ONE question I’ve long asked myself in this season of reflection after our newborn son, Nathanael, passed away, is, how was that previous season — in the heat of an emotional battle of grief — together with two other significant matters — at the same time — even sustainable, let alone a time when our faith shone to the glory of God? (And I can even type those words with a tear running from each eye.)
Isn’t it bizarre that I was, and still can be, so touched by the ethereal sense of loss, yet my joy has never been compromised?
Although the time of our loss was jarringly sorrowful, and at the exact same time we were weighed down by a pressure that should not have been ours, and we were also caring for someone extremely vulnerable outside our family, we had the gift of faith to simply step each step without being dogged unnecessarily mentally or emotionally. God was showing me at least, that, in being stretched maximally, we had his power if we would simply obey. Not one day during this six month journey did we ever deny the issues in our life. God gave us the power to be real. We grieved our son’s gestation and passing, and we grieved being placed in another untenable situation, and we grieved how much we were not able to get through in a person’s life we deeply cared for. With triple grief we still had ample faith to be able to genuinely say, God is good. He proved it to us, through the invisible ties of our faith, that he is wholly good.
Faith is a true and reliable possession when the storms of life come. And storms do come. When they come our faith makes us strong, and by prayer we are carried through the storm.
With faith strong enough to endure the cataclysm we truly wonder how or why we are strong enough to step forward into each day. It’s a mystery, but one explained in a miracle. The fact is it cannot be explained unless we attribute it to two things: God has sanctified through our previous trials a tried and tested faith — a faith that stands up under all conditions. Then there is the matter of others’ prayer. Let’s not underestimate the power of intercessory prayer.
Be thankful for your faith.
There is a time coming in all our lives when we will be blindsided in grief — loss will come upon us like a tsunami, and the torrent will be sustained for longer than we feel is fair. It comes to all of us, and, if we are honest in caring about our lives, we will be poleaxed. But if you are already grooming your faith, you’ll be in a good position. And even if you’re not, the very presence of grief will steel your faith. This is the hardest thing; we invariably have to suffer at least once to learn that suffering produces in us faith for the future.
Suffering reinforces the walls of our faith so the next time we suffer loss we are able to manage better. It is a paradox, however, that we are able to feel much more when our faith is stronger. This means future iterations of loss will be both managed better, yet deeper than ever in our emotional experience. This has been my experience.
It does not take me much these days to be in tears, but those tears are within my control, because of the depth of emotion God has shown me to feel.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.