“Faith is not the absence of doubt.” My pastor said that one Sunday in the middle of a sermon. I typically think in polar opposites, so this thought parked my interest. I started brainstorming similar phrases:
- Courage is not the absence of fear.
- Strength is not the absence of feeling weak.
- Friendship is not the absence of conflict.
- Beauty is not the absence of imperfections.
- Good parenting is not the absence of my child misbehaving.
- Purity is not the absence of temptation.
- Living secure in my identity as God’s child is not the absence of lies.
- A great marriage is not the absence of conflict or difficulty.
- Following God is not the absence of struggle or ‘fighting for my faith.’
- Joy in my stage of life of staying at home with my kids is not the absence of the realities of things like boredom, struggle, feeling overwhelmed.
This list is so refreshing to me, because I so want my life to be ideal. I hate to feel weak; I feel like I’m not strong if I’m weak. Or I feel that a beautiful friendship will be ruined if we happen upon a conflict. When my daughter freaks out in the middle of the lobby on Sunday morning, I despair of parenting her well. But it seems that God does not think life is best lived in obtaining ideals. Instead, it seems like He’s wanting to meet us in the middle of the mess, in the midst of the struggle, wanting us to know Him there.
How about you? Do you struggle to realize God is in the middle of messiness? How would you fill in the blanks “_________ is not the absence of __________”?