Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Leaving Room For Faith

What happened to March? I look up and its April. I guess there have been a few things happening as TriTPastor2B will soon B. My "List of Lasts" continues to grow and I anxiously await the "List of Firsts". Although there is an element of nervousness as I transition from the known world of health care into the new role in ministry, I must admit that I struggle with guilt at times. I feel guilty that I get to do something I love so much and have prayed for so long and I actually get paid to do it. How could I be so blessed? I am so very thankful! Just yesterday during my jog, I was brought to tears as I considered the privilege I have of serving God as a messenger of hope at a time when so many people are searching for answers.

Which brings me to my thought today. I have been struck recently by our compelling need to have all the answers. Yet, more often than not, we simply don't have the answers - especially to some of life's most difficult questions. My parents still ask why their son did not live past the young age of 30. My sister-in-law questions why God would remove the man of her dreams from her loving embrace. I still weep at the thought of missing my brother. And we all ask why? So many others have faced similar struggles and they strive to make sense of the unexplainable - miscarriages, suicide, children with disabilities, cancer...and the list goes on.

As we face such difficulties we all ask the same question: Why? We seek answers to explain why such terrible tragedies occur. How can this be? Somehow (we assume) if we just knew the answer to why these things happen, it will give us peace.

Even this past Easter Sunday, I heard 2 very good messages on the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Each proclaiming the powerful reality of the our risen Savior and the evidence to support this historical fact. I wholeheartedly believe what was communicate but it does demonstrate our inherent need for answers, our opposition to blind faith and our drive to make the leap of faith as narrow as possible.

I am not against seeking answers. In fact, I don't think we can avoid it. I believe apologetics has in important role in helping to establish what I believe. But I am equally convinced that we must leave room for faith. And the reason is, we will inevitably encounter times in our life when we face the answerable question...the tragedy that has no answer. Now what do we do? When we cannot conclude with a comforting explanation, how do we keep walking?

For those who have left room for faith, we rely on "the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." (Heb 11:1) We release our demands for an answer and we trust that He who said He was faithful, merciful, full of grace and love, is true to His claims, even when we do not understand.

Oh, but wouldn't life be easier if we were a scientist. A person who's life is built upon evidence and answers. Well, one of the greatest scientists I have ever known explained to his class the day he began his lecture on evolution with these words, "Before we get started, you need to know that our study of evolution and creationism are both theories based on faith. Although one exists in the scientific community and I personally believe in evolution, I do so based on faith because there are gaps that have no answer. Evolution and Creationism are not based on science and faith respectively. Instead, faith is fundamental to each of them. It is simply a matter of where you choose to place your faith."

Even an atheist is a person of faith. They cannot prove that there is no God, but must believe, by faith, that what they cling to is true. In that sense, every human being since the beginning of time is a person of faith. It's simply a matter of where you choose to place your faith. And the more difficult the tragedy. The more painful the loss. The more space we need for faith - blind faith. The assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

Faith of any color is blind. It is the conviction of things not seen. But does it give you hope? Is what you believe through faith an assurance of things you hope for?

I believe, by faith, I will see my brother restored and made new. No cancer and no regrets, waiting for me to join him in worship of the Savior who has healed him for eternity. Parents will be reunited with children, no sickness, no sorrow, no pain. Faith with a substance of hope.
That is the difference!

How else can you explain the email I received yesterday from a mom who lost her child in a terrible tragedy within hours of writing these words:

Dear Friends,
It is with great sadness and joy that I let you all know that our son went home to be with his Father today. We rejoice for him and grieve only for ourselves that we will miss his person in our home. He suffered a head injury this morning when he fell off his horse at therapeutic riding and was transported immediately to surgery where he died on the operating table. We cannot know but can only impute integrity to God that he did not intervene on our son's behalf. We can only trust that this was perhaps a tender mercy as he passed very quickly and did not suffer. Please pray for us - this is a test of fire and of faith. We will be unavailable for a few days as we need time to think and to make some weighty decisions for our family. We will let you know when the memorial will occur when we know ourselves. Our son's life was a testimony to the goodness of God and we want his memory to reflect that. Maranatha!

When life gives us questions that have no answers, do we have space for faith? A place for the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen?