My wife and I are currently undergoing the biggest crisis of our lives. I cannot go into details right now, but this crisis is definitely not the biggest crisis that can happen to a family. We are all healthy, no one has died, we still have a home, etc.
However, with what we are going through right now, we find it very easy at times to be angry at God and other Christians.
And as we ask ourselves, “Why is this happening to us?” one reason Wendy and I keep coming back to is that God wants us to understand how a life crisis can lead a person to deny and reject Jesus Christ. We haven’t gone through one-tenth of what some people go through, but I think we now have a glimpse of what it is like.
When Bad Things Happen
When bad things happen to a person, it seems like God doesn’t care.
Then, to make it worse, Christians come along and many of them stab you in the back. In such times, people are prone to think, “God must not exist after all. Or if He does, and this is how He shows His love, and this is how His people treat one another, I want nothing to do with Christianity.”
One thing is for sure, as the country song says, “It’s times like these you find out who your friends are.” And in times like these, it certainly doesn’t seem that God and Christians are very good friends…
So I see why people leave the church. I see why people turn to alcohol and drugs. I see why people become atheists. As another country song says, “There, but for the grace of God, go I.”
2012 Update: This was a post from January, 2008. Looking back, we feel that every Christians should go through times of crisis like this. It helps us better understand others who experience many such difficulties in life.
I’m praying for you Jeremy.
David Annabell says
Likewise – praying for you.
I wonder why it is that we subconsciously believe that if God loves me, He will make sure that nothing really bad will ever happen to me. We can, of course, say that we don’t believe that, but when crisis strikes, our reaction betrays our true belief.
Is it an expression of my own sinful nature that I twist God’s love and grace into a selfish expectation that He will protect me from all serious harm?
The we struggle is trying to apply all bible section and verses to ourselves. And believing we are more important than we are.
Jonathan Perreault says
I think the internet and blogosphere can be a tough place to live your Christian life. I guess this can be both good and bad. Maybe it would help to surround yourself with those Christians in your life who are closest to you and give the internet a break for a bit. Just a thought to pray about.
Brian Hedrick says
A post like this does grieve me…I did try to encourage you in the other thread over this crisis you are in or whatever you are going through, but please don’t blame the Lord…I dont understand what you are going through. I got to tell you…I stand on the truths of the old fundamentalist faith. Jeremy, my father was a Pastor who often befriended athiests and I can actually remember how we had a neighbor in Ohio where we would go to his observatory and look through his telescope and see the beautiful stars. Dad would witness to him in increments and he even once gave him a book by Dr Custer from Bob Jones called the Stars Speak. Dad befriended many and today he still does as he tells them about Christ.
My biggest baffling boom that knocked the wind out of me was the day he had to step down from the ministry because he committed adultery with the secretary. It was heartbroken. I would also scream at God at night, but let me tell you. He never let me down and deep down inside I never really doubted him…I just hurt alot. Dad underwent years of Church discipline and banishment from Church for a while, but he has encouraged me to keep the faith once for all delivered to the Saints and is still a fundy today in spite of all the incredible and bizzarre things that occured. The man that led him to the Lord years ago and was from Bob Jones himself told him to always learn balance in the ministry…it is an ongoing thing. His name was Bill Tate and he was a tremendous witness to people and always will be as well as a fundamentalist. He never took himself to seriously like I often do to much of and Dad has encouraged me away from doing to much of. It was hard to look past my Dad as a failure in my eyes and to look to Christ only. Every man will fail one day…all of us already have, but the cross is where Jesus took failure and made something beautiful and it is the fulcrum of all eternity.
I had to get past the hurt though and stand firm on the biblical truth that fundamentalism represents and the finished work of the cross in spite of everything seeeming to go south in my life. I was treated like the plague by many Christians after my father stepped down and for years that is one reason I struggled to remember the forgiveness of God that I received at the cross as I saw so many Christians get angry at one another because of what my dad did. It was hard. Please don’t turn on our dear Lord. Love His cross. It is there that he heals all of our wounds as we fall broken upon Him. That is the only place I ever found life and peace from this soooooorrrrrrrrrrrrrroooooowwwwwwwww! Oh please brother, dont turn from Him who loves you so.
