This for my people that stressing whenever times is hard
Your mind’s slipping, wondering, “Is there really a God?”
Knowing you shouldn’t think that way and trying to freeze your brain
But whenever there’s pain, that feeling forever remains
We can’t believe what we can’t see and reality seems stronger than prayer
Cause you tried to change your life, and now you live in a wheelchair
And your son was born with cancer and he live in urgent care
At the tender age of 12, and you feel that no one cares
Searching for answers, that’s human nature, you ain’t in the wrong
Just know when you feeling that way His Spirit’s in the room
I watched people I know pray and catch the Holy Ghost
And wonder why I ain’t ever caught that feeling before
Maybe they know Him better, or I don’t know no better
But what I do know, is that He’s real and He lives forever
So the next time you feel like your world’s about to end
I hope you studied because He’s testing your faith again
“Faith” by Kendrick Lamar feat Punch, Verse 4 (genius.com)
In high school, I remember doubting my life.
Questioning if I even believed in God anymore, I couldn’t fathom how He could love me. If my existence perished, I was convinced that the world would quickly move on unscathed.
Over time, I rededicated my life to Christ after going to church with a best friend. That step renewed my desire to live for God and love more like Him with each day. It also restored the possibility of having victory over my battles.
I later attempted to prioritize my faith in college – joining and leading Bible studies, singing with the gospel choir, taking on leadership in the Black community, and finding friends and support systems that grounded me in hope. While these experiences were instrumental in shaping my growth, I easily became discouraged whenever obstacles, familiar and new, arose. All of the “baby” and major steps that I climbed in acts of faith threatened to crumble.
“Faith” was one of the songs that introduced me to my favorite rapper, Kendrick Lamar. (Some of you who know me well may be surprised, but to clarify, Tupac is my favorite artist, not rapper). Included on the Kendrick Lamar EP (2009), this track wrestles with the experience of mustering faith only to lose it in an instant. Kendrick and featured rapper/Top Dawg Entertainment founder, Punch, narrate the imperfect journey of themselves and others, like the:
“single Black parent from Compton…Looked to the heavens and asked Him to make a better way/Then got a letter in the mail, lost her Section 8/Then lost her faith again.”
I was compelled to write this post after listening to Kendrick’s words again. Lately, I’ve been thinking about how it can be incredibly difficult to, one, have faith, and two, pursue spiritual growth with enthusiasm. According to the New Living Translation of the Bible,
“Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” (Hebrews 11:1, NLT)
I’ve recently been feeling too lazy to go to church or read my Bible. I have been frustrated with not knowing how God wants me to advocate for social justice. My goal to pray more remains unaccomplished. I’m also still encountering fears that require nothing shy of faith to overcome.
Everything about my relationship with God seems to be currently lagging, and this challenge is difficult to admit. Yet, perhaps, it helps to be honest about the high, mundane, and low points of pursuing faith.
I’m wondering how others have persevered, or are persevering, through similar struggles. In today’s times, what does it look like to sustain faith?