Thoughts on recovering from a Mid-Faith Crisis.
Over the past several years, I’ve hoped to more consistently fulfill 1 Corinthians 4:20: “For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power.” I just finished reading through the Book of Acts where the early church stories clearly spell power. It hasn’t made sense to me how Christianity now could look so different compared to when it all started.
So, what’s wrong with me?
The problem I’ve encountered in recent months has been a continual, nagging desire to live unremarkable. Lately more than ever I’ve been even less welcoming of the stretching process. The result is me feeling confused and confounded, because––deep down––I know well who God has called me to be.
Recently, this passage out of Revelation lifted off the page and came closer to my heart than I anticipated:
“I, John, your brother and partner in the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance that are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.” (Revelation 1:9).
Instantly, God began revealing the issues of my heart.
Yes, maybe I have been hungry and thirsty for more of the kingdom of God––miracles, signs, wonders, testimonies of heavenly power. And I should increasingly long for radical displays of God’s extravagance.
Rarely, though, have I sought tribulation or patient endurance.
Living in a kingdom of power without tribulation or patient endurance is like loving the Father while paying little attention to Jesus or the Holy Spirit.
Jesus, I repent for wanting the fireworks of glory without those elements that will sharpen me most. Forgive me and teach me greater fullness.
The tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance that are in Jesus.
The early church may have looked more like Jesus than I do because they were willing to embrace the fullness in Jesus. I’m scared––like hell––of what asking God for more tribulation (suffering) and patient endurance (requiring great stamina for a long-haul race) might look like.
To treat Revelation 1:9 with fairness is to consider that Jesus embodied tribulation, kingdom, and patient endurance.
Plateaus for me feel a lot like heat in an already dry, hot desert––undesirable, yet an expected part of the geography.
In some ways, dry is exactly where I had been.
Maybe not quite a mid-faith crisis, but certainly a mid-faith plateau.
Do you relate to what I'm writing? If this one's for you, please allow these words to serve as another flashlight beam of encouragement. The grace of God is always sufficient to push us beyond wherever we've found ourselves camped out.
I'm experiencing His presence afresh and am once again learning to live from the overflow of love. I’m able to rest with far greater confidence in the plans Jesus has for my future, even if they may look like a less-desirable combination of tribulation, kingdom and patient endurance.
I have begun welcoming with joy the fullness that is in Jesus and pray He touches you with the same.