Though I stand with Lou and others who defend the cross in the gospel, my heart breaks for you right now, even though I disagree with some of what you are dabbling in. Hang in there please and give all this baggage to Him. I will continue to pray for you.
I can remember an old quote by AW Tozer(yes I know he is classified as Lordship but please consider this quote:
“In order for God to use a man greatly He has got to hurt Him deeply”
Also I have an old book by the late Reggie White and former Green Bay Packer who loved the Lord deeply and perservered though some really tough stuff before he died…along with His wife.
“To all of the hurting souls out there, many whom have been called by God, who have been judged and ignored by man. Please forgive us for not loving you for who you are and for not representing God the way we should. Remember sometimes we go out on our own, and we do not act accordingly; therefore, don’t take our stupidity out on the ONE who created you and loves you….God.” Reggie White – In The Trenches
I read that quote at one of the bleakest days of my life.
Again, I stand by Lou’s position and understand why he is calling the crossless gospel out of the woodwork, but I believe deep down that these turbulant waters of doubt that you are passing through will bring you to a greater love and understanding of the cross. Forgive me if I have misunderstood you somehow in something, but we cannot apologize for believing in the cross of Christ and His power there. I encourage you to have a change of heart about all of this and fall down into his arms there. I love to remember how all of my baggage was taken care there at Calvary and how blood and water fell from the broken heart of Israel when they peirced his side and from His death and blood poured life for me. That which is born of the flesh is flesh and that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit. We must understand earthly things in this earthly death to understand life and receive it. We were born in water and his water passed from Him and His pure blood washed us clean into white garments to praise Him in in all the midst of this sorrow, so that we receive joy. Did you ever notice that in the book of John after they pierced His side that John says he saw and testified of these things so that we would believe?
Oh their is such hope in Him. Peter was delivered from this sifting hour…oh sweet Lord Jesus deliver Jeremy from these dark temptations and bring HIm close to your bosom.
I will be praying for you tomorrow Jeremy. I never could understand the Civil War in America, but I know the country had to pass through its crucible to be purged.
Antonio da Rosa says
What would Paul do?
There are big problems with expecting that faith will bring happiness or prosperity. They are not what the Gospels offer.
Your brave for sharing with us that your going through a crisis. Having been through several in 25 years of marriage, 22 years of military service, two tours of pastoring/eldership in two churches you definitely know who is a friend and who isn’t when a crisis hits. And it is usually Christians that do the most harm.
Peter said, “So, since Christ suffered in the flesh, you also arm yourselves with the same attitude, because the one who has suffered in the flesh has finished with sin, in that he spends the rest of his time on earth concerned about the will of God and not human desires.” 1 Peter 4:1, 2
I believe that all the apostles taught that we grow through suffering. My personal desire is that you find comfort in God. For those frail humans who are born again, of whom most are still in the nursery drinking milk, bear with them. As Paul said to do. Also, if someone is criticizing you (we both know what that is like) it has always been helpful to me to remember that there are two types of critics, those who want us to fail. We are foolish to take their critique too seriously. Those who want us to succeed. We are foolish not to listen to them.
You know how to get a hold of me, let me know if there is anything I can do.
P.S. If you need some interesting reading I will be sending the draft of a 150+ page response to the anti-crossless gospel advocates to Dr. Lewis this weekend.
Liam Moran says
I do hope you can find a mature, godly believer to share your heart and struggles with. It is good to be able to get together with another godly believer in person to confide in, share struggles with and pray with (Gal. 6:2). Some people like to write extended e-mails and/or letters to others when dealing with issues or conflict. However, this can be so cold and impersonal. It is always best to share concerns, struggles and burdens with others in person.
First off I need to disclose that I am an atheist. I have no hate for gods or the faithful. I have no desire to convert or otherwise get people to abandon or rejct their faith.
