Change is inevitable, but what about our beliefs themselves changing?
Life changes as we grow older, and we all know that it does. We have different friends the older we get, the more our personalities change either the people around us change with us, or we find new friends that suit us better. Our bodies change; some of us grow into those buck teeth from second grade, or their ears don't seem so disproportionate to their eyeballs anymore, some women gain curves and men become more buff with age, and the rest of them get a bit chubby.
Beliefs change. When I was a young kid, I didn't believe God existed because I didn't think sickness was something "God" would give. As I grew older I felt this longing to understand why anything even existed; "what's the point??" I was constantly wondering. Without any instruction or real reason why, I came to the conclusion that there had to be something. God started showing me things in dreams. Images from a mission trip I would attend at 14 entered my dreams at age 8. Whenever I question an existence I recall the amount of times I have seen things in dreams that later on occurred when God was trying to tell me something.
I'm sure that other people have their reasons that seem just as solid for them to believe or not believe in a higher being, but one thing I could NEVER understand is going from what seemed like an unshakable faith to deciding not to believe. Friends that I grew up with, they were like brothers and sisters to me, just woke up one day and thought, "I don't want to live this anymore" (or possibly something similar) and they don't.
This wasn't simply a loss of a moral value or a belief. One of my friends grew exhausted of their environment and the friends they had felt hurt by in the church, so instead of getting new friends, this person turned their back on God. Their life is school, their significant other, and their family. Being personally affected by this person's self-isolation, I don't know how to convince them that they were happy once and it had a lot to do with God. Christians that are hurt by Christian friends have a hard time staying on track. I myself had constant fights with God for ending my relationship with a Christian boyfriend a while back, but now I know it was for the best.
Another friend of mine decided they were too smart for it all. Too many questions were unanswered, and they couldn't find an answer for these questions. I suspect they had something to do with evolution or something similar. They also said to me that being a Christian was a hard lifestyle and they just didn't want that lifestyle anymore. I don't think I've ever been so disappointed in someone when I heard them tell me that. I couldn't stop crying.
The big thing that I disagree with, is that Christianity is not a lifestyle. Granted, there are those that live something we call a "Christian lifestyle" but it's not the same thing as say, being a vegetarian. There are no complete set of a specific person that you have to be for God to accept you and love you and for you to go to Heaven. Jesus still loves me even though I go out for drinks with my girlfriends and I say "fuck" a lot. Are there things about myself that I could change for the better? Of course, but that's more a moral thing and not just a biblical demand.
Christianity is a way of believing and putting your heart into something that may not even be real. Faith is not a lifestyle. Faith in Jesus is just that: FAITH. I can act out things in my life through having that faith, but whether I flip somebody off in traffic doesn't mean I don't love Jesus just as much as I did beforehand.
My friends didn't lose a lifestyle, (although they did change theirs completely from the way we used to be) they lost their faith. I weep for them, and now after adding another to the list, I weep even more. Will I soon be the only one left? Will I be all alone in my faith out of the Christian brothers and sisters that I grew up with and built my faith on thinking we were all in this journey of life together? I can't let God down. I watched these people that I love cry to God, pray to God, sing to God, play instruments and dance for God, become so ravished with the Holy Spirit that we couldn't stop praising His name for hours on end, fast for over 30 hours, abstain from immoral actions, and many many many other actions took place all from these people that truly did at one point LOVE GOD.
How can you lose faith? Can you really have love without faith? And then there's being able to hope in something... they really do all go together. I can't come up with anything to explain why losing faith is such a devastation, but honestly my heart shattered every time I heard it from another person I knew, just as I think God's heart shatters when one of His children decide they're better off without their Father. To not know in the first place is somehow understandable, but to be fully aware of something and have it move your soul and then throw seems to me the same as if someone were to fly a plane, land, and then walk away still claiming flying is impossible for mankind.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, if I didn't have a God to turn to, I would've killed myself a long time ago. I would rather live my life for something that possibly isn't there, then die to find out that there is. Looking at some of this change in some that I used to know so well I just think, "Where was I when you lost yourself? I should've been there." All I can do is pray and know that no matter how many turn their backs on Him, God never turns His back on you.