Yesterday, I had what I refer to as one of my “agnostic days.” These are days where I question my sense of call, my ministry, and everything in between. I’m pretty irritable during these days. I’m just grumpy and all around ticked off at everything (God included) for no reason at all. These “agnostic days” come on suddenly and normally dissipate after a day of so. They always lead to some kind of insight about myself or my future ministry.I think what set it off this time was I have been reading a lot of books concerning youth/family ministry. This is the way that I think my ministry will unfold. But as I was reading, I had an onset of Luther’s anfechtung. For those who don’t know, anfechtung is a “word that Luther used to describe the overwhelming times of spiritual trial, terror, despair, and religious crisis that he experienced throughout his life.”  Ok, so maybe my brief period of doubt wasn’t as strong as Luther’s anfechtung, but it was all I could think of when I was writing this.
All I could think of as I was reading was that more than likely I am going to be responsible for forming the faith of children, youth, and families in some parish. That’s a pretty scary thought. Will I be good enough? What happens when (not if) I screw up? What if the youth don’t like me? I have to admit, this scared the living hell out of me. When I get scared or feel threatened, I get defensive. So, I took my frustration out on the world.
As I was talking to my wife this evening, she put things in perspective for me. “God loves you and God has a plan.” After hearing those words, my evening started to turn around.
I think we all have our times of doubt concerning God’s calling for us. Sometimes we think we know better (I know I did). Other times, God’s call puts us in a situation we don’t want to be in or that we don’t like (again, been there, done that).
Doubts aren’t a bad thing. I think they help keep us honest with ourselves and with God.
For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the LORD, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. –Jeremiah 29:11