Being angry with your god or other christians is not a reason to reject your faith. If you walk away in anger, you will feel guilt, doubt and regret later on. If your faith is much a part of you as it seems to me, that path will lead you to more pain. Bad things happen. If you see it as part of a divine plan, you simply must pray for understanding while accepting the possibility that it will never come. If this leads you to different conclusions, such as that all things are random and there is no god directing anything either for or against us, then think on it. Argue it, as I did, with yourself and others, from all angles. Take positions against yourself and see if they make sense. If you come to the same conclusions that I did, then you should consider walking away. But don’t do it in anger.
Pain clouds our judgement. Do not make life-changing decisions while under it’s influence.
Besides, angry ex-christians make really lousy atheists. 🙂
If you feel I can be of any help, you can contact me through my blog.
Jon Lee says
1 John 4:9
In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.
I constantly need to remind myself of this verse, in regards to loving me – God has nothing more to prove. There is no darkness in Him – anything bad that happens to me is caused by forces that oppose Him. Why do we seem to always question Him and not the real author of our trials? I suspect, at least in my case, it’s because we feel entitled to more – but could He show us He loves us any more than He already has?
If anything is heretical, it is Tozer’s quote – the only person God ever hurt deeply was himself on our behalf.
Blessings my brother – I’ll be praying for you and your beautiful family.
Brian Hedrick says
A Doctor applying a scapel in surgery hurts his patient, but only to help and to heal him. That is the purpose of the Tozer quote. It seems so many are often disposed to pulling the heresy trigger. Please note that I never called you a heretic Jeremy, I just consider the crossless gospel heresy and am not sure where you are at this point. At this point only God knows what is going on in your heart right now. Embrace the cross. It is for our good and can only come through kind affliction that is meant to chip away at the lump of coal to reveal the diamond…and unfortunately it does hurt, but God is indeed righteous yet his ways are mysterious.
For the life of me I cannot understand why someone would jump on the Tozer quote so quickly and leave this huge collossal truth of the cross in the rearview mirror.
Well, you guys take care and Jeremy your struggle is in my prayers as it was today. I encourage you to hold fast in spite of it all and find your hope in God and not in man. He is the only one you can trust. Not any group you join.
Ken Wilson says
I like “Bullet’s” comment as an athiest (I suppose he means an agnostic since I doubt he is the first person in the universe to ever prove beyond any doubt with scientific evidence that God does not exist.)
I quote , “Besides, angry ex-christians make really lousy atheists.” He is correct. Anger and bitterness at anyone is a rotteness to the bones. It shortens our lives in length as well as enjoyment and productivity.
When my childhood sexual abuse from my grandfather finally reached my conscious mind at age 40, I had my own crisis which became Christless. How could any loving “God” allow such evil that had seriously damaged my relationship with my own wife and children, parents, and others? In an angry moment of brilliance, I even told God that He could send me to Hell because I had no desire whatsoever to spend eternity with such a “God.” I spent 3 days reading through the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation looking for answers. This blog does not permit a full treatment of what I found. But what most impacted me was Hebrews 5:7-8. “Who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death – and was heard because of His godly fear – though He was a Son, He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And having been perfected….” If Jesus had to suffer, who am I?
Sin and suffering are inevitable in this fallen world controlled by Satan. Even for “godly” Christians sin is inevitable. We suffer most at the hands of our family, brothers and sisters – just as Jesus did. Betrayed by all. Yet God really does work all things together for good for those who love him and are called according to His purpose. I would not trade my time of suffering for anything (in retrospect). Because, it finally occurred to me that the God, whom I had cursed, still held His arms around me and loved me – His unconditional love would not allow even my own stupid, infantile rebellion stop the flow of His amazing grace and mercy to me as His son – guaranteed for all eternity because of faith alone in Jesus Christ. I broke down and cried and cried and…. I now understand what grace is. But only through suffering more than I could ever imagine. As a surgeon, I don’t like trusting other people with the knife.
But now, I can finally trust God when He cuts away my cancer.
I’m praying for you, brother. E-mail or call me anytime.
Ken Wilson, M.D., Th.M.
