What To Do in a Crisis of Faith

Suzanne (Suzie) Eller knows that a confidence crisis can hit any of us unexpectedly. It can creep into our closest relationships. It can sneak up as we look in the mirror and feel ill-equipped or less than. Sometimes a loved one’s confidence crisis can spark one of our own, especially if they lose confidence in their faith. In her new book, The Spirit-Led Heart, Suzie shares a promise Jesus made. He said that we would have a Helper, one that would be with us always—even when our confidence feels wrecked. Please join me in welcoming Suzie as she offers a glimpse into a recent confidence crisis of her own. . . .

 guest post by Suzie Eller

Years ago, my husband, Richard, and I opened our home to several college students.

We loved each of them.

I recently stumbled upon a conversation in a social media post from one of those students, now a young father and husband, and my heart sank as I read it.

Our friend: I don’t know about my faith anymore.

A stranger: Me either.

Our friend: Man, I look around and I’m not sure that the church is relevant.

Another stranger: Yeah, they are all after something.

The conversation spiraled. Some of those commenting hadn’t experienced Christ, but they shared their opinions.

Some had once attended church, but they walked away disillusioned with organized religion. Many were painfully honest, rife with longing.

It’s important to give space to anyone (ourselves included) asking hard questions about faith.

Social media might not seem like sacred space, but in this instance, it’s where our friend’s search landed.

As I followed the conversation, his faith crisis hit me too.

I mentally wandered back to the days we hosted those college students and all the beautiful, fun, messy moments. I thought about those crazy Nertz games and baking mass quantities of chicken enchiladas. We laughed a lot. We listened when they shared their mistakes and prayed with them as they walked into Jesus’ love. We piled into airplanes to travel to poverty-torn nations to build churches and share the gospel.

It was hard work, but we loved it.

When someone we care about is questioning their faith or saying that the church is no longer viable, it can rattle us.

It might make us wonder whether we did something wrong. It might make us itch to fix something or someone and make it all right again. We might wonder if our efforts were in vain. We can get drawn into the conversation in a negative way as we try to make them see it our way.

All of these responses are human, but they take our eyes off the true battleground.

  • The truth is that we have an enemy who desires to distort faith, and he is hard at work.
  • The truth is that the church is made up of people, and that can be messy.
  • The truth is that we are only asked to do the best we know how as a parent, a friend, or in ministry, and we don’t get to stake a claim in a person’s personal relationship with God, no matter what that looks like.

My friend needed to ask his questions, and those questions didn’t nullify who God is.

When the early church faced their own confidence crises, Jesus reminded them to ask for help.

“Don’t bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need.” (Luke 11:10 The Message).

That’s just as true when someone we care about is in a confidence crisis.

Instead of letting my emotions dictate, I needed to ask the Holy Spirit for help.

For him.

For those who were commenting.

Even for me, as the enemy tried to erode my confidence in the ministry we had been so privileged to partner in.

Are you in a confidence crisis as someone you care about struggles with faith?

The good news is that the Holy Spirit is right there, inside of you already. That’s our promise.

Don’t be afraid to ask the Helper to show you what you might not see. Ask for guidance. Ask Him to speak to that person in ways that he or she will understand.

If you feel led to act or say something, write that down. Pray for direction and wisdom as you follow that leading.

I did what I just asked you to do—I sent a private message saying that we were available if needed.

Then it was his turn, if he so desired.

When he responded, we gave him room to share some of the hard questions he was asking.

It wasn’t our job to resolve his doubt, for that is the work of the Holy Spirit.

It wasn’t my job to fix his confidence crisis, but I could pray. I could respond to his questions with truth and gentleness.

The rest was up to the Helper. Just as He lives in me, He lives in my friend. He sees the scope of the battle. He knows that God loves him more than I ever could and is reaching for him – just like God loves that one you care about.

Several weeks later, my old friend sent a message. “I’m finding my way back,” he said.

His faith is in the process of restoration. He’s rediscovering what faith looks like and how to live it intimately.

If your confidence crisis is wrapped around a loved one’s doubts about faith, ask the Holy Spirit to ease into that confidence crisis—for both of you.

As you ask for help, He’ll remind you of what you can and cannot do on your own.

He will free you to bring that loved one to God in prayer.

He will help you release the need to control the outcome, allowing you instead to be open to play a part as your heavenly Father leads.

He’ll also remind us that God’s plan for those we care about doesn’t hinge on our efforts.

Rather, the invitation is to look for help in the midst of any confidence crisis.

And we’ll find it, for that’s our promise (John 14:16).

 

Suzanne (Suzie) Eller is a Proverbs 31 Ministries writer, a speaker, a former radio host, a Bible teacher, and a blogger. She loves watching God work in the heart of women. On her blog, Suzie offers community and connection as women discover the joy of living free in their faith, family, and feelings. 

The story she shares today is from her newly released book, The Spirit-Led Heart: Living a Life of Love and Faith Without Borders. In this book, Suzie invites each of us to embrace the promise Jesus offered for every part of our lives. Certainly we are ordinary, yet Jesus places trust in us that we’ll live as world changers, starting right where we are.

With warmth and vulnerability about her own journey, as well as practical and helpful application, The Spirit-Led Heart equips, empowers, and reminds us that we can live a life of love and faith without borders.

[ Our humble thanks to Bethany House for their partnership in today’s devotion ]

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