by: Cris Corzine-McCloskey
This week Christian news has been full of the story of Marty Sampson. Marty has been a songwriter/worship leader for Australia’s Megachurch, Hillsong United for years. He recently resigned his position citing a crisis of faith and has been chronicling his doubts on Instagram. This has caused a wave of controversy. Now other pop-culture Christian icons are blasting Marty and throwing out words like “apostasy” on their social media accounts.
All of this has me SMH (that’s social media talk for shaking my head) in sadness over the circus that’s been created over Marty’s struggle. Apparently, publicly declared doubt makes believers nervous. I find that strange because doubt has never made God nervous.
Imagine seeing this on Instagram, “I’ve endured this shaking of my soul. How much longer will my enemy have the upper hand? Take a good look at me, God, and answer me!” The average believer would wince at those words and think the author was weak in their faith. But that is out of Psalms, and written by David, who God called “a man after my own heart.”
Elijah was the toughest, most powerful prophet in the Old Testament. In one great showdown with 400 idol worshiping false prophets, he called down fire from Heaven then cut them to ribbons with his sword. Tough on steroids! But in his moment of triumph, he got a death threat from Queen Jezebel that sent him running in fear and despair. I wonder what his Instagram would have read? “I went to battle for the Lord, but where is He now?! Thanks for nothing, God!”
Other believers would have been yelling “blasphemy,” and picking up rocks to stone him. That’s what we do nowadays, only we use poison emails and twitter. Maybe we should examine God’s response to Elijah. He tended to Elijah’s physical needs, reminded him that he wasn’t alone in the battle, sent him a helper named Elisha, and then took him up to Heaven in a chariot of fire. Clearly, God didn’t hold anything against him for his doubt.
King Solomon, the wisest man in the Old Testament, wrote the book of Ecclesiastes, which reads like one prolonged, sin-soaked, hedonistic blast on Instagram. Solomon tried it all. Wine, women, ego-building pursuits; you name it, he did it. And he chronicled the whole thing. However, it’s his final “tweet” he said this, “After all this, there is only one thing to say: Have reverence for God, and obey his commands, because this is all that we were created for.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13). Even in all his wisdom, it still took Solomon a lifetime to figure out God is the only thing that really matters in this life.
My pastor, Jason Forby, says freedom makes control freaks nervous. I believe that is true. It also makes me realize God is not a control freak. He has given all of us, even Marty Sampson, the freedom to come to Him, to doubt Him, to spit in His face, and even to crucify Him. Those things cannot stop His love. It says in the Bible, it’s His goodness that leads us to repentance. I bet He is being really, really good to Marty right now. Why don’t we try and do the same? If we started loving people, even when they disagree with us, I think we would look a lot more like Jesus.