Pope K says
Jeremy, man, you’re going to hell. You doubted!!! I just thought I’d stop on here and see what was going on and I’ve got to tell you, the platitudes make me want to puke. Coming from someone who knows bitterness and disappointment I can only tell you one thing, life sucks so buy a helmet. I guess I’ve learned not to give up on God, but anyone and anything else, including well-intentioned “Christians” are just farts in the wind. You got shafted and I stand by that 100%. Keep asking the questions and doubt anyone who tells you they know the answers. Hang in there and come get me first if you decide you want to go on a killing spree. I’ve been practicing my marksmanship.
Oh yeah, what would Paul do? I bet he would grab a six pack and a pen and write some pretty pissy letters to all those pseudobelievers that hurt him. Just my opinion though.
Keep in touch.
Jeremy Myers says
Wow…a broad spectrum of comments here.
As I have had a few days to reflect on what is happening in my life right now, I have gained a bit of perspective, and realized that the “crisis” I am going through is one that countless people go through every day in America and around the world. I just watched the 10:00 news, and saw a story about several people who are facing the exact same crisis. I feel like quite a whimp for getting so concerned and worried about it. If this really is the worst crisis I have ever faced, I guess I have lived a pretty sheltered and safe life up until now.
This crisis certainly is revealing a lot about my heart and my faith, which will require further reflection on my part.
Needless to say, I am not in any danger of losing my faith, or of becoming an atheist (I did laugh out loud at Bullet’s comment, since it is so true). Even in this crisis, I am beginning to see God’s hand at work in some very interesting ways (Rom 8:28).
Brian Hedrick says
That is good. God is good all the time and all the time God is good.
Jeremy Myers says
This is Wendy, Jeremy’s wife.
I must say that Jeremy is being quite hard on himself. It is not just this recent crisis that has us troubled. Our life, like any of the rest of you out there, has had it’s fair share of crises and God has always seen us through and never allowed us to become bitter.
I suppose the reason this one ranks so high right now is because we are already tired from the last three years of trials and the previous six years upon that which included a trial much like the one were going through now. (Yes, many of you are thinking, “Well, I hope you learn the lesson this time.” To that I say, “Thanks for the support!”)
And the most trying part of this situation is honestly the response we’re getting from some Christians. In general, and though there are exceptions, non-Christians are showing us more grace and support than Christians. We feel that Christians should be the most gracious people around, but our experience has shown the opposite.
Hopefully, Jeremy and I can be people of grace to others, and eventually use what we are learning now to teach other Christians how to actually live out the grace we all so loudly proclaim.
Wendy, H.M. (Homemaker), M.T. (Mother of Three)
David Wyatt says
Bro. Jeremy, & sister Wendy,
I cannot say that I know what you are going through since I don’t & can’t. But I do believe I know some of what you may be experiencing & I really do want to say that I am so thankful that in Christ we have the freedom, yes it is freedom, to just pour it all out to Him, & certain of His people that can really be trusted to help. Psalm 62:8 comes to mind as well as the entire Book of Job. Job just poured it all out, & a high point of it all was probably in one of his lowest points where he said that he KNEW that his Redeemer lives! I just can’t help but believe that the Lord is preparing you 2 for a greater ministry than you could have had without this crisis, though I don’t know whaty it is & it is not necessary that I do. I don’t know y’all personally & again it’s not necesary that I do, but I do feel a bond with y’all since the same Spirit of Christ dwells in us all. I also really have come to appreciate Psalm 73 because Asaph could say that though he almost lost his faith, he could still say after it was all over that the only One he wanted was the Lord. Hey sometimes we do cause other weaker believers to stumble when we just blurt out how we’re feeling when we are in a trial. I remember when I did that, but the Lord can take whatever we have on our heart. He still loves us just the same.
Well, I am certain that this has not helped at all, but I am praying for you, because you are my spiritual family.
Jeremy, Wendy, and family
We love you guys. Alleigh and I are praying for you. I personally understand struggle and crises problems. I’ve had a very, very large one in my life just recently, one in which the consequences and aftershock continues to take such a toll on me that the waves of it seem almost insurmountable to overcome at times. I share in your struggle and in your seeking hearts.
Know that Alleigh and I are praying for you, your family, and your continual ministry, both now and to come.
