Monday, August 17, 2009

Faith Questions

A week or so ago I posted a question on the clergy page of The Intersection. A woman had called me and wanted a book that would give her faith. My instinctive response is that faith is an inside job and no book would be adequate to "give" someone faith, but I asked my clergy colleagues for suggestions anyway.

Now you must realize that I didn't say any more than that. I didn't mention that the woman is an active member of a United Methodist Church who, for some unknown reason, likes to come to me for counseling. I'd helped her through rage and grief so naturally she turned to me in a crisis of faith.

What I found amazing was the large percentage of those responding who assumed this was an unchurched or non-Christian person seeking either a belief system or a reason to return to church. I got suggestions of books that taught about the Christian faith; what it means to be a Christian, what Christian beliefs are, and so on. I got only a few suggestions intended to help someone through a crisis of faith.

It turns out that the woman in question had "God's will and my will" questions, not really a faith issue at all. But a day or so later a woman came to me who has had a serious crisis of faith. She's lost in that dark place where you wonder if God 's really paying attention. She is in horrible pain and knows that God could fix it if she could just believe . . .

I've been there. I think maybe we've all been there. And yes, I have a book for her. But more importantly, I have arms to hold her, ears to hear her, hands wipe away her tears, and a lot of love to give until she can feel God's arms and ears and hands and love.

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