Evangelicals tell and retell stories about dramatic changes and sudden answers to prayer. They're great. I had this need, I had this problem, I prayed, and God answered! The solution appeared! But how often do we talk about those other problems, problems that hang on for years, challenging us when we pray to keep on asking and not give up?
I thought of this when reading Addie Zierman's recent blog post. It is an open letter from people who left the church to the church.
"Once, we believed quickly and entirely, our faith in the church people and in God all tangled into each other. We believed that you who loved God would be different, and no one ever confessed that Christians are broken too ... We are constantly aware of the darkness: yours and ours. The whole wide world, broken and dying, hurling herself into the abyss."
"We need you to sit with us in the mad season for as long as it takes. We need to hear your stories – the messy ones, the hard parts. We need you to tell us the pain of it without skipping ahead to the happy ending."
"Maybe we can face our darkness if you are honest about yours."
She says its hypocrisy to keep silent. I'm not sure its deliberate hypocrisy, at least not for many of us. But if we only tell the stories of God working rapid transformation, we won't talk about hanging on and being faithful with a problem that doesn't go away.