I remember the moment with great clarity. A good friend of mine, whom I had known for a number of years, approached and said, “Sometimes, when I read the Bible, I struggle with God. I see the way that he acts in the pages of Scripture and begin to doubt that he is kind.”
I felt like I had been punched in the gut. Who are we to judge God’s actions? And of all the things concerning God, why question his kindness?
God never needs us to stick up for his character -- he is absolutely sovereign and able to validate his own heart towards us on his terms and in his timing. However, I deeply felt as if I needed to say something. I sensed a compulsion to correct her misconception of who God is. I wanted to rally her back to the truth of the Bible. But as the words tumbled from her lips, I began to see my own questions more clearly, and wondered if we were in the same boat.
As I reflect on the time that I have spent growing in my relationship with Jesus over the years, I can say that I, too, have had my doubts regarding God’s character.
When tragedy strikes, evil transpires, and death snuffs out life around us, it is easy for our wavering hearts to wonder whether God truly is who he claims to be and wanderingly drift into doubt. Other times, if we are honest with ourselves, we tend to doubt God for no reason at all. We encounter a situation, a problem, a job, and rather than trusting God to give the endurance or provision required, we live as if he is not there at all, taking the burden and worry upon ourselves. I have found in my own life that I am often scared to talk to God about those questions, concerns and doubts. I fear that if I voice such things, something would shift in our relationship, that he might turn away.
When I study the Scriptures, particularly the gospel narratives of Jesus’ life, I am comforted to find that, time and again, Jesus encountered the doubts of his disciples, those closest to him. The most vivid accounts often involve moments of chaos when things were out of the disciples’ control. When the disciples were on the boat in the Sea of Galilee, they feared the wind and the waves while Jesus, the Creator, dozed in the hull nearby. And later, Peter walked towards Jesus on those same waters and began to sink because he shifted his focus from the Savior to the sea. Likewise, there are also many seemingly mundane moments in the gospels when the disciples, for no apparent reason, doubted God’s provision of daily needs, like bread and clothing, as if he had somehow given them a reason to question his care for them.
One of the sweetest realities to see is that Jesus always rebukes the disciples before he changes their situation. Why? Because God never pretends that our doubts are not real.
Unlike us, he does not close his eyes to them and hope they will disappear. In his great kindness he calls them what they are, he speaks into them, and he presents Jesus, the able Savior, who is ready to stand with us in our doubt in order to move us from the place of faltering to the place of faith.
That day, when my friend voiced her doubt in the Lord’s kindness, I was reminded of a question that Paul asked in the book of Romans. Attempting to correct the hypocritical mindset of those moralists who judge without examining their own hearts, Paul asked, “...do you not know that it is the kindness of God that leads you to repentance?” (Rom. 2:4b). I looked at my friend and simply said, “The Lord is kind.” What she did not know was that I said it for my own benefit as well as hers.
Doubt is often a reality for believers in Jesus Christ. We see this clearly in every gospel account, and in our own experiences. Although it can cripple us and cause us to constantly question his character and even existence, God can use doubt to drive us to our knees and draw us again into renewed faith.
Like Peter upon the waves, we are confronted daily with the question of focus. Will we be consumed by the storm of questions and sea of doubt? Or will we fix our eyes by grace through faith on the Savior? I pray that we will do the latter. He stands ready to embrace us of little faith. He is big enough for our doubt, and kind enough for our questions, ever delighting to move us from doubt into deeper faith.
Conway, Loris, Aynor and Western Horry
■ Homewood Baptist Church, 3296 Highway 319, Conway, will hold a community giveaway to include food and games Oct. 30, noon to 3 p.m. The afternoon will begin under the picnic shelter with soup and chili. Following that will be carnival-type activities for children while parents shop for free. Organizers say there will be a variety of items to look through.
Everything is free!
■ Loris First United Methodist Church, 3507 Broad St., has a blessing box in the church and it is available each Friday from 4:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m. This box contains non-perishable food items and individuals in need are encouraged to come to the church at those times. Also, if you would like to donate items, please place them in the box.
■ Dogwood Hill Baptist Church, 1040 Mt. Zion Road in Loris, has a food pantry on the third Saturday of each month from 8 a.m.-10 a.m.
■ Salem Baptist Church, 4008 Salem Road in Aynor, opens its food bank on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month from 9 a.m. until noon. The mission: “We serve Christ when we serve people.”
Call (843) 347-5168 or go online to www.stjamesconway.org.
■ Dogwood Hill Baptist Church Food Pantry, 1040 Mt. Zion Road, Loris, has a food pantry the third Saturday of each month from 8 a.m. until 10 a.m. “In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sigh Language, etc.) should contact the Agency (state or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at 800-877-8330. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English. To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at: http://www.ascr.usda. gov/complaint_filing_cust.html and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. This institution is an equal opportunity provider.
