Sometimes, a question will pop into my head that lingers in my mind and sets fire to my thought processes. This recently happened to me. The question was this—do I love God, or my own theological version of God? As a Christian, it can be so easy to get these lofty, idealistic ideas about a God who is more infinite and vast than anything else in the universe, which leads me to ask—what if I’m wrong? I’m not saying I’m wrong on the core foundations of belief, but what if I’m wrong on secondary issues? Calvinism vs Arminianism, my idea of how God’s sovereignty works, the process of sanctification, the “age of accountability”…the list goes on, but there’s NO WAY I can be right about ALL of it.
I’m broken, which can shift my perspective on Scripture. AGAIN—I’m not saying to do away with the core beliefs of Christianity, held up by early Christian tradition, the Church (universal)’s theological stances we all agree on, and Scripture, but the secondary things. I’ll ask it again—what if I’m wrong? Does that change how I feel about a God that I will never understand? If my view of predestination, or God’s sovereignty is wrong, do I still love Him all the same? How much of a foundation of my faith is built on a “god” who looks, acts, and behaves much like I would if I was God? Is that God, or an idol of myself that I have made God?
All of these questions were spurred by watching someone in my family die. Towards the end of their life, I watched their faith unravel because of the foundations the faith was built upon. A good portion of their faith was built on the belief that God only wanted life to be easy, The Lord’s blessings came in the form of monetary or material things, and if you prayed hard enough—God would answer your prayer exactly like you wanted. As cancer began to overtake their body, they continually prayed for God to heal them. It didn’t happen. The battle with cancer became a losing battle, and the danger of death became imminent. They started saying things to me like, “I don’t understand why God is allowing this to happen?” While this is a valid question to ask, the places this question took them became darker. “I just wish God would (explicative) kill me already” and “if I could end myself I would, but I’m stuck in this (explicative) hospital”. From that point on, they stopped talking about/praying to God. I don’t know where they landed with faith, that’s between them and their Maker, but their words became silent when Jesus was brought up. While I don’t know where they landed with faith, it seems as if their foundations were set in sand with the statements said towards the end of life.
I will say one thing—a god who wants your life to be easy all of the time, gives you material possessions, and grants every wish like a genie is the kind of god I would want to be—but that probably means it isn’t God. God is so much bigger than that. In Job, Job asks God why bad things happen to good people, and God answers his question by saying Job’s asking the wrong questions. This means that I can spend my entire life trying to figure out God, and the conclusions I may come to may be dysfunctional. Faith at times is a continually deconstructing and rebuilding of my beliefs on secondary issues.
My secondary beliefs are generally formed from my life experiences. The more I lean into these secondary beliefs, the more I create a god, instead of following THE God. A god who acts, brings about justice, agrees with my political ideology, and does things exactly like I do may not be God. If God who is more indescribable, infinitely more wise, and cannot be fathomed by any human being doesn’t fit into my self-created box He was never meant to live in—how do I react? To combat the complete unraveling of faith, you have to continually ask yourself, “how much of my faith is built upon secondary theological foundations it was never meant to be built on?” You may be surprised at the deconstruction and rebuilding that needs to take place with the help of Scripture.