Spiritual Dropouts

Lou Lotz

READ : Matthew 26:47-56

Then all the disciples left him and fled. (v. 56)

The disciples have had enough. “All the disciples left him and fled.” Those of us who live in Christian subcultures – weekly worship, mission trips, youth groups, Christian schools – have difficulty imagining how anyone could turn away from Jesus.

The disciples flee, presumably because they are afraid that they too will be arrested. Today, for some believers in some lands, that is still a possibility. Others quit because they lose faith in the church as an institution or because of unanswered prayers, intellectual doubts, or nagging questions: “How could a good God let this happen?”

Still others have the faith pounded out of them by traumas that break the heart. About a year ago my son was diagnosed with a rare form of lymphoma. Thus far, chemotherapy treatments have not arrested the spread of the disease. I haven’t lost faith – not by a long shot – but I’m a little more understanding, and a little less judgmental, of those who do.

We need to remember that authentic spirituality always includes – not excludes – what is bothering you the most. We are all like that anguished father in Mark’s Gospel, who cries out: “I believe; help my unbelief!” (9:24). To stay in the faith doesn’t mean you have to solve every problem or answer every question. We do not believe because; we believe in spite of. Besides, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68).


Lord, I believe; help my unbelief. Amen.