There are often moments of disgruntlement; times we are irked at something in our lives that doesn’t make sense, and we lack the words or understanding to deal with it. It’s an impartial emotion, an unfinished scene. We wait for the big reveal, the climax, and the conclusion; but many leave the audience dissatisfied.
There is a wire within us that threads our desire to comprehend, to make sense of everything we do and say. But it’s a sparking fuse, incomplete, potentially dangerous, yet we keep thrusting power through. It’s always a question within a struggle- what caused it, why is it happening, how do I get through?
It’s lacking. Do we ever fully feel assured in those answers?
A common reaction to these insufficient feelings, is questioning the universe, or faith. Birthed from our innate wondering, we ask each other if faith is simply a coping mechanism.
When I hear this question, my heart sinks for their digging hearts, desperately attempting to seek knowledge, to grasp whatever it is that holds so many people together and can’t quite make that next step.
The impartial question itself, leaks inadequacy; in other words, the question answers itself.
A defective problem, is simply trying to be satisfied by a defective action. We duct tape our wounds and cross our fingers it holds, meanwhile the full tool box is on the floor open and equipped.
My point is, if faith is a coping mechanism, defined as a tool that helps us survive, and it works, then how is it not real? To be clear, the specific question an individual asked me the other night was this: what about the idea of God being just an idea, something to help get us through hard times, and it just happens to work?
So here is my concern with this question: it happened to work; it worked.
For something to work, it has been achieved. Therefore, there is truth in whatever substance lies underneath. Can you truly deny something to be authentic if you are tying it with triumph? To play devil’s advocate, can you not successfully fail? In a sense yes, but we are referring to the very real and specific question here, that God succeeded in healing a person’s struggle, even if temporarily.
For someone to admit they use God as a coping mechanism, they are admitting to truths to which God provides; such as strength, comfort, freedom, grace. Are these not the things we search for in hard times? If a non-follower says the idea of God helped them through some form of emotional turmoil, then there was something real within that belief. You cannot partially believe in something, you cannot turn a concept into fragments, you cannot break a table and duct tape the pieces back together expecting it to last forever. It works in a real, tangible way, but in a month, it will fall apart. In the same sense, you can claim Jesus is a coping mechanism, but when the next struggle arises, aren’t you going to turn to Him again? Why? Because it worked the first time.
There is truth in the subtle, ignorant belief that Jesus is simply a way of thought, to numb the pain we feel. If instead of Him, we turn to alcohol, do we not fall drunk? Or is the idea of intoxication just a false consequence of drinking? What if we turn to abuse, is the physical blood and pain a mere possibility of those actions? No. Whatever our “tool” is, it has an aftermath. One you cannot ignore, and cannot sugarcoat. If we choose Jesus, we will find the hope He promises. That is not temporary, as much as we want to make it so.
So, for those that are using faith as a means to get through life, the tool box is open and ready to prepare you. Rather than dealing with a constant battle of hope and grief, why not accept the whole promise, and follow God incessantly? Feel the truth of love and grace all the time no matter the life situation. Do not use Him as a shield to stick in the closet until needed, but rather a full armor to wear endlessly. If it works in those certain situations, what makes you so sure it won’t throughout your whole life?
I pray for the hearts of those that are longing to understand who you are. They’re grasping, searching, and desiring to feel your comfort and love, but too frightful and ashamed to accept it. Lord, overwhelm them with who you are. Give them no choice but to succumb to your all-powerful ways. Let them hear you outside of struggle, just as much as within it. I pray for their hearts to soften to the idea of seeking you, the idea of you as a way of life, rather than a bottle to pick up when they feel they need to. I pray for their seeking to never cease, and they continue to search, to understand, and follow. Lord be with them, as well as myself, in chasing after faith.
Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that he rewards those who seek him