I have a friend going through a bit of a faith-crisis at the moment, and it really is one of those things that can make you feel completely impotent. Not only is nearly impossible to know what to say or do, it is pretty much certain that anything you say or do will probably only make matters worse. So you're just there for them. Let them vent if they want to, or ramble, or whatever non/verbal processing they might tend toward. And maybe, if the situation calls for it, you share what you actually know.
But what do you actually know?
And what do I actually know? So, where do I get off telling anyone else what their faith should be?
But, do I just leave it there? Let a friend languish? I have a hard time swallowing that pill. I think we should have a hard time with it. And I think how we handle it is key--and I think the place where we really go wrong is where we start offering up loads of junk that we don't personally know, in favor of churchy things we think sound right.
I think we go through seasons where our faith gets stripped down, like a sports car left in the wrong part of town. Maybe we parked ourselves in the wrong place, and it left us vulnerable. Maybe it was time for a tune up. I don't know why these things happen really, but I have noticed a pattern in my own life, and the lives of people close to me. We go through these seasons that get terribly uncomfortable, and we come out on the other side with a faith that is universally different. Sometimes we even have to go through a little bit of Hell to do it.
I stood on the outside of a very clear boundary, looking in on God and his chosen people, and I was not one of them. I was not welcome, I was not included. I was not accepted. I was not chosen. That is the Hell that I've known.
And what have I learned? A lot more than I could ever put here. And I've also learned that the first thing isn't to open my mouth and tell my hurting friend what they just have to know, so they can be fixed. Maybe the best thing I can offer is an open ear and a shut mouth. And my prayers. I'll do that too.