“And looking at them, Jesus said to them, ‘With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’”Matthew 19:26
Sitting in the office of our Women’s Minister, I remember hearing these words: “You may never get to see the reason why some things happen.”
For many years, I was tormented by questions like these:
- What could I have done to prevent this?
- What can I control to prevent this from ever happening again?
- Am I really able to put aside my past, or should I keep it close to me forever in hopes I might get a do-over?
- Will I ever be able to be truly vulnerable?
- Am I put on a shelf forever because I couldn’t cope with life as spotlessly as some?
Recently I attended a life-changing training program for those dealing with trauma, ordinary and extraordinary. I realized for the first time that I am a huge control freak, and I don’t trust human nature or even God, enough to rest—ever! Maybe, for a few minutes when I am in my beautiful bubble of praise, music, contemplation, study, silence, exercise, or nature, I might relax. But again, that is a bubble that I can control and from which I can exclude the outside world.
To me, having faith in God meant that I obeyed all of His Word with as little error as possible, honestly believing that God’s ability to hold my life together rested almost entirely on my ability to understand and apply Scripture. If someone decided not to prefer me any longer, it was my fault. If someone hurt me, it was my fault. If I couldn’t handle something, it was my lack of faith. Intrinsically, I truly believed I was broken and breaking everything I touched. Instead of King Midas whose touch turned everything to gold, I seemed to turn everything to suffering and death by my touch.
Then, like a lightning bolt of realization, God got through to me. In the midst of the common suffering of humanity, I realized that I was not alone and that control and perfection were not the solutions; love and compassion were. Instead of questioning how a loving and powerful God could allow things so unjust, so unholy, and so damaging to happen, I began to feel again—to laugh, to cry, to feel human again. Beneath my feet there was no longer sand and chasms but the firm foundation of faith—faith that God’s stability has nothing to do with me and everything to do with Him.
Faith that there are things I don’t have to understand and things I am not meant to control. Faith that with God, all things are possible—including full and total healing (Matthew 19:26).
Faith is believing that we don’t escape life’s catastrophes by being better at applying God’s Word but by believing that God knit us together and has a plan for each one of us that includes the dark days He knew would come. Faith is spiritual rest in the good, bad, and everything in between. Faith is I am saved by grace, both in this life and in the life to come (Ephesians 2:8-9).