Faith Waiting

Today is one of those bullet-dodging days. You’ve had those, right? A day when you will learn something about work, or a relationship, or your health, or perhaps the health of someone you love more than yourself? I think of them as bullet-dodging days, because you can’t do anything but stand up against the wall and pray that the bullet smacks the brick beside your head, or grazes your arm, or at worst just buries itself in your leg, because in that moment when you stand there and imagine all of the terrible wounds you might suffer, the thought of limping the rest of your life doesn’t sound like such a bad deal at all.

You pray that bullet everywhere but your heart with which you love, or your lungs with which you breathe, or your gut, where it will sit for weeks or months or perhaps the rest of your life, setting you to wondering when the next bullet will come, and where it will strike.

I can’t decide, as I feel this rough brick beneath my palms, which is worse, the fear of what may come, or the helplessness of waiting for it. This is my continuing struggle with God, that he would let me love and hope and then put me in a place, sometimes, where I am powerless. There is some mystery here, I think, about trusting, but I can’t put my finger on it, not this finger that has traced my child’s name on her gravestone. It should be harder to trust God, I think, when he has broken you down.

The strangest part of it is that I trust him more, now, knowing what he’s capable of allowing. Surely that’s some kind of miracle, no? I think about Christ being the author and perfecter of faith, and I shiver as I stand at this wall, wondering what words he will write next. But beneath the flesh-shiver there is a heart-steadiness, because I know I don’t wait here alone. And this is a message of the crucifixion that we often miss, that God descended to die among us not only for the expiation of sins, but out of bondedness, in a communion of suffering, perhaps so that we would know that he knows.

He will not always — or perhaps even often — lift suffering, of this I am convinced, despite the good efforts of best-selling Christianesque shamans. But he will endure with us, suffering servant that he is. And oddly enough, this matters more than I ever would have imagined.

My God, my king, my friend, will you go into these dark places with me? Shall we go together? I will not be afraid. Quell my fear; steady my heart; leave not my side, you who breathed in death. I will not be afraid.

Comments

  1. Joel

    Tony, old friend, I hope the bullet misses you by a mile!

    What’s that quote from at the end, BTW?

    — Joel

  2. Dan

    Tony, once again, you have nailed it… Thank you for describing Christ who suffers with us. As a father of 4 living children and 1 very small infant that I buried, my wife and I clung for a long time to two things: that God is in control; and that He loves us. I pretty much missed the concept that Christ stood there beside me and suffered with me. I have had trust issues with God because I do NOT believe that once we follow Christ that our lives will “be happy all the day”. I often fear what he will take me through next, because i feel that God is not trustworthy to do what will make us happy, but he is trustworthy to do what will be ultimately better. This is a terrible thing to me. However, it is comforting to know that whatever he takes me through, he will stand beside me. And I pray for the same miricle in my life that you described above. Thanks again.

  3. M.E.

    What a gift He’s given you, to write so perfectly about the true nature of Love, Trust, Hope, Faith. Thank you. I will also say a prayer for you today.

  4. Jeff Brokaw

    Tony, you have no idea how big a coincidence it is that you chose this exact day to post a message about enduring difficulties.

    I needed this, and so some of my family members. Thank you.

  5. Evan Kincade

    Tony,

    Your words hold more truth than you probably know. I don’t exactly want to say that I hope the bullet misses you. The Book of James makes it clear that every test and tribulation is a chance for faith building.

    I will tell you that I hope your faith is built. I hope that through and through your faith will be the bandage and gauze for your wounds. I hope that Christ will be the doctor that will apply that faith. He will stitch you up, remove the bullet and in the end, only a scar will remain.

    I will be praying for you all throughout the day all throughout the day.

    -Evan

  6. C. Brace

    Perhaps He uses you to get to us. To still our hearts and quiet our minds and see, really see… On the wall with you, leaning over and admiring your view. Humbled by where you’ve been; and encouraged and inspired by the path you walk… thank you for sharing the poetry of your mind with us. It’s a beautiful perspective – sometimes isn’t that what it’s all about?

  7. karen

    Tony,

    Oh my, what a day-how timely to receive this post.. your waiting & suffering has encouraged
    God’s peace be with you & yours in the midst.

    Karen

  8. Kelli

    Tony – Prolific and much needed today. I needed to remember that even though I’ve been hit by two huge bullets in the past year, this too shall pass and that it’s okay to question my faith.

    Thanks for always making me smile, laugh and think. You have a truly wonderful talent.

  9. CRW

    Like Jeff & Karen, what a timely statement for today.
    May our Lord’s Presence overwhelm you, come what may.

  10. Tony

    I don’t often lurk about in my own comments, because it feels something like nepotism, but thank you for all of your kind words. I don’t know why you people keep saying I’m doing you the good when this is all therapy for me.

    Joel, the little italicized part at the end is mine — it just came to me one day and I jotted it down in a notebook. Seemed appropriate given the topic.

  11. Chérie

    Therapy or not, what you write means something to someone somewhere at any given moment in time. Some may read it the day of, others much later, but God knows who is going to read what when; and if He put on your heart to post, then know it is through you He is reaching others. Just today I sent your words to another, and your post has “hit home” for me as well.

    Blessings!

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