Struggling Out Loud

'3D Character and Question Mark' photo (c) 2010, SMJJP - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

A few months ago, someone who knew me through my blog (https://ahtimsir.wordpress.com/) referred to my blog as a “ministry” — perhaps it’s because of all the posts I wrote about my thoughts on the church, the Bible, the world, about parenting, etc. I told him, “I never thought of my blog as a ministry. It’s just somewhere that I can write on and express my thoughts, because I think about a lot of things.”

A few weeks ago during small group time, Dickson said that a lot of times when he led Bible study, it was really his way of “struggling out loud” — that is, dealing with the issues of faith (and doubt) through leading the Bible study. In a way, this blog of mine is my way of struggling out loud as well. For example, if in a blog post, I am strongly advocating about a position/opinion, it’s often because I was reminding myself that I needed to learn more about it or be more strongly convicted of it.

No one struggles out loud as much as Apostle Paul did in Romans 7: “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. …… For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.” Yet even Paul’s struggling words are considered part of inspired Scripture. That is amazing.

This reminds me of a recent article by Mark Galli in Christianity Today about the nature of faith and doubt. Galli wrote: “We’re inclined to pity those who live with doubts, wondering if they are really as committed, as Christian, as we are. And our ‘pastoral’ attitude is sometimes, ‘Why don’t they just snap out of it?’ Such self-justification assumes that faith is a product of will power—that our doubtless faith is a virtue we’ve developed.” But faith is not will power; neither is “faith” a personal thing that we develop or cultivate. True faith does not really depend on us trying hard to believe better. It all has to come from God. We can have faith because of God’s grace. As we struggle, as we doubt, we are at the same time expressing our yearning and our longing for God, and to express that our satisfaction can only be found in Him.

I want to end with one more quote from Mark Galli’s article. He confessed: “I’m one of those muddling Christians, who implicitly trusts God in the face of all manner of evil, and yet who daily wavers between sin and obedience, usually giving way to the former and wistfully longing for more of the latter. Nor have I been known to enjoy beatific visions. In the end, there is only one thing that justifies our lives, whether those lives are characterized by a doubting faith or a doubtless faith. And that is the Cross.”

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