What If I Don't Want My Faith?

For twenty-eight years, I never got angry at God.

I never questioned him when my church family talked behind my back. I never second-guessed him when my own family seemed to be unraveling and life felt like a solo endeavor (which also served as a great incubator for cynicism). And I never blamed him for letting all of this happen, even though I never doubted that he was behind all of it.

Based on the countless inventories I took in youth group, I used to attribute this to my spiritual gift: faith.

Come year twenty-nine, things changed. I kept my cool the first time my furnace died during one of the coldest days of the year in my new house with new baby. I didn't curse God the second time the same tire on my new car went flat not long after transitioning to a single income.

But when the furnace broke the second time and the tires went flat a third time, I lost it. I looked up into the heavens and called for lightning with a resolute voice:

God, I know you're there and I know you hear me. And because of that--you and me--we're done.

This was a few months ago, and we haven't spoken much since. The faith I used to be proud of now feels like a childhood chore that doesn't even merit a measly allowance. A friend of mine once said during a similar experience, "If there was anywhere else to go, I would go there." But I find myself saying, "If I could go anywhere else, God, I would."

The worst part about it is that my earlier response to hardship seemed like the right one. Even when I was daydreaming about swallowing a bottle of pills to take the edge off of existence, I never once accused God of being indifferent.

I knew he worked all things for the good of those who loved him, and I trusted that he allowed what he did for my best. So the more he does things that push me further and further from that belief, the more I've come to believe that God wants me to be angry with him.

Before you say that this is inconsistent with God's character, remember Jeremiah's words:
You deceived me, Lord, and I was deceived; you overpowered me and prevailed... if I say, "I will not mention his word or speak anymore in his name," his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot. (20:7, 9)
I don't have an answer for this (as if I was owed any), and I can't understand why his love makes me feel trapped. Then again, I don't really know God. It's fun to play paint-by-numbers theology until you run out of paint or God just flips the chess board and says, "I win."

If he's anywhere near as big as I think he is, then I'm better off trusting that I know next to nothing than trusting in what little I do know. Because it's awfully tempting to think that the tip of the iceberg speaks for the whole. I'll let Jeremiah finish this one:
Sing to the Lord! Give praise to the Lord! He rescues the life of the needy from the hands of the wicked. Cursed be the day I was born! (20:13-14)
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