I attended a small, country church this morning in a nearby town in order to gain the last few details I needed to finish up my latest magazine article. As I sat in on a Sunday School discussion, I tried to both observe (as a writer) and attend (as a fellow church-goer). I sat jotting down a few notes when a statement one of the members made grabbed my attention.
He said, “Growing in faith requires us to walk through things we don’t understand.”
As he proceeded to expound on his statement, my mind chewed on what he had said. I often think of “growing in my faith” as doing Bible study, attending church, serving, fellowshipping with other believers – all that Christian-y stuff. While those are good things and do help me grow, alone they are not sufficient. I must walk through things I don’t understand. That’s why we have to experience difficult situations and people. If we understood everything – if life were all positive, rosey experiences – then we’d have no need for faith. We’d delude ourselves into believing that we were smart enough and in control enough. When we walk through the junk of life, we’re required to have faith (or else wallow in despair because life would feel totally meaningless and pointless). Faith that God really does love us, that He sees, that He’s in control, that He is sovereign, and that He is good.
That simple statement seems so obvious, but I’m not sure I’ve ever really thought through faith in this way. With receiving the difficult news of an untimely and tragic death in our family tonight, the statement resonates even deeper within me.
Lord, I don’t understand why life plays out the way it does sometimes. It hurts. Sometimes it just sucks. I know in my heart that you have a plan, an ultimate goal, a reason. I may never actually understand how that all works, but I have faith that it will. The tougher life gets, the deeper that faith will have to go, so I praise you tonight for the difficulties of life. I don’t like this part of growing in my faith, but I realize now that I’d become complacent – or even prideful – without it. Thank you that you can redeem even tragedies to glorify yourself and draw us closer to you.