Unshakable Faith

In December of 2001 my husband’s lymphoma returned with a vengeance, just three short months after his oncologist had declared his CT-scan cancer-free. I think that Hank already knew what the oncologist was affirming; he had been able to sense the changes in his body. As for me I was in complete denial. Hank was in the hospital and by three o’clock in the afternoon I was wishing that it were bedtime so that I could pull the covers over my head and forget, for a while at least, the tsunami that was crashing into my life. All I wanted was for Hank to live and to be healthy so that we could get back to our “normal” life together. But I have learned that “normal” is a moving target.

In the midst of this unfolding trauma, when we knew that the secondary treatments were harsher and less curative, I heard this clearly: “if you can just hold all possible outcomes equally, well, then….” I could have ignored that inner voice, but I had had twenty years of practice of listening for God’s Indwelling Spirit’s voice and following whatever it said. As I started down this road with Christ, I quickly realized that God never thinks like I do, so his voice is easy to recognize. And so it was this time.

And so I entertained that thought of holding all possible outcomes equally, until I could actually do it. And then it occurred to me that in any situation there are literally thousands of possible outcomes. The minute that I could hold all outcomes equally, my energy returned and I was full of joy and sorrow, with neither polluting the other. For the next six to seven weeks, that was my practice: to hold all outcomes equally.

The next thing that happened was a gift of faith in God that went so wide and deep that nothing, nothing could move or push or pull me off the rock of my faith in God. I would have said before this happened that I had great faith in God, but this faith left me unshakable. So I was able to support my husband and our kids and our friends through this passage and feel myself sustained throughout. Even as we called in hospice and made preparations for his death, I was still holding other options than his dying. And when he died, I dropped into the grief.

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fail, because it had its foundation on the rock.”[Matthew 7:25] I had never experienced that unshakable faith in God before Hank’s death, but it has been in my life ever since—through the grief and rebuilding of a life, through the loss of retiring together, through our kids’ struggles, all in their 20’s at the time.

I know now that no matter whether I get sick or die or suffer untold losses, that I will be fine, that the Lord will be at my side endowing me with the strength to see it through, that my kids will be fine, too, although their lives may be in turmoil. This is the life that we have here on Earth. There is suffering and sorrow in everyone’s life. There is guilt and shame. There is all that each of us humans do to each other.

We still do not live what Jesus came to teach us. We prefer to take the easier road of belief. He taught how to live, not from the world’s point of view, but from what God created us to be, people of God each fulfilling his/her purpose in love and peace and joy and expressing the other fruit of the Spirit, showing the ones who are so captivated by the world what the kingdom looks like in lives lived in it.

For me, now armed with this unshakable faith, this amazing gift, I know my place in the universe. God and I are managing my life. God and I are dealing with my challenges. God and I are celebrating life itself. I defer to God in everything because he always knows what is best for me. Thanks be to God.

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Questions to Ponder over the week: How well do I know God? How deep is my relationship to God? How unshakable is my faith? How would I ask God to ground me in such faith?

 

Blessing for the week: May we be the people of God who have an unshakable faith. May we be the people of God who live in his peace. May we be love everywhere we go.

 

Also look on my FB page at By the Waters for 4 videos about the kingdom that complement the book: “What Jesus said about the kingdom,” “The kingdom is about loving God,” “The kingdom is about purpose” and “The kingdom is about community.”

Read the whole blog at bythewaters.net or await Monday thru Friday’s offerings on FB. I’m on YouTube at By the Waters with Pat Adams or on Twitter at BTWwithPatAdams.

 

 

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