Randy used this term Sunday night in his teaching and I really liked it. I’ve been thinking about it all week long. It conjures up a lot of different things in my mind.
Sometimes we like to think of faith as pristine and fitting tightly in nice little categories where everything makes sense and fits just right.
When I hear the term Rugged Faith I think of words like… Not perfect. Rough. Worn. Maybe even tattered?
Did you know it’s okay to grapple with our faith?
It’s actually a good thing to feel the tension when our faith is tested.
Often times our faith is tested when we don’t understand life around us. Whether it’s an unexpected tragedy that hits close to home or an ongoing heartache.
Faith doesn’t mean we have to respond to tragedy skipping around and quoting Romans 8:28, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
Sometimes faith will look like a family boldly proclaiming this truth in the face of tragedy because it is true that all things will work together for good to those called according to his purpose. Randy pointed out in his teaching, “God’s ‘good’ is always better than our ‘good’.” And we can trust God’s Goodness fully. But just because someone is down and hurting doesn’t mean they don’t have faith. It just might be a little rugged. And that’s okay.
When we went through infertility there was a lot of pain – both physical and emotional. Through the tears we begged God to show us what his will was for our family. To change the desires of our heart if he didn’t want us to have children. Questions like, “God, are you punishing me for something?” came out of my mouth. I asked a lot of questions. I had faith that God was who He said he was and I trusted God to work his will in our lives but my faith was extremely rugged. I was grappling with things I knew to be true of God but could not fully understand.
Don’t be discouraged if your faith feels messy and rugged. It’s in the arena of wrestling that we come away bruised yet strengthened. I find that in these times I grow the most because it helps me to cling to God in a unique way producing sweet and profound life lessons.
When we encounter Christian friends who are grieving with incredibly strong faith with great hope and confidence let’s embrace that and continue to pray for them. Let’s celebrate that beautiful fleshing out of their faith. And when we encounter Christian friends who are utterly overwhelmed in their faith and grief let’s not judge them and make accusations about their faith. Lets pray and love them well right in the midst of their rugged faith days. And by all means for our unsaved friends who grieve with no hope may our hearts be heavy enough to pray salvation over them and their household.
Friends, we either have faith in Jesus or we don’t have faith. And we aren’t born with it. In fact scripture tells us we’re born separated from Christ. But in our sin and separation from Jesus he died for me. For you. For everyone by name in this world. He wants you and me to have faith in him. And even when our faith is rugged and tattered He loves us. That’s who I want to put my faith in. Don’t you?