It occurred to me that perhaps an explanation of what brought on the doubts I expressed in my most recent update is in order.  There were no cataclysmic events in my life.  I lost no loved ones, received no diagnoses of terminal illnesses, and I didn’t lose my job.  For me, it’s always been the small, pesky, nagging things that brought me down.  I’ve never been all that troubled by “the problem of pain,” because it’s always made sense to me that if God’s ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts than our thoughts (Is. 55:9), then God can allow catastrophes to occur and yet still be perfectly loving and omnipotent.  Our inability to make sense of it doesn’t make it untrue.

In this case, the small, pesky, nagging thing was so small that it’s difficult to articulate, and I wonder if anyone will even understand it.  For some reason, I started asking God for…something…an obvious sign (though “sign” isn’t quite the correct word) that He was hearing my more frequent prayers and that because I was praying more often, then He was somehow closer to me.  When no such event was quickly forthcoming, I began to think “Why am I exerting so much effort into praying more?  It’s not easy and nothing seems to be different as a result.  I expected at least something.  Is God even there?”  It sounds incredibly petty, but there it is.

I don’t mean to paint the picture that my faith is always teetering precariously on the edge of doubt.  Generally, from the time I was very young, I’ve believed in and pursued God without much significant doubt as to whether or not He was actually there, but once in a while, some tiny event will start an avalanche of questioning that leads to troubling fears.  One time, it was hearing Louie Giglio for the first time explain that everything God does is not first and foremost about us, but is instead about Him and His glory (and now I wholeheartedly agree with this).  Another time, it was reading one of the lengthy footnotes in John Piper’s The Pleasures of God (a book I highly recommend) regarding God’s absolute sovereignty even in pain and suffering.  This time, it was merely pondering God’s ignoring my requests for neon signs, coupled with being tired and stressed.  Have you ever been wiped out and found yourself having darker or more pessimistic thoughts than usual?  That’s how it was with me, and the darker and more pessimistic thoughts were centered around God.

I was reminded of the fact that while Jesus came that we might have life to the full, there is a Thief who comes to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10).  The Thief is real, and he is active. He is clever enough to sneak in under our radar, to skirt the attacks that we’ll find obvious, and to find the chinks in our armor.  He knows when we are weak.  We are encouraged many times in God’s word to be on our guard against him and to take up God’s armor.  In my tired state, I allowed myself to entertain doubts instead of taking up the shield of faith.  Now that I’m past the stress and fatigue, I don’t know why the doubts seemed so large.