The past few months have found me in the midst of some pretty great suffering. Not my own, but others. It seems like all around me people are struggling and hurting. But in the spirit of Springtime and new growth it is amazing what I have seen in all of this...extreme faith. Faith that makes you weep and draw nearer to our God. Last night as I was working alone in the quiet, my thoughts turned to this Easter season. I have always been drawn to the dark beauty of Good Friday, one of the most violent and tragic days in our history as a people. I have always recognized that without Jesus' suffering on the cross, there would be no resurrection. As I was meditating on what that selfless act has meant for me, my mind turned to all the hurt I have seen over the past few months and it clearly defined real faith for me.
Real faith doesn't come in the ease of the everyday or the comfort of routine, real faith comes when it is challenged...when you are face down in the depths of your pain and can trust God anyway...when you are hurting, the ones you love are hurting and you want it to stop but instead are able to find a way to glorify God in the midst of it. That is faith. Faith like the example Jesus gave us in His last moments on this earth. He cried out to Our father, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?" and in the complete surrender to God's will "Yet not my will, but yours be done." Even Jesus asked, why do I have to go through this? Isnt' there some other way? But sometimes, there is not. The only way to the Father was the cross. The thing I wish we could get in our culture is there was no other way and there is no other way except the cross of Calvary. It is the same today. Jesus didn't ask us to bring our own drinks and our favorite appetizer. He asked us to take up our cross and follow Him. We serve a God that CHOSE thorns over a throne. There is such intimate beauty with our King if we could only learn to embrace our sufferings. Faith comes in praising HIM anyhow. Not my will, Father, but yours. I have seen that faith firsthand amidst the suffering of others in the last few months.
Faith is in the mother of 5 boys taking in infant twins to care for and love on because they need a home.
Faith is in the heart of my 12 year old friend who lies in the hospital bed fighting for her life. Faith is in the grace of her parents praising God through this storm and standing hand in hand with friends around her bed thanking God for the opportunity to witness to others through this.
Faith is in the young mother I visited holding her not quite 4 pound son born 7 weeks premature who isn't hooked up to a single thing and there is no earthly explanation for his success.
Faith is in the locked arms of my family that surrounded my Papaw's bedside praying him in to the arms of Jesus. Faith is in my friend's brother as he struggled for each last breath.
Faith is in my Papaw's suffering and his quiet dignity and resignation to God's will for his life. Faith is in my friend's family embracing the life of their brother that lived each day in a wheelchair with a body that would not cooperate and lost his life far too young.
Faith is in the person that struggles with issues from their past and is haunted by the memories but knows that is not how God defines them.
Faith is in the wife that fights for her marriage that the world told her long ago to abandon.
Faith is in the patience of the mother that comforts and calms her autistic son for the 6th time that day
Faith is in the waiting for more than 2 years to bring your child home with you as they sit in an orphanage half a world away without you.
Faith is in my father-in-law that lived his life serving Christ and now sits and stares, his mind and soon body lost to Alzheimers.
Faith is in the cross. Faith is in knowing that the celebration is yet to come. Faith is in trusting that whatever I have to go through on this earth is nothing compared to what spending eternity apart from Jesus would be like. Faith is in our yes, to you God. Not my will, but yours be done. It's in trusting in God's sovereignty.
All this suffering, pain, struggles....all this blech!...Does it hurt? Absolutely. Do we wish there was another way? Sure. Do we cry out to God and ask why and ask if there is any other way. Yes, yes, yes. But there is beauty in the suffering, ya'll. There is a grace I cannot explain. There is an intimacy with our Savior if we can only learn to embrace our cross as He did. And then....after all that....after that real faith...then resurrection comes.