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Why Do I Struggle to Believe? (part 1)

God, by definition, is an entity that no person could ever understand. If he could be understood, he might not even be worthy of our worship. Yet we get constantly bombarded in Christian circles and in secular circles with definitive statements about God. Little sayings like “God helps those who help themselves” (which is not biblical, but instead comes from Poor Richard’s Almanac by Benjamin Franklin) cause us to box God into a neat, little, understandable package. They almost seem like commands, as if they speak with enough conviction, God will shape himself into their mental picture of him.

When I put it that way, you probably think that it’s absurd to try to limit the creator of all things. But that is often our tendency. I know that it’s mine. We have these personality tests that group people into 32, 16, 9, 4, or even 2 categories (depending on the test). Are you a type A personality? Are you an enneagram type 9? It’s all arbitrary! people are not defined by what their zodiac sign tells them this month, and they are not constricted to their Myers-Briggs personality.

We box people into these groups and ignore any information that may be outside of how people are “supposed to” act. We define ourselves as an “ESPN” or something (I know that isn’t one of them), then we read up on it, then we intentionally or unintentionally adopt those behaviors saying “it’s just who I am, this website says so.” But people can still choose to act differently. No numbers or letters define us.

God, in this respect, is no different. We come up with these theological terms, like “chiliasm” or “trinity,” which become so far removed from their original intentions that they are now essentially expectations. Expectations placed on God will lead to our disappointment and confusion, because God cannot be understood and may very well operate differently than we expect.

This is likely the reason you struggle to believe. If you are anything like me, church phrases may cause you to stop listening. Phrases such as “nothing new under the sun,” “the foot of the cross is level,” and “wrestling with God” often cause me to think that Christianity is a broken record. Have we really said everything worth saying? is this it?

If these questions sound like what you’ve ever thought, just know two things. One, you are not alone because your questions are valid, and two, this is not it. Christianity is about more. God is more than the sermons you’ve heard. These questions are just the beginning of a beautiful journey into true faith.

Search for God. Truthfully and earnestly. Struggling to believe just means you’re challenging your knowledge, which is the first step towards growth.

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