblical words, "I believe/ help my unbelief," and I find that living with this tension is but one of the many rich paradoxes of the Christian life. I also have embraced the notion that BECAUSE the journey is such a struggle, it can not and must not be undertaken alone. That is, when Jesus calls me to follow Him he brings me into a community of followers that is essential to the Christian life. I love that all those ‘you’s’ in the New Testament especially that tell us how to live this life are plural- they’re addressed to the community of faith. I’ve experienced cell groups to be the most effective, practical, and meaningful way to actually BE the Church we’re called to be- a church that exists for the sake of those yet to fully know God’s love."
Anyay, suffice it to say I am very pleased about the possibility for healing and a future with hope that this faith community represents.
While writing that email to the pastor above, my Dad called to tell me my 47-year-old sister, Lee, is in the hospital. She has long struggled with a variety of un- or incorrectly- diagnosed illnesses, and has struggled to manage all of this without any healthcare coverage. It has been very trying, to say the least. Finally yesterday an ER doctor began to run the necessary tests to put some of the pieces of the puzzle together, and so this is good. Still, we don’t quite have a prognosis yet, and cancer may or may not be involved; so there is more waiting yet to be done.
I’m also struggling interpersonally in a relationship with an acquaintance who is, to my view, exceedingly self-centered and either unable or unwilling to exhibit genuine empathy or understanding for anyone else. He/she has lived their life in such a way that those around this person are trained to protect their emotions at all costs, and as I see it this has resulted in severely stunted emotional growth and a lack of accountability for the impact one has on those around them. Knowing this, I recognize that I have the opportunity to still relate to them in a positive way, so long as I temper my expectations as to what they are capable of. Still, I find this challenging as it requires a good deal of emotional maturity from me…