Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Test

I've been having a lot of health issues lately.  I won't get into that on here because it is neither the time 'nor the place for it.  Please ask me if you want to know.  But basically, I have had a lot of tests done and will most likely have surgery this coming Christmas break.

Several people have been telling me that maybe this difficult time, along with several other difficult health times, like when I lost my hearing or with all my vertigo issues, are meant to test my faith.  Lately I've been thinking about what that really means, and I struggle with it.

If this is testing my faith, it means that my faith is dependent on the good things in life.  Is it?  Is the foundation of my faith in God dependent on things going well for me?  So much so that if things go badly I begin to doubt even the very existence of this God that I sing praises of exultation to?  If I'm saying and singing that God is the healer, provider, and is sovereign, does the way that I live and the way that I deal with difficult situations reflect this?

I think that a major contributor to this issue comes when we say that because we are Christians (or because we're Christians in America for that matter), God will act on behalf of us and that only good things will happen.  You laugh, but I hear these words stated all the time, and I'm not quite sure if it's biblical (the prayer at a Baylor football game this week said this for example).  Sure all things are possible with God, prayer works, and God works for those who love him... but that doesn't mean that life will be easy.  We have this formula for life that we don't want to deviate from -- get an education, go to a good college, have a good social life, get married, have a good job, have kids, then grow old with your spouse, get sick, but still die happy.  And we think that we are entitled to it.  This is so much ingrained in us that when life shies away from this perfect formula, we assume that God, or the universe, has turned and deserted us.

We can say that we don't have these expectations for life, but that would be lying to ourselves.  We have this mentality in our society that if we're 30 and not married, unable to have children, get divorced, lose our job or a loved one, have a child with illness, or have sexual inclinations towards the same sex, that God is working against us or has abandoned us.  We assume that God must be distancing himself.  We put God into a box and are unable to contain it when situations are out of that box and God is unable to be contained or defined by our mortal constraints.

Maybe God is stronger and larger than we know.

If faith "is being sure of what you hope for and certain of what you do not see" (Hebrews 11:1), then why do the things mentioned before make us doubt our faith?  God doesn't promise us that life will go according to our plan.  If we are sure of what we hope for and certain of what we don't see, then testing of faith is irrelevant because we are already certain of it.  God exists despite the hard times.  Our certainty in him goes beyond the frailness of our humanity.

The way we look at difficulties says a lot about what we believe about God.  Are we making him to be small, where anything that stretches that view makes us doubt him?  or is God big?  Abounding?  Stronger and wiser than all?

Maybe instead of looking at these things as a test, we should look at them as God working and being active.  Maybe God isn't letting go to test our faith, but is instead simply reminding us that he is sovereign.  Throughout everything, he is the only constant.  He is unfathomable.

All this should remind me that when I get a diagnoses from a doctor that isn't what I want, or when a boy breaks my heart, or when I wonder what the heck is going on in the world, that God is still sovereign.  My faith is in him, his death, and resurrection on the cross.  My faith is not in my health or another person.  My faith is in the one who is larger than all that.  My faith is in Jesus, and I am certain of what I don't see.

FYI- Not the way I feel, just fits the feel of my blog post. 

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