I personally am just beginning to understand the word “grace” in my life, may that truth never become stale or idle, nor leave the power it resounds in my heart. To Him be all the glory.
Ross and Alleigh Turner ~ Gal. 6:9
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
Jeremy Myers says
Thanks for the note. It means a lot to me. Hope all is going well with you.
Keep me in mind for Fantasy Football next year!
Jim Henderson says
Jeremy – Brian offered this warning
“A post like this does grieve me…I did try to encourage you in the other thread over this crisis you are in or whatever you are going through, but please don’t blame the Lord”
Don’t blame the Lord because his feelings might be hurt?
Don’t blame the Lord because unlike us mere humans he is so touchy he won’t be able to understand your humanity?
Don’t blame the Lord because the religion known as Christianity has taught us that the most important thing is getting to heaven (and more importantly exacping Hell) Rather than following Jesus?
Jeremy is Brian sugegsting that you to try not to follow in the footsetps of our Lord and Master , The Living Word of God who in the Garden of Gethsemane modeled broken humanity and humility when he made himself so vulnearble he asked three mere humans to pray for him ( the same three who were about to deny him)
Also try to ignore most of the Psalms where David ( the adulterer, murderer AND man after Gods own heart (go figure) often told God how he doubted and wondered where he had gone.
This foolishness is where religion has gotten us – Free Jesus!!
Jeremy Myers says
Wow. You may have just put into words what I’ve been thinking, but was unsure if it was safe to think.
I don’t “blame the Lord” but I do believe he could take it if I did. When we Christians are confronted by pain, fear, and doubt in our own lives, we feel like we have to bottle it all in and keep it hidden. When we run into similar pain in the lives of others, we feel like we have to remind them of spiritual platitudes and Bible verses rather than just let them express their pain and be there with them without judgment when they do.
Thanks for the comment.
Hi Jeremy. I am behind on blogging, but just visited. You and Wendi are in my prayers as well.
I keep having to remind myself that I cannot understand everything in the Bible. 🙂 But there are somethings I know I understand.
Jeremy Myers says
Very true. Thanks!
Vin Thomas says
I feel your pain brother. For some reason I feel like we may have had similar experiences with our crash and burn relationships with some people in the Church and even with our faith. I don’t know what this all looks like for you a year later (since this posting is just about a year old) — but I do know that I too am beginning to see some signs of life where I thought there may never be again.
One breath at a time…
Jeremy Myers says
That’s right…one breath at a time. I’m still reading your blog, so keep writing! I love getting to know you online.
Awww man!(That’s an expression of compassion when words fail)I would like to say so much about some of those comments…
Malcolm Fowler says
Thank God through Jesus Christ Our Living Lorf, that we have His New Living and unshakable, eternal identity!
Gary Cottrell says
In Aril 2014 I was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer and was told that my condition is terminal. I have never been a smoker. I see inspirational verses and quotations on social media that sound as if simply quoting a verse should take away all the doubt and fear. My faith is still intact, but I struggle with pain, fear, and a host of feelings that are hard to put into words. I don’t want platitudes. What I need is someone who will allow me to express all those emotions without judging me. Fortunately my wife is that person. Despite her own struggles, she is always there for me in the darkest times. Right now, he provides my clearest view of God, and it is based on reality, not simply quoting an inspirational verse.
Jeremy Myers says
I am so glad you have your wife to help you through this. Remember to be there for her as well when she faces struggles and darkness.
Jacob Hulka says
I’ve found that scripture contains contradictions so it cannot be 100 percent reliable.
No one does the will of god perfectly and I think he is a narcissistic control freak if we have to suffer grandiose things just to be forced on our knees to do his will perfectly.
I am struggling very badly with this. I’ve found the bible is paradoxical on faith AND WORKS for salvation. God has told me himself on many occasions that “it is what it is”. He’s always vague, always playing games. Never leading to a reasonable solution. I dont believe in radical zealotry until I see the antichrist and he hasn’t revealed himself yet. That scripture in the comments that says we aren’t to have desires is highly legalistic.
No one fully does the will of god. I’ve tried and failed. Thousands of times. It is not possible. It is also miserable.