We’ve all either been or have seen a person desperately grappling with God. Faith is such a complex path to walk, especially as a young person. Maybe someone you care about is doubting God’s love for them, maybe life hasn’t been easy and they have anger towards Him and have turned to you in their need, for support and advice.
I bet when you read that someone popped into your head. If so, great. Maybe your friend is unsettled by a specific teaching or perhaps they’re having a hard time accepting Jesus as their saviour all together. Whatever it is that they’re dealing with, if they turn to you then the fact that they trust you enough to be so vulnerable is amazing. However I also want you to know that it’s also completely normal if you feel at all overwhelmed. Here are my top 3 tips for helping a friend who is wrestling with God….
Whether the person (or people) who you’re thinking of has been a Christian for years or are new to faith, if someone’s fighting God in their life, my first piece of advice would be to let that process happen. I know it can be difficult, when you’re desperate for them to just believe, to feel for themselves what you know to be true. But the ‘Eureka’ moment isn’t in our hands, we have to accept that. Be extra careful not to make that person feel guilty for pushing against God because sometimes that struggle needs to happen. Just pop over to Genesis 32:22- Jacob literally wrestled with God and he came out spiritually stronger than ever. In our relationship with our saviour, much like our earthly relationships, issues that aren’t spoken about can quickly grow into resentment. So a person who has any doubts or anger towards God needs to air them and work through them. Friendships where you feel you can be vulnerable enough to challenge and rethink teaching, to ask the biggest and the scariest ‘why?’s are often the most fruitful.
When friends have come to me, or I to them, with confusion and questions about God’s word, the most helpful thing is when we try to get our heads round something together. I’m not saying don’t give your opinion but if you’re simply telling your friend what you believe, you aren’t helping them figure out what they believe. It’s perfectly okay to admit you don’t have all the answers, we’re called to help one another in our walks with Jesus but we aren’t theologians (unless you are, in which case…as you were). There’s no shame in saying ‘I’m not sure exactly, but let’s see what God’s word says…’ and then letting your discussion go from there. This also lessens the pressures for you as well, because your conversation is rooted in truth.
We don’t save people, Jesus does. We aren’t called to preach and recruit but to show love and compassion, in the hope that God will transform their heart. He does the real work, not us. So don’t beat yourself up if someone you know is looking for Jesus but hasn’t quite got there yet, or if they’ve known Him for a long time and are questioning His role in their life. His relationship with them is what’s going to help them. All you have to do is show up, go for that coffee, invite them round for dinner, (maybe even suggest a bike ride if you want some physical activity- if so good on you). Just be there and let God do the rest.
‘let us consider how we may spur one another on in love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, but encouraging one another’ (Hebrews 10: 24)
Photo credit: Cephas Azariah