This has taken me much longer to write than I care to admit. I found myself having to create some distance in the time I began to map out this post and actually writing it. The reason?
There are moments when the circumstances of your life cannot be explained through reason. They cannot be explained by past experiences. If we are honest with ourselves, in these moments when everything in the world is against you, it is so easy to say: “I don’t deserve this!”
As Christians, we are not immune from these difficult moments in life. Life still is filled with heartache and challenges that we are not ready for. We weren’t expecting them. But we have theology to help explain these feelings, right? We know our Theology Proper. We know that God is sovereign, and faithful, and merciful, and full of grace. And yet in Scripture we have verses like what we find in Psalm 10:1, “Why, O Lord, do you stand far away? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble.” Or like what we find in Psalm 13:1, “How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me?”
In both of these psalms, David, a man after God’s own heart, does not see God’s Presence active in his life. He does not see God saving him from the peril which he faces. I would argue he is questioning God’s faithfulness in these psalms. He knows in his head that God is faithful. He knows in his head that God is not far off but is “near to the broken hearted.” So why does he question God like he does in these psalms? Maybe you have experienced a similar crisis. Very recently…I have.
As a Christian and as a seminarian, it is easy to believe that I must ‘hold it together’ and keep a right mind when it comes to what I believe about God. If God is faithful in His Word, then He must be faithful in my life as well. If God is merciful and loving in His Word, then He must be merciful and loving in my life as well. But if I’m honest with myself there are times when my head and heart are disconnected. What my head knows and my heart feels can be two different things. I can wholeheartedly believe that God is sovereign over all and yet feel as if my life is crumbling to pieces. I can believe that God is faithful and yet feel as if God is against me.
Some may call this a lack of faith, and for the most part, I would agree with them. A disconnect between our head and our heart can be a warning sign that something in my life is not as it should be. Thankfully God has not called me to be perfect in my faith but instead has called me to be dependent upon Him for my faith. I pray, though, that the church be honest in its approach to Christians who find themselves in these situations. When we hear that people are struggling in their lives, that their heart does not match what their head is telling them to be true, we should not simply correct them with Truth in hopes that a verse or two will solve this disconnect. This often does not help the situation but makes it worse. Helping people through these issues is something that can take time. It requires vulnerability. It requires loving encouragement. It requires a community coming alongside to listen and to lovingly respond with the the reminders of God’s grace. It requires Christ’s healing power to fill in the gap between head and heart.