Today we have another post on the loss of faith. This time the post is from Josiah Taylor of Phoenix, AZ. He writes about losing faith and hope, and maybe regaining them too.
I was asked to write about loss. I completely blew it off from the start, thinking ‘The hell do I know about loss?’ I’ve not had anyone I’ve been close to die. I’ve no story about a friend or family member with a terminal illness or their sudden departure. I don’t live in some sort of war-zone, where death and disease are the norm. I’ve lived a very simple, comfortable, middle-class life well enough.
After some thought, several things came to mind. The first was of the people I know personally who have experienced a traumatic loss of someone they held dear and what that means to them. The second, one great loss I’ve had was in the destruction of a particular friendship. That story, however, is for another time and subject. The last thought was oddly so late in coming considering how recent and prevalent it has been: the most destructive loss of my life thus far (and, I hope, ever) – the loss of my faith.
I’m sure it varies from person to person, but for myself, my faith was my life. I got through most of my childhood and early teens purely on faith. It wasn’t even a blind faith. Over the years, I had seen, heard, and experienced personally more than enough to make what I believed feel like fact. It was a faith I would have died for. Rather, it was the One in whom I had faith that I would have died for.
In the last year, that all went away. My spirit became so utterly broken. It’s a strange time for me. I heard lies recognized them as such, and chose to believe them regardless of how destructive I knew they were. Stranger still is when I began to think about Hell and concluded that I really wouldn’t mind going there. The strangest part is that I can’t even tell you how it got to be that way. I think I just kept believing those destructive lies and claiming them for myself as though they were true. All the while knowing exactly what I was doing.
What was once my willingness to die for my faith became my desire to die without it. As I mentioned, my faith was my life. Without that, everything became meaningless. I was, however, not empty and emotionless without my faith. I was filled to the brim with anger, hatred, bitterness, pain, and despair. Someone simplified it for me one day: I couldn’t even hope for hope.
What got me out? Oh yeah, I got out. Thank God, I got out. It was a choice. It sounds so simple, but it was not so easy. I’ve found that I always always always have a choice. I chose to finally accept what I knew was true even, if I didn’t believe it at all. I chose to love God again. My brokenness stretched over a full year, but my choice to believe again and change could have been made far earlier than it was. A choice isn’t something you feel, it’s something you do.
My identity had been tied closely to my faith. When I lost my faith, I lost who I was. The beginning stages of recovering that faith only began a few months ago and I have quite a ways to go still to being whole. Yet, my loss was not permanent, even though I thought it was. The ability to regain what I thought I had lost forever feels like something bigger than a miracle. I found that hope exists even when you can’t hope for it, even when you can’t feel it.