Not exactly a title that most Christian magazines want plastered across their pages. So I won’t be waiting by the mailbox for a request for further writing opportunities from their editors! I have always promised to be honest and the reality is…life with God is tougher than you think.
For the past decade, I think my two most consistent prayers to God were…”You are good and I trust you.” That decade was not an easy one…we lost Chris’ beloved mother during those years to brain cancer, we shifted jobs, and navigated some difficult personal waters. But my fervent prayers and journals were littered with the words to which I tethered my faith: “God, you are good and I trust you.”
Today…(post Uganda)…my prayers are different. On really good days I pray, “I believe in my head you are good…help me to trust you.” I like being that flat out honest because I think it helps others to do the same. I wish I could be some sort of spiritual giant who walks through fire and comes out unscathed…never flinching and never feeling a single flame.
“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.” **
But y’all, I had my faith shattered and my trust broken. (Insert Jim Gaffigan’s high pitched, squeaky disapproving voice… “Can she say that out loud?“) Yep. Said it. But here’s the thing…I have not lost hope. And hope will lead me back around to stronger faith and more trust…I am convinced of this.
I am in good company with those who figured out a way to find faith despite their circumstances….
“Each one of these people of faith died not yet having in hand what was promised, but still believing. How did they do it? They saw it way off in the distance, waved their greeting, and accepted the fact that they were transients in this world. People who live this way make it plain that they are looking for their true home. If they were homesick for the old country, they could have gone back any time they wanted. But they were after a far better country than that–heaven country. **
Here is where I really want to pause. This is a bigger ask than many of us sign up for in our faith walks. We want redemption…now…today…this year…in our lifetime. We want a pretty bow or a sign and simple explanation that our suffering proved “worth it” somehow. If you are reading what I am reading…that never happened for our forefathers…and yet, somehow, they still believed.
“Not one of these people, even though their lives of faith were exemplary, got their hands on what was promised.” **
I love the way the Message summarizes their lives of faith, hope and trust:
They were simply…
“...making their way as best they could on the cruel edges of the world.” **
Oh how I resonate. Me too. There is beauty in this place…I see it. The sunrise and sunset daily bring beauty. You, my friends and family, (relationship) bring beauty. But there are also some seriously jagged and cruel edges that tear you up. And for some, you don’t quite recover. I desire to be a kid who takes her cue from these mighty men and women of the faith. They trusted and had faith despite their circumstances. Lead me wise ones…there is no other alternative…life with God on this earth is my option. So may I find courage in their quests…not looking for a way to explain away the suffering I see…or waiting patiently for there to be a perfectly happy ending to a sad story…that is what heaven was made for…true redemption.
(** All are excerpts from the Message version of Hebrews 11.)
May You Be a Blessing and May You Be Blessed,