Unless you live in a cave, you’ve heard what a deadly week the last seven days have been. I started last week by reading about a singer, with stage four cancer. She’s forty and has a toddler. She’s gone into palliative care.
Then there was the pastor’s wife who was shot in the head and later died. They just announced they were expecting their second child. There’s a toddler at home. She was murdered in her own home, by a burglar. That heinous act has paralyzed me. I haven’t even processed the terrorist attacks on Paris because my heart is still in Indianapolis with that young pastor’s family and the church that he and his wife planted.
Maybe it’s because she’s a pastor’s wife. A sister, so to speak. It hurts even more because I understand how badly that pastor needs his wife as a ministry partner. He actually called her his ministry partner in a statement to the media. This young guy recognizes what a lot of pastor’s don’t, that she’s his helper, not eye candy or an accessory to be shown off. Or worse, his personal ministry slave. She was his partner. These are rare people. Treasures. Now one is gone. In a statement from a family spokesperson, they said, “We have extremely heavy hearts and although we are hurting tremendously, we are still hoping and believing that great things are still yet to come.”
I’m having a hard time swallowing that one. I’m struggling to see anything good here. Where is God in all this?
If I was still relying on the faith of my childhood, I’d be done. Faith made up of cartoon figures and pat sayings. A 2D faith. A faith on paper. We haven’t owned it. We are still riding on the faith coat tails of our parents or family name. Most of it is head knowledge with very little experience attached to it. It has little relevance to us in our everyday lives. 2D faith.
That’s not to say that our 2D faith can’t point us in the right direction of growth and maturity. It most definitely can. But we can’t stay in our 2D faith. It won’t sustain us.
To withstand this kind of evil, our faith needs to have roots, the deeper the better. I’m beginning to understand that faith is complicated. Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1 NIV) I can believe in something not seen but to have confidence that hope will arise? Really? That’s stretching my faith to the outer limits.
The thing is, once we believe in the One not seen, it becomes a relationship. Relationships are messy, even the best ones. Just ask any parent. Or spouse. God is God and there are things we will never understand about Him or his ways while we reside on earth. That complicates matters. Our own skewed perspectives and pain hinders us. So yeah, it’s complicated.
Does that mean we chuck it? Some days I want to if I’m being completely honest. Because I have no good answer for this past week. At. All. I don’t think anyone does.
The only answer I have is to turn back to that complicated relationship. To the Father waiting at the end of the driveway for His child. At some point our faith requires that we put our confidence, hope, in Him, if it is to grow.
Our faith needs to be alive and organic. It’s always moving. Hopefully growing and bearing fruit. But sometimes it shrinks in these dark days. I think that’s okay too because God didn’t ask us to be perfect. He loved us, sent His Son to die for our sins and then gave us the choice to follow Him. Not as people who parody Him or religious elite but as His children, who are in a relationship with Him. Following Him some days may be more of a holding on for dear life clutch of His coat, stumbling along behind. (That would be this week.) Other days it might be joyful running alongside of Him.
Our faith today, may look like talking to our Dad about how hard life is here some days. Crying on His shoulder and letting Him comfort us. Through His Word. Through the Holy Spirit. Through people, music, nature. However you communicate with God.
It may look like living to our utmost because we are so grateful that today we are alive.
Our faith is finding joy in the midst of the rubble because our hope is Him. Because He’s promised he’s not going to leave us or forsake us. Evil and trouble aren’t going to stop but He’s going to walk us through it. We are not alone. That is the hope. It rises about all the evil out there.
I take comfort in the words of Isaiah 55:8 The Voice
Eternal One: My intentions are not always yours, and I do not go about things as you do.
It’s trusting that our Dad’s got it in His hands. Then we can get up and walk back into the dark, our lights blazing because it’s attached to the Son. Three dimensional faith.