I lose things. Often. I’ve lost my wallet, my keys, and I’m always looking for that other shoe. The old adage is true—no matter what it is that I’ve lost, it’s always in the last place I look. I’ve learned the fastest way to find my lost item is in fact to retrace my steps, to go back to the place where I saw it last.
Except for my faith. When I lose my faith, even if only for a moment, I cannot go back to the last place where I saw it. I cannot retrace my steps to find it lying on the kitchen table.
To say something like “the moment I lost my faith” seems cataclysmic, but it really wasn’t. It was quiet. I was alone, in my car, in my office parking lot the moment I listened to the whisper that God could not be trusted. I had certainly heard that whisper before, but this time, I listened. It was terrifying.
In that split second, my heart busted wide open. That moment in time changed my future. I knew I could not go back to the way that life used to be, but I also knew I could not put one foot in front of the other without Jesus. I quickly humbled myself before God, but like Peter in my heart I could not ignore that I had just denied my Jesus.
This loss of faith was not something that was noticeable on the exterior. I didn’t leave my church or abandon my principles. I didn’t rebel and decry the notion of a personal God. Instead, I begged God to come to my rescue. I may have lost trust in Him, I won’t deny that, but I still knew of His goodness and His faithfulness to me. I knew that He would not abandon me.
I came to a point when I recognized that so much of what I had been basing my reality on simply was not true. Even the way I had interpreted God’s hand in my life was based on these misassumptions. I had based my life not so much on a lie, but an inaccuracy, and I needed to rebuild. I was living for the storybook ending I thought was coming, but I wasn’t even reading the right story.
God did restore my faith with one that was greater than ever before—different, most certainly, but greater. What I have now is a faith of quiet confidence. My Father will prevail. I am His child; victory is mine, and I wait patiently for the day when all things hidden in darkness will come to light.
I love God and believe He is doing a good work in my life. But this new way of faith is a little bit shaky, and the truths that calm my fears now aren’t exactly the same as the truths to which I once clung. I would like to go back because that other faith was easier, and my circumstances now are harder. But I can’t. I can’t pretend that I’m the same, and I can’t ignore the new place God is taking me.
Each moment of each day, God is using something to change part of me. Maybe He is also doing something else to keep another part of me exactly how it is. Because of this ebb and flow, I understand the truth of the biblical promise that I am a new creation.
For many years, I thought that newness only applied to the tear-filled moment after the 12-year-old me prayed to accept Christ into my life. From there on out, I thought the Christian me stayed the same creation until heaven. But the 15-year-old me was certainly different that the 19-year-old me, just as the 24-year-old me was different from the brand new, post-loss of faith, 25-year-old me. All of these me’s from years past that are so much alike and so much different add up to make the me of now. This me will press forward and learn more and change a little bit and stay the same a little bit.
Tomorrow morning when I wake up I will be a new creation. Tomorrow night when I fall asleep, I will be a new creation. There is no end to this newness. Thus my faith must daily—sometimes even hourly—evolve. I cannot remain the same person and pursue God.
I still don’t understand why God allowed me to live in that deluded state, believing and clinging to something that most certainly was not in my future. I do know though that God used me in that time. I know that He changed me and molded me to become more like Him, to gain some of the wisdom that I so desperately desire. My faith at that time was based on an outcome, a promise I believed God had given me, rather than in the actual person of God.
It is He who is described as both unchanging and as an all-consuming fire. Upon encountering God, I cannot expect to stay the same. Of course He will change me. He makes me new, new like the morning sun, new like the whitest snow.