For sensitive subjects, my mother communicates with me through books. After a three-year dating dry spell, my mother purchased me How to Get a Date Worth Keeping. Three months into an actual relationship, I received a link to a new book my mom explained as “funny…you might enjoy her style of writing.” The book—He’s Just Not That Into You. I had never been a girl to cling too tightly to someone or something, but, the truth is, I had also never really liked a guy—flaws, inabilities and all. The problem is, I had also never had a guy who didn’t really like me. So, as I started seeing patterns and inconsistencies, part of me still believed in the safety, and in the security of this guy.
That is, until he kissed another girl.
Suddenly a deniable reality presented itself full face as an undeniable truth—Really, he just wasn’t that into me. Really, as much as I wanted to, tried to, worked to, I couldn’t trust him with, well, me. I found myself in a scattered world, working to pick up so many things I had dropped along the way, including my relationship with God. Because, here too, is the truth—somewhere between the “falling” and the “kissing” and the “working on us” I had lost the hunger to simply know and glorify God.
So, I did what any typical girl does as she is trying to get over a guy; I pulled out every book by every author I respected and sat in my room and read. When I think of the great cloud of witnesses mentioned in Hebrews this is what I think—men and women who have left an indelible mark on the world. Men and women who have struggled, thought, fought and found faith in the midst of circumstances often more harrowing than mine.
I sat with Dallas Willard, John Piper, Augustine, C.S. Lewis, Luther, Kathleen Norris, Anne Lamott, Bonhoeffer. I sat and I thought and I wondered who God was and why I felt more security in the arms of a fallible, still-in-process guy than I did in the arms of my God and Father.
And I realized through a painful ordeal of necessary self-probing that A.W. Tozer talks of, and through the wise words of my friend Lindsay Swain, who I think the world needs to know, that I do not believe God. And as Augustine states, “Unless you believe, you will not understand,” which means that I stood in a total nebulous fog.
Please, don’t misunderstand me. I believe that Christ is the way, the truth and the life. I believe that His blood is the propitiatory sacrifice and through Him alone I come before the throne of God redeemed. I believe in God, I just don’t believe God. I don’t believe what He says, I don’t believe His promises and I don’t even have enough faith to release the people I love into His hands when He asks me to. I am, by definition a doubter. A scoffer. A dubious daughter.
I sat in my room, my comforting stacks of books around me and realized that I daily stand at the foot of the cross and say, “That is not enough. That is not sufficient. I need more, more evidence, more proof, more. That blood has only gone so far.”
I realized that as I looked to a guy for comfort and security that seemed so real and so close, God stood behind Him arms open, saying, “No. Look here first. Look to me first. Come to me first. Because I love you. I promise, child, that what I have said I will do.”
And I found my starting point. I found the place where God has something He wants to show me, something He wants me to focus in on and not be distracted from. I found the point—I believed in God, but I didn’t believe God. But I wanted to. I was in the defining steps. I wasn’t a person of faith, but I wanted to be one. I wanted to believe down to my mitochondria that “He has given us everything necessary for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him.” Not just a few things. Everything. And I knew that, as Anton Chekhov says, “Man is what he believes,” and I wanted to be a person living a redeemed life because I truly believed I was redeemed.
Here is where my dear friend Laura Adams would ask, “What does that mean? Make this tangible for me.” And I would respond, "I think it begins with the very question of what this means. I think it begins before God, prostrate saying as the man in Mark, ‘I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief’.” It begins with the very realization that I do not believe, but I want to and I am ready to begin asking the tough questions.
The questions which, I hope, will lead to God, because if they don’t, then the answers are fruitless (as St. Augustine says). I am ready to start, and I believe the best place to begin is right where I am.
Hello, my name is Amber. I am a doubter, and I don’t believe God, and I want to know why. I want to begin to change what I believe.