A DECONSTRUCTION OBSERVED
“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5b)
Writing the story of my deconstruction/reconstruction is far more challenging than I expected. I am processing more than ten years of experiences. Often as I write, I remember important details that I need to include in the story. And more often than not, as I explore these details others surface. The challenging thing is that many of these either disrupt my carefully planned timeline or they require adjustments to things I’ve already written. In short, at times I need to step back and process things before moving the story forward.
All of this slows down my forward progress. I want to be as thorough as possible in telling this story, both for your benefit and for mine. But I would like to post something at least twice a month and (ideally) every week.
So from time to time when I hit a logjam where the details have come too fast and I need to step back and process a bit, I’m going to make some posts that tell a very important part of this story: Why I didn’t lose my faith as I deconstructed.
These interludes are an important part of the story but unlike the rest don’t need to follow any kind of chronology. I also don’t need to reflect on these as much, considering they were the lifelines I clung to during my journey through the dark forest of deconstruction.
Thanks for taking this journey with me.
I have described deconstruction as a journey through a dark forest. There are other metaphors that I’ll use as I share my story, but that is still the best description I can think of.
For me, the dark forest of deconstruction (henceforth: the dark forest) is comparable to Tolkien’s forest of Mirkwood (from The Hobbit). Mirkwood was a dark and dangerous place, where the trees were so tall you couldn’t see the sunlight. It was a place filled with evil creatures and was so vast that Bilbo and the dwarves who traveled with him despaired of making it through.
Mirkwood wasn’t a place you’d go for a picnic.
Neither was deconstruction.
It was a journey I didn’t want to take to a place I didn’t want to go. There were times during my journey that I despaired of ever making it through with my faith intact. Indeed, there were times I got so low that I wondered if God even existed.
I remember a thought that came to my mind at my lowest points: “I stood on the edge of eternity and saw only blackness.”
Nevertheless, I made it through and came back to the sunlight again.
Ultimately, of course, it was God who brought me through.
Humanly speaking, I clung to a bunch of lifelines. Some were Bible verses I’d memorized. Others were incidents that happened in my life that were clearly “God things.” Some were stories from other Christians’ lives that encouraged me.
My central lifeline, though, was the promise: “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5b).
At times I clung desperately to God’s promise that he would never abandon me. I prayed a simple prayer that I’d heard from someone else: “God, please don’t let go of me. And don’t let me let go of you.”
In the darkest part of the forest I prayed that prayer multiple times a day.
And God answered it.
Not quickly. I was in that dark place several years.
But God did answer my prayer. He held on to me and, most important, didn’t let me let go of him. I can promise you that it wasn’t through my own strength of will that I held on.
If you’re journeying through your own dark forest right now, remember that God is with you and will go with you. Don’t be afraid to cry out to him and ask him to hold your hand. Jesus said, “The one who comes to me I will certainly not cast out” (John 6:37, NASB).
Next post: (TBA)
All posts in this series: A Deconstruction Observed