DayBreaks for 6/07/16 – The Proving Ground of Faith
From the DayBreaks archive, June 2006:
The light begins to enter through the parted curtains and the haze begins to lift from one’s mind with the realization that another day has begun. The night has been long, the darkness deep. The endless sounds of hospital corridors are not conducive to sleep.
As young parents gather at the side of the bed of their precious little ones, tears fill their eyes as they speak lovingly and tenderly to their unconscious children. They stroke their hair, touch their skin – every touch made more precious by the seriousness of the situation. I think to myself, “They must be wondering if this will be the last time they touch their child alive.” I quickly try to dismiss such thoughts, but they persist at the edge of my awareness. This is the proving ground of faith, when the shadows don’t even dissipate with the gathering daylight and when the questions are unanswerable. Some of the little ones are here because of diseases, some because of accidents, some because of birth defects. It matters little what brought them to this place – what matters is that they are here at all, and for all intents and purposes, God seems to be somewhere else on vacation, seemingly deaf to the imprecations of the distressed parents.
The fragrance of flower petals and the soft, silent sounds of canned music designed to soothe grieving souls fills the air of a funeral home as tears flow and the arrangements must be made. The inevitable questions must be asked – and answered – including the terrible business side of loss. This is the proving ground of faith, when “dearest things in life are swept from sight forever.” This is where the rubber of life meets the hard, cold and unyielding road.
God is not on vacation at times like these. It may seem so, but I cling with stubborn faith to the fact that He is not, perhaps not so much because of faith, but because of the lack of any other alternative that can offer any hope at all. As God is not bound by neither time nor space, I can’t help but wonder – even as I write this – if He isn’t standing beside the foot of the cross as His Son is upon the rack, remembering…remembering and identifying with the exquisite torment with which this world is filled. Who could blame Him if He were distracted?
And yet, it would be wrong to consider that only these places are the proving grounds of faith. The sounds of the traffic outside the car window, the whir of an office copy machine, the chatter of the business meeting, the bustling crowds that fill the shopping malls and school corridors – we must never forget that these, too, are the proving grounds of faith. How is it that not only the hospital bedside but the happy banter of school kids moving through their day are both the proving grounds of faith? Perhaps only in this way: in neither situation is God seen with the eye nor touched with the hand. And regardless of that, we are called upon to walk in the calm assurance that He IS there, beside us, His own shoulders shaking as He sobs over and for us all. In all these places and at all times, our walk is a walk of faith, not a walk of sight. At least, not yet.
Maranatha, Lord Jesus.
Psalms 139:11-12 (NLT) – I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me to become night — but even in darkness I cannot hide from you. To you the night shines as bright as day. Darkness and light are both alike to you.
2 Corinthians 4:6 (NLT) – For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made us understand that this light is the brightness of the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.
PRAYER: Father, for the heartbroken and those haunted by pending loss, I pray today that You make Yourself visible through the hands and words of those nearby. May we find some comfort in knowing that You do care, that You, too, wept. And when we cannot see You nor sense Your Presence, may we persevere in faith on life’s proving grounds. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright 2016, Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.