Good morning, Five Minute Families. This past Sunday was Easter. We saw a video that used the forward and back way of describing Good Friday. The first reading forward exemplified the disillusion and confusion that the death of Christ brought to those who were observing, but the second reading backward put the truth of the Cross in proper perspective. Likewise, both Sunday school and the sermon focused in on John 20. Verse 8 tells us that John reached the tomb first, paused, then went in, saw the empty tomb, and believed. John saw and then believed.
I have struggled for ten years to come to terms with the crisis of faith I had when our son died. God is faithful, always faithful, even when we are not. This past Sunday morning I considered the concept that John saw and then believed. As I pondered that, I was filled with God’s peace about the disillusion and confusion I had felt when our son died. I didn’t realize that I had held a false belief that if I lived a good life for God that I would be rewarded with good things - not material things - but good relationships and good results from my endeavors. In our son Jedidiah’s death, God was showing me His power, His grace, and His purposes. Our son’s short life had a purpose and made an impact. It changed me, and that impact in me affects every life I have the opportunity to touch: my husband, my children, the grocery store clerk, the families that come to CVR, and on.
The disciples did not yet understand the old testament scriptures that Jesus had quoted them. They did not understand what He had so often alluded to before His death on the cross. Peter and John both saw the miracle of Jesus’s being gone from the tomb, but they still left. Peter saw, left, and wondered while John saw, believed, and still left. The ones who walked with Jesus still needed Him to show Himself. Please don’t get us wrong. We are not throwing away verses like Hebrew 11:1 that states, “Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen.” God has revealed Himself through the Scripture, and we can learn many aspects of Him without having to have empirical proof. But, we all struggle somewhere. We all have moments of needing to put God’s Words in action in our lives. We all have more that we can understand about the word of God.
Before our son’s death, I believed by faith that God existed, I believed by faith He sent His son to die for my sins, and I believed by faith that He rose again. The day our son died, a part of me ceased to exist. And, God knew that I was empty in the deep recesses of my heart, that my faith would waiver, and that I was being torn apart. He allowed me to see so much of His power (and He continues to do so) so that my belief in Him would become stronger and stronger. Just as the disciples felt let down, bewildered, and lost when Jesus died, I felt let down, bewildered, and lost when our son died. Yet, Jesus loved me (and you) enough to suffer and die so that when we are faced with the death of a loved one or any loss or challenge, you and I can have hope.
So, if you find yourself in a crisis of faith and you are waiting for God to show you something, we encourage you to do the following:
1. Allow yourself to fully feel what you are going through. Feelings should not lead us but be led by us. Denying your feelings won’t help; acknowledge them and don’t let them dominate.
2. Have the courage to ask the tough questions you are thinking. Think like a child. A child is curious and asks some tough questions.
3. Seek wise counsel. Godly men and women who have experienced heartaches and challenges will be able to listen well and guide you gently. And, as always, please be discerning in who you seek out for counsel.
4. Find the root of your struggle. Do you have unmet expectations? Are you believing falsehoods? Whatever it is, ask yourself the hard questions.
5. Give yourself time. The answers may not come quickly or as quickly as they do for someone else, but they will come.
John 20:29 tells us that “blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.” Still, though, if you have had to beg God to show you something in order to grow in your faith, be comforted that you are not alone, and God can and still will use you in His kingdom.
Please let us know more about your faith journey in the comments on our blog at clearviewretreat.org or on our Clear View Retreat facebook page. Be blessed!