“Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel.” ~Colossians 1:21-23a
Circumstance can play a huge role in our perception of faith. I learned this the hard way. My son went to war.
My faith in God’s sovereignty never wavered. I completely believed He was in control of the situation. I completely believed He had a plan in place for my son’s life from the moment of his conception. The difficulty for me was that I didn’t know the plan.
And my fears of what might be started strangling me…
And my trust began to falter…
I didn’t go to church more than once or twice for five months of the deployment.
Yet God was faithful to me all the while I was ignoring Him. He fully heard my pain-filled cries that were brought to His throne by the Comforter I refused to acknowledge. Even though I directed my rage toward Him, He sent peace my way. His love chipped at the wall I built between us. As the light of His Truth began to beam through the smallest of openings, desire to hear His word preached rekindled in my heart.
One Sunday in January I went to church.
I went back the next Sunday. And the next…
Grace began it’s healing process. I could listen to the Gospel spoken without tears of grief. And one glorious Thursday in April I held my son in my arms once again. I could breathe finally.
I still struggle with the question of why some are taken while others are spared. Whether in war or natural disasters or the acts of another, the suffering seems so random. I’m back to the beginning: I don’t know the plan. And most of the time I’m okay with that.
Last Sunday’s sermon brought to mind my son’s beaming face after a church retreat when he was 15. He had discovered the root of his own faith in the story of the fiery furnace. His faith mantra became, “But if not.” That sweet memory of my son’s trust in God’s plan is helping me to trust again.
“Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.
But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.” ~Daniel 3:16-18
O Lord, deliver me from my own fears. Guide me to trust you fully and to stand steadfast in You.
Miriam Pauline is hosting In Other Words today at MiPa’s Monologue.