Testimony time, a nervous phrase. I have been pondering my approach to this post for almost a month now…how vulnerable do I get; how much do I expose?
I grew up in a home where we were taught about the Lord from a young age. Who He is, His Word, His works. I always thought our family was the typical, normal family, but the more I got to do with other families and other kids, the more I realized what we have (had) is really special. We are closely knit and most of our lives are shared together, being home-schooled increased that, and as a family some of our favorite things were to be together and share life together. But June 2018 changed all ofthat forever…it wasn’t even 6 weeks from full diagnosis to the passing of my father – cancer spread like a wildfire; there wasn’t really any turning back. The Lord took my dad.
Believing God is good and faithful when something He decides breaks your life in pieces – this is when it gets hard.
When the nights are really dark and the panic sets in, or the memories flood your mind and all you can taste is the saltiness of your tears, there is only one comfort and that is to know that heaven is our home. Because in the darkness, my logic can get clouded and the immense miss is just too much. Because no matter where I try to run or how I try to avoid or numb this, it will never go away. Faith is truly being sure of what you know when it cannot be seen.
Before June, I would watch movies and hear stories and always wonder how people can decide to reject their faith after the loss of someone, or how they can just start to ‘distrust ’ God after the death of a loved one. I always thought that was so foolish. But after June, I understood it. I understood the disbelief and anger that came at being dumbfounded at God. I feel strange having to write this to a large audience. Because to many of you who haven’t lost someone close to you, this will not make sense. It will seem foolish and maybe over-expressive, but I’ve had it on my heart to be real about this.
What does faith truly mean?
You see, we all know. But can you put it on? Can you wear the child-like faith you’ve been taught as a kid? I’ve been challenged by that. Challenged by being able to say God is faithful and God is good even when it isn’t observable. Cause He decided to take my dad. And this would be easy for some to say, “God’s got a greater plan”, “God always knows best”, “God…”.
It is easy to talk. It is different when it becomes your story.
So, my head knew. My head knew He is God, He is sovereign. He is Lord, but living that while flat on your face was a different story. I now understand depression, I can associate with anxiety. The valley is dark and deep and very long. Thus, you sit in the immense darkness and have to tell yourself that God is there. I know my dad is ‘home’ now. But his illness and the entire experience is something one cannot simply wipe away. So where do you look in this despair and hopelessness?
I cannot see how this is a good plan. I watch my little brother play an important sports match and cry because his daddy is not there. I watch my mother having to handle very difficult life decisions and feel so overwhelmed because her best friend and right-hand man is gone. I would watch my other brother having to clean out my father’s garage, all the very painful memories drowning as he needs to sort through all their craft and handiwork – how is this good, God?
But I know. This does not change His character even though it looks different.
My dad had been the sole provider for our household – all of a sudden, my mom needed a job, but to still keep my little brother at home to do his schooling. The Lord opened doors and she tutors now.
Odd numbers would appear in our bank account as people had it on their hearts to bless us. Gifts would arrive at our door to just comfort the family. Someone who had it on their heart to provide an entire team of builders, set up a flatlet for us so that we can rent it out for a bit of an extra income. Someone just paying for our broken-down car or fetching us when we were stranded in the middle of nowhere, that’s God’s goodness. That’s His faithfulness.
Nothing changes the terrible pain, but amidst this pain, we still have to keep living. Living for heaven, living for the Lord. Because you see, sometimes He chooses things that break us. Completely. But that doesn’t change who He is. Doesn’t change what He promised even though you cannot see it.
It is easy to string a teaching of comfort and combine all the feel-good verses within, it is easy for some to talk gladness and good things in the future, it is not as easy as that when you’re in it. Learning God’s goodness through this pain reflects a lot differently. We had to learn as a shattered family that God knows where we are. He knows the pain and He is gentle, He is not getting tired of tears, He does not grow weary of our brokenness. He is faithful still. He has promised never to leave nor forsake us. We are still His children, even though now without an earthly dad.
In heaven are both my father’s. I’m going there one day, but in the meantime, I have to keep reminding myself of the truths of Who He said He is. To me, to our family. It takes a lot of reminding sometimes. It takes courage to sing very challenging songs that previously little thought would’ve gone into. But God is good. God is faithful amidst our loss, in spite of our pain. This would not have been possible without the knowledge of Him growing up. This would not have been the case if not for the parents I have who lived this. Good and faithfulness amidst chaos.
He provides in our season, physically. Emotionally, by gently meeting us in scripture with His soft touch. Reassuring heaven as our eternal home. Through holding us steady; still, almost 6 months down the dark, dark road.
“I know You’re able, I know You can save through the fire with Your mighty hand. but even if You don’t, my hope is in You alone. I know the sorrow, I know the hurt will all go away if You just say the word, but even if You don’t, my hope is in You alone.” – Even If (MercyMe)
“Be still and know that I am God.” – Psalm 46:10 (NKJV)