Faith in the Unseen

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see (Heb 11:1).”  It is easy to have faith when life goes the way we want it to go or if we ask for something and get it, but faith.  Like most people, I was comfortable where I was in life and I had an expectation of what was going to happen—should happen.  Parents die in old age before children.  Children don’t get sick.  Evil doesn’t win.  My faith was one dimensional because I simply did not understand.  Oh, I thought I did and I  thought I was doing what was required of me, but I was complacent.  My fire burned under a bushel and was largely ineffective.  People do not listen to people who live in the proverbial glass houses, do they?  I didn’t.

 

Think about people in the Bible held as examples of faith.  They were flawed.  David was an adulterer who set up the intentional murder of his impregnated lover, yet God blessed him in spite of himself.  He had to move beyond himself and his flaws, however for God to use him.  It was in the loss of a beloved child that David was able to find meaning and purpose. 

 

Did God take David’s child because of David’s egregious sin?  I do not believe that God works that way.  If I thought that, it would mean that my lack of faith was the reason that Phil was killed and that evil won that day.  My hope started when I fell to my knees and chose to fall into my faith versus turning from the faith I have claimed since I was 6.  I cannot see that which I drop my anchor, nor can I put my hands into Jesus’ wounds.  I am like doubting Thomas, however because I still want to know why Phil and why the other 8.  I still want answers or at least a glimpse into the future.

 

Like Moses, I question whether or not there are others better equipped to speak and write on this journey of loss.  I relate to Moses when he argues with God saying, “ O lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant.  I am slow of speech and tongue (Ex 4:10).”  Amen.  I am.  There are people that could do better.  Pick them.  Not me.  Why me?  Like Moses, I cry out for God to pick someone else, but the answer comes to Moses and to me.  “I will help you speak and I will teach you what to do (Exodus 4: 15).” 

 

Could it be that through my darkest hours, and in my weakest state that I am finally ready to stand out of the way and to let the fire blaze?  I am just a girl who is trying to  find her footing and trying to honor my faith and the man who loved me well for 25 years.  Could it be that in our brokenness, hope is forged and in that hope against all hope, faith and purpose push us out of the ashes to compel us into a deeper faith and a  purpose driven life?

 

This purpose came with someone else losing his life.  The most gut wrenching part of faith that I cannot wrap my arms around is people suffering.  My paradigm has changed, however.  It has changed in the way I do look at life.  It is not a matter of if we will have body slams, but when if we live long enough.  While I believe that God is able to heal and able to stop the evil in the room that day, people are given choices and that life on earth is not a guarantee.  Is it fatalistic to believe that if it is my time to go, it is my time to go no matter where I am?  I am not taking stupid risks, but I recognize that death is going to come as a surprise to most of us.  Some of us will die sooner rather than later which is the reason I know, I really know why I cannot hide the faith that compels me or the purpose that compels me forward.

 

It doesn’t escape me that I am able to do things that before would have made me cower and become nauseous.  I sometimes think that it comes down to talking about something that matters too much to hide.  Shouldn’t faith be like that?  I know that I am like Peter.  I can keep quiet when I should be standing up and saying , “Why, yes!  YES!  I am a woman of faith.”  Like Peter, I stand by and let things slide.  I am guilty.  In the choice to fall into my faith on my grief journey, however, I cannot control the zeal or the ideas that come flooding out.  I am good at the job that isn’t even mine really because I live this walk, believe in what I am saying heart and soul, and I truly believe that this is what God called me to do even before Phil came into my life.  Every talent and every interest I have are being maximized so that I am a better version of me. 

I have broken.  Most notably I broke completely on 24 June 2011.  I just had received Phil’s autopsy report and the pictures of his broken body.  I did not intend to look at the pictures, but the autopsy report did not match the words I had been told.  I do not have problems looking at blood, brokenness, etc, but when I saw my Phil’s broken body, I broke.  This was my Phil.  He was barely 44 and he was beautiful body and soul.  I crawled into bed weeping.  My heart was broken.  I was broken.  While I didn’t want to die, I cried from the inconsolable place of wondering why him and why not me.  As I wept, I felt an electric jolt (like a shock) and felt and saw me standing with someone before a preacher.  I sobbed on wondering how I could be so disloyal as to be thinking of this when all I wanted was Phil.  I felt the jolt stronger the second time and the picture was more vivid.  i was terrified.  I lept out of bed and tripped on the blankets.  As I lay on the floor weeping, I looked up.  I saw the first complete double rainbow I had ever seen.  I didn’t know how (and I opften still do not know how) it was going to be okay, but that image, that shock, and that double rainbow became God’s very real promise to me.  It became my burning bush, per se.

 

While I still wonder why me and why my Phil, isn’t it true that all of us have suffered and all of us will continue to have body slams if we live long enough?  Isn’t it true that all of us would rather me the afflicted versus the survivor?  It is hard to watch another person suffer.  I would rather be the ne to suffer, but in the loss of Phil, I have found that surviving is sometimes harder when the dream ends, the hope of a future going the way we dreamt, and when days press on.  I have found that while I cannot answer the question of why him, why there is suffering, I have discovered that hope is in the unseen and in the hope against all hope of something beyond today.  I simply choose to believe that and to fall into that faith even though I feel ill equipped to be a woman anyone looks to.  I am flawed, but still I will press on keeping the faith until the end.

 

 

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