1. Have you experienced God's faithfulness at a difficult time? Tell as much or as little as you like... I think that some of these questions are going to overlap. I consider my junior year of college to be one of the darkest periods of my life: I was having a dark night of the soul, I was in huge clashes with a few other Christians on campus, and some other things that I'm not going to write about. It was a time when the question, "Does Job fear God for nothing?" got answered, I think. I still had people to lean on such as Then-Not-Mrs. Coffeepastor, who prayed for me when I couldn't pray myself, and a good group of friends who were clashing with others right along with me.
2. Have you experienced a dark night of the soul, if so what brought you through? This was, again, pretty much my entire junior year. However, even aside from all the different things that were happening that weighed me down and which certainly contributed to my crisis of faith, I'd gotten myself into a more academic one as well. I blame John Shelby Spong for getting the ball rolling. I'd picked up his Why Christianity Must Change or Die and by the end was ready to give up my faith entirely. Quite a stark difference from all his oh-so-saintly intentions to keep disillusioned types around, eh? There were a few other "scholarly" articles involved, but this book really started things. Today I might not flip out as much, but that helped send me into a huge faith crisis where I was ready to change my major, find a new career, and explore Buddhism (nothing against Buddhism...I'm still curious about it). So one night I found myself in a dorm hallway with a Bible and a weak little, "please show me something," and I came to Luke 24:34 - "It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon!" That gave me the strength and confidence to continue on my faith journey, as I truly believe that that was a Spirit-guided moment. Perhaps today I can credit Spong with an assist in making my faith stronger, but really, given everything else that I was dealing with, he was just piling on. I award him no points.
3. Share a Bible verse, song, poem that has brought you comfort? Um...besides the one I just shared? Lately, I know I've been harping on this blog about Pink Floyd, but I've taken a lot of comfort in their wandering, ethereal music.
4. Is "why suffering" a valid question? Is there maybe a word or two missing from this question? Anyway, yes, it is a valid question. Whether it's "why am I suffering?" or "why is there suffering?" Plenty of Biblical writers ask it, plenty down through the centuries have asked it. If we were not able or allowed to ask this question, what kind of a God would have made us? I mean, it's fine if you want to take the hard-line Calvinist, "God doesn't need to answer to you" sort of reasoning, but the God encountered in Christ answers to a lot of people...God doesn't need to, but God chose to. So let's ask.
5. And on a lighter note- you have reached the end of a dark and difficult time- how are you going to celebrate? A glass of wine, a silent prayer of thanks, and a big sigh of relief.
Bonus- anything you wish to add....Stay in school, say your prayers, take your vitamins, don't do drugs, drink your milk, wear sunscreen.