But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties…and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you… (Alma 32:27)
If you’re a regular reader, you know my life is a mess and that I’m in the middle of a religious crisis. Here’s where I am currently:
Right now the central feeling that I’m struggling with is a belief that God has betrayed me. From my perspective, He has made promises He won’t or can’t fulfill, and He has led me into an incredibly difficult emotional situation for no purpose. As Fideline so eloquently wrote in the comments on my last post:
…If I assume that God is omniscient, then it seems very unfair that He would encourage me to pursue a course of action that He knew would result in so much pain. I have a hard time reconciling the knowledge that I have that God loves me with a God who would dangle a carrot in front of my face just to see what lengths I would take to get it and when satisfied with my sincerity would snatch the carrot away.
Fideline was writing about her own experiences, but these words precisely capture the reasons I am currently feeling betrayed by God. I’ve believed for a long time in a God who was trustworthy, who kept His promises, and who may let His children suffer the pains of mortal life but would not intentionally cause pain, but my current experiences are calling all of that into question.
I want to believe in the God that I was taught about–the trustworthy, always reliable, keeps-his-promises God. My patriarchal blessing describes a future life that I want–one that I think will make me deeply happy–and I want God to keep the promises He’s made to me in this blessing. Also, despite the misgivings I have about this church, it is fundamental to who I am, and I want to believe and live my life according to its teachings and according to God’s will.
I don’t know yet how I’m going to reconcile these desires with my pain and my doubts. At the same time, there is no chance of me sorting things out with God if I turn away from Him now.
So, I’m going to “exercise a particle of faith” (and let me tell you–it’s no bigger than a particle). I’m going to keep the commandments, attend church, attend the temple, read my scriptures, etc. I’m going to accept a calling that I’m not sure how on earth I’m going to fulfill given my current emotional state. I’m going to take my sorrows and doubts and pain to God and Christ and see if They can help me make sense of them.
Eventually something will give, and I’m facing some hard decisions in the not too distant future. I know I need to redefine my relationship to God, and I’m not sure how radical that redefinition will be, but I want to give Him a chance to have input into that process. It’s difficult not to wonder if I’m only setting myself up for more of the same: doubts, questions, pain, betrayal. But I’m going to try and hold onto my belief in the wisdom of God and the power of Christ’s Atonement for at least a little while longer.
- 4 May 2009