I think this happens all the time.
One of the things that I see that causes people to turn away, is confusion and disorientation. UNCERTAINTY. When the freedom of God comes close to disentangle us from that which we are bound by (often things we have become comfortable and familiar with) it can be rather confusing and disorienting to say the least. But the people I speak of have had some very controlling fear based things ingrained in them. How many times have we heard that God is not a God of confusion?
I agree....he is not confused at all. But when his wisdom and his ways invade our space (shaped by alienation) you can be darn well sure that some confusion and disorientation is going to be experienced. Every time the Spirit moves to make a correction inside us to set another place inside us free, it turns our comfortable and definable understanding UPSIDE DOWN. That will create some confusion. If we want to walk with and follow Jesus into more and more places of freedom....be prepared to be confused and disoriented at times.
Once we learn to trust the one we are following, this confusion and disorientation begins to subside. As the life shaped by the attempts at living independently...alienated from God begins to die, and new life/free life.....who we truly are in him begins to rise up and walk. This is a walk of faith.
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
From The Message: Hebrews 11:1
The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It's our handle on what we can't see. The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd.
I love these thoughts by Richard Rohr. This is from an NPR interview. It was in December of last year that I ran across this. What a couple years of being Utterly Humbled By Mystery it has turned out to be.
"I believe in mystery and multiplicity. To religious believers this may sound almost pagan. But I don't think so. My very belief and experience of a loving and endlessly creative God has led me to trust in both.
I've had the good fortune of teaching and preaching across much of the globe, while also struggling to make sense of my experience in my own tiny world. This life journey has led me to love mystery and not feel the need to change it or make it un-mysterious. This has put me at odds with many other believers I know who seem to need explanations for everything.
Religious belief has made me comfortable with ambiguity. "Hints and guesses," as T.S. Eliot would say. I often spend the season of Lent in a hermitage, where I live alone for the whole 40 days. The more I am alone with the Alone, the more I surrender to ambivalence, to happy contradictions and seeming inconsistencies in myself and almost everything else, including God. Paradoxes don't scare me anymore.
When I was young, I couldn't tolerate such ambiguity. My education had trained me to have a lust for answers and explanations. Now, at age 63, it's all quite different. I no longer believe this is a quid pro quo universe -- I've counseled too many prisoners, worked with too many failed marriages, faced my own dilemmas too many times and been loved gratuitously after too many failures.
Whenever I think there's a perfect pattern, further reading and study reveal an exception. Whenever I want to say "only" or "always," someone or something proves me wrong. My scientist friends have come up with things like "principles of uncertainty" and dark holes. They're willing to live inside imagined hypotheses and theories. But many religious folks insist on answers that are always true. We love closure, resolution and clarity, while thinking that we are people of "faith"! How strange that the very word "faith" has come to mean its exact opposite.
People who have really met the Holy are always humble. It's the people who don't know who usually pretend that they do. People who've had any genuine spiritual experience always know they don't know. They are utterly humbled before mystery. They are in awe before the abyss of it all, in wonder at eternity and depth, and a Love, which is incomprehensible to the mind. It is a litmus test for authentic God experience, and is -- quite sadly -- absent from much of our religious conversation today. My belief and comfort is in the depths of Mystery, which should be the very task of religion."