It’s easy to think about life in opposing terms. Neat categories are simple to wrap our brains around. Something is right or it is wrong. Something is good or it is bad.
And while on some level this is true, we all know that life doesn’t quite fit into those neat categories. Our lives are bumpier, more complicated, messier than that.
We all know joy and sorrow. Struggle and victory. Unfairness and hard work and grace that we don’t deserve.
The same is true of faith. While it might be easy to say that faith and doubt are enemies, I think it’s important to dig a little deeper. To let real life bump and crash against the edges of our faith a bit until we know in our souls that our God is bigger than our neat categories.
We can get our heads around or, but the truth is that our faith is big enough for and.
My dad, a faithful and loving husband, father, grandfather, friend and pastor, has faced the diagnoses of pancreatic cancer and liver disease with courageous faith over these past few months. All along this journey, he has prayed and believed for healing. And many around the world have prayed and believed with him.
A few weeks ago during a Saturday morning time together with one of his congregations, my dad had an encounter with Jesus that he considers one of just a few pivotal experiences in his faith journey. He explained it as feeling faith rise up within him. Faith that healing was coming.
There is no doubt in my mind that his experience on that morning was real. I believe, as he does, in a God who is powerful and loving, one who gives good gifts and desires that his people walk in abundant life.
Shortly after this experience, my parents spoke with one of the nurses who is caring for my dad– a nurse with a great deal of medical expertise and knowledge. She shared that the symptoms my dad is experiencing almost certainly mean that the diseases are progressing and that he likely has only weeks left here with us.
And so– we have the challenge of sitting with two things that seem to be true. We have faith in the healing power of God and my dad’s condition is worsening to the point where he will likely meet Jesus sooner than any of us would like.
Our faith is big enough for both of those things to be true:
We believe that God will heal and we see that death is imminent.
Not because God has failed.
Not because my dad didn’t have enough faith.
Not because his family and friends didn’t pray hard enough.
But because our faith is big enough for and.
The and of Shadrak, Meshak and Abednego facing certain death and boldly proclaiming
We know our God will save us. But even if he does not, we will not bow to worship anyone else.
The and of a sick boy’s father when Jesus asked him to believe
I believe. Help my unbelief.
The and of our Savior himself as he pleaded with his Father before surrendering himself to the cross
If it’s possible, take this cup from me. But not my will but yours be done.
Whatever the days ahead may hold, we can choose to face them, like my beloved Papa has, with courageous faith. Knowing that our God is big enough to hold both spiritual experiences and medical expertise. Both miraculous healing and devastating loss.
Let’s keep holding on to Jesus and loving each other well. And let’s rest secure knowing that our courageous faith will sustain us until the day when our all powerful and all loving God makes all things new.
And so, today,
May the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you. (2 Thess. 3:16)