by Eketi Ette
“A man who asks questions will not miss his way.”
– A Nigerian proverb.
“If you’re a Christian, and you’ve not yet gotten to a place where nothing makes sense anymore and you question what you believe or have been taught to believe, then your journey of faith hasn’t begun.”
– Eketi Ette.
I remember the one time I totally stopped believing in God. It was a period that lasted three years.
Because I like tying up loose ends and making things official, I actually went to church, stood in front of the altar and said, “God, if you’re really here, I came to tell you that we’re done. You cannot exist and the world is the way it is. I’ve got too many unanswered questions that no one’s answering, especially you. So, I’m done. Bye.”
When I walked out of that church building, I was convinced that nothing mattered and life, should be lived as one pleases, with no boundaries.
But old habits die hard. All those years of learning didn’t disappear at once. For months, I struggled with disbelief.
When a Christian brother walked up to me and said he’d been praying for me to return to Christ, I was livid.
“Don’t you ever make me a prayer point, do you understand? Save I for those who need it- I don’t.”
But Papa God wasn’t going to let me go.
In fact, I began to hear him like never before. I was angry and confused, but I stuck to my guns. For lack of a better alternative, I went back.
I was happy for a bit, and it seemed like everything was going so well.
Then the restlessness began to set it. This time, I was really tired of it all. The unanswered questions. The church vocabulary. The pretence. The cover ups. The whitewashing of faith.
I spoke to a couple of Christian elders. They said I should increase my commitment to church; attend more programs, read more scriptures, pray more, and resist the devil who was trying to drag me away.
I did that, but nothing was working. So I began to reduce my attendance to church, until I wasn’t going anymore. I questionned everything, let my doubts breath and aired my unbelief.
No longer would I hide behind church lingo to justify what I didn’t understand.
I doubted the existence of God for the second time.
In the meantime, I put up a façade for friends and family. I knew the right words to say, to make them think all was well.
It took me two and a half empty years to realise the truth.
God wasn’t the problem. I, was suffering from church fatigue. I was tired of their lies, false know-it-all attitude and their lingo.
I was tired of:
It is well – the go-to answer for all tough situations, when it was obviously not well.
You can’t question God.
This usually means don’t question the pastor or his wife. Else, you’d be reminded of the years they answered the long-distance call from heaven, how long they’ve been Christians and the anointing God has bestowed on them.
You must pay your tithe to the church. If you don’t pay your tithes you’re stealing from God and the devourer (devil) will eat all your blessings. You’ll be broke.
First fruit offering.
Free gift offering.
Your continued sickness means your faith is not enough.
Sow a seed.
Seed for a job, house, car, life sef.
But most of all, I was sick of the pretence.
I began to do the opposites of what I’d been taught.
I questioned God, a lot. I searched the scriptures for answers and incessantly bugged the Holy Spirit.
And in all these, just like before, Father was there, patient, waiting.
I got to know him for myself, not what I’d been told.
He showed me that questioning him didn’t mean I was challenging his authority; it meant I wanted to know more, to learn. He let me know that sometimes, he wasn’t going to give me the answers I expected.
It was okay to not understand everything and to admit it. “You’re not God, after all,” he joked.
“So, if someone asks a question about you and I don’t know, I don’t need to cover it up with some obscure Bible quote?”
“No, you don’t.”
He told me prosperity is beyond money.
He is teaching me to sift the truth from the false doctrines.
I am learning that he isn’t a magician, waving his wand to end all my troubles, nor subject to my whims and desires.
I asked why he had refused to heal me from an ailment I’ve had for the last fifteen years. I asked him why he did nothing, even after I’d had several surgeries (story for another day).
He showed me many scriptures where he’d said I’d go through fire and trials, but he’d be there beside me. It didn’t mean he wasn’t fair or not here.
I asked him if my faith was the problem, as people had told me.
He said, “Meme, do you know how tiny a mustard seed is? That’s how small your faith can be and I’ll answer. So your faith has got to be really minuscule for you to believe faith is the problem.
Just know this; my grace is enough to see you through this.”
I have come to know that I am human, someone who will not see the big picture, only glimpses of it, as Papa God permits. That many things the Lord requires of me will look foolish, to the extent of our human logic and understanding. But if I trust and obey, all will eventually work out well. I told him that part’s hard, but by his grace, I try.
He said it’s okay to doubt, but to come to him in those times, instead of running away.
He taught me that love trumps everything.
That not everyone will understand why I choose God.
That being like Christ will get me into trouble, especially with other Christians.
But I’m okay with that.
I’m still learning.
The important thing is, I no longer doubt him.
So, dear Christian friend,
Don’t be afraid if nothing makes sense anymore. Don’t let anyone tell you your doubt is of the devil; if Jacob could hold God to ransom for a whole night, why not you?
Feel free to ask your heavenly father anything. Question teachings, doctrines, the scriptures. Find and know God for yourself.
See, our journeys of faith are different, some longer, more painful, than others. But whatever you’re going through, don’t forget that God loves you and he’s right there. Even when nothing makes any sense.
Op–ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija
Eketi Edima Ette is a writer. She can be reached on Twitter @Ketimay