I waited with a worried heart and a furrowed brow for my parents to come and say goodnight. Usually it was a quick prayer and quick “Love you, goodnight!” but tonight I had something to tell them that had been burning a hole in my heart.
I could feel knots in my ten year old stomach, while I unknowingly wrapped my fingers tighter and tighter around my sheets.
On the walls hung pictures and posters of heroes and figures standing tall, representing the strength a young man’s heart longs for, but tonight I didn’t feel strong or brave, as yet another distressing wave of doubt washed over me.
The door swung open and my parents entered ready to send me off to bed as they prepared to end their day. After a short prayer and a pat on the leg they began to leave when suddenly I said “Stop, I need to tell you something.”
Gently concerned, they turned back around and asked me what was on my mind. A bit of fear welled within me mixed with a twinge of shame as I took a breath and let it come out.
“I don’t know if I believe in God.”
The words hung in the air, and the silence was almost more than I could bare. Then I felt the gentle hand of my mother rest again on my leg as the worry left her eyes and a slight smile came over her face, “That’s okay.”
Astonished that my mother, the most godly woman I have ever known, so nonchalantly acknowledged my doubt of God, I replied puzzled… “It is?”
“Of course,” she said. “Every true believer will have doubts and questions about God, that’s very normal. When I first met Jesus, I know I did. You are a great boy, Nathan, and I have no doubt you’ll be a great man.” With one more “Goodnight I love you”, my parents gently left the room taking the weight of the world I had been carrying, with them.
That night my parents gave me something amazing, through their allowance of my doubts they gave me the ability to know God on a greater scale than I could have ever known him while having a faux faith forced upon me.
From that night on whenever I would have doubts -having felt the freedom to communicate with my parents about them- I would share my struggles and thoughts. And consistently I would leave empowered in my fight. My mom would tell me “Don’t worry Nathan you remind me of the great biblical hero Jacob, who wrestled God.”
“I do?” I would ask wondering how?
“Yes,” she would say, “And that’s a great thing, because wrestling is a full contact sport and when we wrestle with God we are in communion with him, which is ALWAYS a good thing.”
The song above was written years after that night in my bedroom, hundreds of miles away from my parents, in a small apartment in Hollywood. I had been going through a time of doubt and struggle with God, not unlike the struggle I faced when I was ten. I wanted to put all my fears and doubts into a song but felt a pause thinking maybe, I shouldn’t doubt God and just pretended to be okay. But then suddenly I could again hear my mother’s words echoing through the confines of my minds memories “Wrestling with God is a GOOD thing, wrestling is a full contact sport, and as long as we are in contact with God you have nothing to worry about.”
So with a pure heart, I wrote an honest song to God that ultimately brought me even closer to my creator.
That night in my bedroom, my parents gave me a gift. They gave me the gift of allowing me to doubt, struggle and fight, because they knew that is who God had created me to be. And because they allowed me to wrestle with God, they by default allowed me to be in full contact with him.
I encourage you and the ones you take care of- wrestle with God, doubt, struggle and be brutally honest with Him, He can take it, and doesn’t mind at all. When you do this you just might find that engaging in the full contact sport with your creator will bring you closer to God than you ever might have thought.