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When Your Faith Goes Down the Drain

my faith

The cold tile splashed with my hot tears. I was becoming undone. I don’t believe it was shame which plummeted my desires into such an abyss. It was my dreams and my hopes dashed against the rocks. It was my faith. Truth be told, I wanted to somehow escape down the drain in the tub. I couldn’t, my person couldn’t, so instead my faith did.

I can hold this up. I can make my future bright. If I do right things, say true things, and attempt to compellingly love and persuade folks then the power of God’s Word can and will create lasting change. If I speak truth then everything is going to be okay.

That was my faith. And that faith escaped from my heart and flushed down the drain that day. That was the beginning of my rescue.

I think one of the greatest disservices that fundamentalism gave to us is the inability to lose our faith. Losing your faith—faith in a false god of your own perception—is a necessary component to growth. God always challenges our perceptions of who we think He is.

“Never question”, we are told. But what that does is keep you stuck worshipping the same god you knew 25 years ago. That wasn’t a God-belittling typo. It was intentional. Our coming to and embracing the living God is real and a very real encounter with who God truly is. But within that is also a good amount of coming to a god of our own making. It takes years for God to put down the gods of our own creation.

And I’m convinced that much of fundamentalism, evangelicalism, liberalism, whatever ‘ism’ you want to blame actually cooperates with our idols in keeping our faith in gods alive. But I’m also convinced that God isn’t satisfied with such half-hearted devotion and he is dedicated to exalting Himself in our lives at our idols expense. So he’ll take us to a place with hot tears and cold bathroom tiles and let our faith escape down the drain.

Yes, there are some things which we should not be questioning. Spurgeon is correct and there are some things which we don’t need to “have a conversation about.” There really isn’t much benefit in questioning something which is already settled.

But there are also relational questions and character type questions that we must always be asking. It’s part of learning and relating to a living God.

As an example, if I asked my wife 10 years ago if she wanted to decorate something with barn wood, she’d likely have given an affirmative. But that’s not true today. I’ve had to learn this by continually relating to her. Now, you cannot take that illustration too far. God is unchanging. If he liked barn wood ten years ago he’d still like it today. But there are questions we need to ask about the things we’ve assumed about God.

Perhaps a better analogy would be to say that ten years ago my wife liked a particular piece of art that just so happened to have a frame made of barn wood. And I assumed she liked the barn wood—but in reality she was tolerating it because she loved the art so much. I couldn’t figure out why all of my purchases of barn wood weren’t making her as happy as I thought they would*. In the same way, we’ve made many assumptions about the character and purpose of God.

Your worldview is always going to collapse when a god is at the center of it. The God of truth is driving out all rivals. But what happens if you’re entrenched in a culture which doesn’t allow questions? You will likely be forced into the binary choice of continuing to fake believing in a god you no longer believe in OR you’ll have to leave the whole thing. A more biblical option is to pursue God as He actually is. It’s far better to walk away from a god you assumed was real but isn’t, than to tenaciously cling to one who isn’t. Even better is to embrace the I Am. The never changing God who is always transforming us.

This article about my faith originally appeared here.

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Mike Leake is husband to Nikki and father to Isaiah and Hannah. He is also the lead pastor at Calvary of Neosho, MO. Mike is the author of Torn to Heal and his writing home is http://mikeleake.net