“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
I remember going through a dark time that was very much connected to my faith. It began when I learned that the book of Mark wasn’t written down until 30 years after Jesus’ ministry. That really bothered me. Then, I started questioning much in the Bible, and I really didn’t know what to do with this frustration. I hadn’t yet learned that Mark, for example, had probably already memorized the whole Tenach, the Hebrew Bible. So, without this and other knowledge and understanding, I started to wonder if the Bible was real and if God was real. What was I to do with this doubt?
I remember, in the midst of this time of doubt, sitting down to play the piano. For some reason, I played Beethoven’s “Pathetique,” a song I learned when I was 15 and hadn’t played it in years. Nonetheless, I played it perfectly from beginning to end. Then, a light went on in my brain, and I began to weep. I realized that, in the same way, the gospel of Mark in the Bible could be written many years after the events happened because of memory.
In that moment, I had to sit in the darkness, the doubt, and the struggle. I had to wait there on the Lord and I couldn’t force any of it to end. Then, organically and naturally, God brought me out of that dark time and prepared me to be a new person. And that renewed and deepened faith had to happen before I could go to seminary because, in seminary, much of what you believe is challenged as you’re prepared to be a pastor.
Sometimes, in the dark night of the soul, when you wonder if God even exists, if he hears your prayers, he is closer than you think.
Prayer: Dear Lord, even in the dark times, you are near to me. Your light shines brightly in my soul. Amen.
Reflection: Did you ever doubt the existence of God? The authenticity of your faith? What convinced you to continue to believe?
By Bobby Schuller, Crystal Cathedral Pastor.