Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Does your faith feel broken?

Below is a letter a sister in the lord posted online.  Since I think it speaks to a situation a lot of people are in I want to share it with you (she gave permission).

Julie wrote,

“I have been seeing you post all these spiritual posts. I have a question, or sort of a problem if you would call it that. As a Christian, I was very involved in my Church in NY, moved here, got involved in my Church up here, as my kids grew we drifted from the Church, but I still had my faith.

Last year a good friend lost her young daughter in an accident, while her daughter was lying in a coma in the hospital everyday before we began work we formed a prayer circle and everyone prayed their hearts out. The little girl died anyway. So I began to feel what is all this for? Why pray? Why believe? All the prayers in the world did not save her. I feel like I lost my faith, i’m empty, I don’t know what to believe anymore. I feel like an Alien. Where was God when needed most? Sorry, guess I needed to vent. All my Christian friends try to explain it is not Gods fault, etc. Thank you for listening.”

As I read our sisters question I felt that her experience of broken faith is similar to many people’s questions about God and faith.  We all encounter difficult times when God seems far from us.  There are events that take place that just don’t make sense and cause us to question whether God loves us.  I felt moved by the honestly and vulnerability of her painful question. This is how I answered.

Dear Julie,

Death is unnatural any time. God never wanted that for any of us. That is why He sent His only begotten Son to die in our place so we would not have to. The death of a child, is perhaps the worst death of all, cursing us with a sense of loss like hardly anything else can. I cannot begin to imagine what you and the mother of that little girl went through. I pray that God strengthen you all.

Death is such a “wrong” thing that our minds, souls, and spirits reel from it. We instinctively know that dying is not how it should be. We believe in God and know that He can do all things, but when a child dies so senselessly we ask ourselves, “Why didn’t God help?”

God can do miracles

Obviously, from reading the scriptures Jesus raised the dead, specifically a little girl like the one you speak about. We think, “if God can do that then through Jesus why can’t He do that now through us?” We pray, believe, and hope against hope that God will perform a miracle and when that miracle does not happen we feel let down and abandoned. Like you said, “what is this all for?” Like I said, I can’t imagine the sorrow you and everyone else feels from such a loss, but I am going to try to answer your question the best I can. I pray that God brings some comfort to you and helps you to step back and see what is going on.

Why doesn’t God answer our need?

To begin with, sin is not God’s fault.  Our ancestors chose to disobey God and thus all this evil came upon us.  We’re essentially trapped in generations of sin and we grow up playing on the dangerous freeway of this world. Unfortunately, occasionally, one of us gets hit. Mostly it is older people who have lived a long time, but when a young person dies the loss is especially grievous. So, in the first place, death is not God’s will nor is He the author of it.

However, when something tragic happens, and everyone comes together and prays, why doesn’t God come to our rescue? He loves us, right? He wants the best for us, right? Jesus healed the sick and raised the dead and we are told that we can, in Him, do the same. So, what gives?

Your broken faith and the Body of Christ

The reason why the girl passed away rather than being healed is that the Body of Christ is fragmented and broken. This is why many are sick among us and some even sleep. While a church may have a common belief system the true unity that it takes to have God’s power manifest in and through us is missing. The first church was of one heart and one soul and that is why you saw miracles happen.

When we pray, and have things in our hearts against one another, God does not hear our prayers. Without the unity of the Spirit we cannot manifest the power of God. God is love, and when we do not truly love one another, God is not present. This is why you feel God during worship service. When we praise God that is when we have unity and that is when God meets us.

Lonely Christians

We can say that we love one another but we really don’t. Christians are some of the loneliest people in the world, because even when they sit next to each other in a pew, they rarely open up and become vulnerable to one another. Without transparency Jesus cannot flow through us.

We must be open in order for God to flow through us

Essentially, while God was ready and willing to answer your prayers, the people praying and asking God to heal that little girl were not in a place to allow God to flow through them. Sometimes, God overlooks such things and performs the miracle anyway, but most of the time, when the love and union with Him are not present, His power does not flow.

This is a hard-saying Julie. I get that and I am sorry to have to answer you in such a straight forward way. I can understand if you are angry or cannot accept what I am saying. The truth is, Julie, the love that everyone needs is the very nature of God shed abroad in our hearts. Divine love given from above is what will unite the Body of Christ and that union of God and men will bring forth the miracles that we seek. This is what I write about on

I know that broken faith is very difficult

I am very sorry that your faith has been broken because of this tragic loss. Mine would have too and I have experienced other similar things in my life like that. When you do not understand, you must simply trust in who He is. I know this is very difficult.

In conclusion, instead of allowing your faith to be broken, re-examine your faith and see if perhaps what you have believed in the past was not all you thought it to be. This can be a time of deep self-examination and reflection that can, if you are open to the Holy Spirit, bring about good fruit out of a tragic circumstance.

I hope this helps a little.

Admittedly, this was very difficult to write to someone who experienced such pain and anguish when the little girl died.  However, I felt that her question was an honest one and deserved an honest answer.  She replied thus,

“Thank you for your very insightful and frank answer, what you said about the people in the prayer circle not truly loving one another is so true, this was at work and these woman would fight among each other and talk badly about one another before this tragedy occurred, so I see what you are saying about that, I still thought when all get together in prayer (the leader in our work group is a minister) that God would hear our prayers. A group of close friends even went to her hospital bed to pray, I could not bear to see her like that, I did not go.”

So many things have happened

“Yes, the loss of a child is more than anyone can bear. I have lost my home to fire twice, lost relatives, my mom is paralyzed, been evicted with a young child with no place to go, been lost to drugs, but never lost my faith in the Lord. This was just the most unimaginable thing. It happens to other people, not in our circle of friends. We read about it every day, see it on the news.”

“Again thank you, I am trying to get back to my faith. Because of what you said about the fakeness in the pews of church I switched from Catholic to Christian and was more comfortable with my church, but after my kids grew I drifted from the “building” itself but continued to have faith the Lord would still be beside me and carry me (like the footprints in the sand) when things went bad (like losing everything with 3 young children in a fire) it was all just material things, my kids were all fine they are all that matters and 2nd fire my grandkids were not here that night, they are all that matters, everything in life is just material. My father passed, he was old, that is the natural way of things, my mom is paralyzed from a stroke, still the natural way things go. I know the death of my friend’s daughter will slowly pass and life goes on. But yes, it has shaken my faith to the core.”

“Again thank you for listening, maybe I just needed someone who knows the Lord to vent to.”

In conclusion, everyone encounters broken faith at times where we question God and our belief in Him. The thing I think Julie did right is that she reached out, even in her pain and disillusionment, to find an answer.  WE NEED EACH other when we hurt and it is the willingness to be vulnerable that allowed God to answer her through a fellow saint.

Finally, if you are hurting and feel like you are experiencing broken faith, don’t allow the Devil to keep you isolated. Even when it is hard, reach out and give God a chance to answer even the most deep and painful questions you have. The truth is that God is waiting for you to do that and will answer your step of faith and trust.

Losing My Daughter by Steven Curtis Chapman