■ Christ the Servant Lutheran Church will hold its Fall Flea Market again.
Tables are available for a $15 donation.
The church is at 2105 U.S. 501 E., Conway, across from HGTC/CCU.
Call (843) 457-3547 for a registration form.
■ Bethany Bible Chapel, 1668 Four Mile Road, Conway will hold Homecoming Nov. 14 at 10:30 a.m., and Fall Revival Services, Nov. 14-17 at 7 p.m.
There will be special music, testimonies and messages each night! Speaker is Steven Harrell.
■ Bethany Baptist Church, 3160 Hwy 45 Loris, will hold its Annual Homecoming Services 2021 at 10 a.m. Special singing will be provided by The Royal descendants. The Rev. Andy Bell will deliver the Homecoming message.
Lunch will be served by the church. All are invited.
Myrtle Beach/The Coast
■ You are invited to the following services and activities at The Well by The Sea, 211 Forestbrook Road: Something NEW: Broadcasting live on Wednesdays at 4 p.m. on The Well By The Sea Facebook Live, The Deep Dive is a question and answer show fueled by questions sent in by the community. Questions can be about God, the Bible, prophecy, things relating to the Christian life or any spiritual things that you don't understand or wonder about. No serious question is excluded. They will be entered into the queue for an upcoming show. "LIKE" The Well By The Sea's Facebook page and be automatically notified when the show is about to begin. You may also replay whatever you miss. If watching the show live, you may send a question in the comments section. Or, send questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, at the Well By The Sea: In-person Bible study/discussion group on the “9 Supernatural Gifts of the Holy Spirit” on Mondays at 11 a.m. (no cost, no RSVP, masks required).
An in-person (or Zoom) weekly bereavement/loss support group meets every Sunday at 6:30 p.m. Email email@example.com.
In-person hangout for young adults (ages 18-30); every Saturday at 7 p.m. Come for a free meal and planned activity. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
■ Father Anthony Montesinos Columbiettes Auxiliary No. 5086 of St. Andrew Catholic Church, 503 37th Ave. North will hold its holiday bazaar Nov. 13 from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. in the St. Andrews Community Life Center, 507 37th Ave. North in Myrtle Beach. Call (908) 938-1433 or email email@example.com.
■ The Socastee Pantry is now open and serving. This food pantry will be located at A Father’s House, 4513 U.S. 17 Bypass in Myrtle Beach. Hours are Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. and Saturday 7 a.m.-10 a.m.
The pantry is sponsored by Faith Outreach Ministries and operated by local veterans. It will provide much needed food and necessities to the needy in our community. Call (843) 474-9900 or visit www.faithoutreachministries-gs.org.
■ Temple Emanu-El by the Sea, 406 65th Ave., North, Myrtle Beach, will hold upcoming Zoom and Temple services: Chaye Sarah Oct. 30 at 6 p.m. Call (843) 449-5552 or go to www.mbsynagogue.org.
“Anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor and outdoor activities with wearing a mask and physical distancing.”
Hebrew School, 4 p.m.-6 p.m.
Chanukah, Nov. 29-Dec. 5.
Steffi Nathan Scholarship Fund
Open to all Jewish College students. Applications
available in the temple office. Scholarships are awarded each semester.
Sisterhood is once again collecting socks and underwear (any age/any size) for Fostering Hope.
■ Faith Church on S.C. 90 in Little River sponsors Celebrate Recovery on Tuesdays at 6 p.m.
■ Together in Christ has a Wednesday Zoom prayer meeting from noon-12:30 p.m. each week. Prayer changes everything and you are invited to pray with the mid-week group. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
■ St. Michael’s Catholic Church, 542 Cypress Ave. in Murrells Inlet, has a life chain every first Sunday at 12:30 p.m. on U.S. 17 Business near the church driveway. You are invited to participate in this event. (Bring a chair if not able to stand for the hour.) Contact Joanne Bennett at (614) 313-8425 or email Joanne.bennett55@ gmail.com.
■ Myrtle Beach Christian Church, 1226 Burcale Road, opens its thrift store each week, Monday-Saturday from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. You are encouraged to come out and browse and buy and, in so doing, you’ll be supporting this community outreach. Call (843) 236-1121.
■ Temple Shalom, 4023 Belle Terre Blvd., invites you to Shabbat services each Saturday at 10:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. Call (843) 903-6634 or go online to templeshalommyrtlebeach.net.
■ Grand Strand Baptist Church, 350 Hospitality Lane, Myrtle Beach, will hold its 32nd Annual “Jubilee By The Sea”, Nov.3-7. Admission is free.
Featured during the week will be The Whisnants, The Erwins, The Taylors, Doug Smith. There will be a Children’s Program and Great Preaching Each Service.
Times are Wednesday through Saturday, 6:30 p.m.; and Sunday. 10 a.m.
Call (843) 236-2233 or visit www.grandstrandbaptist.com for details.