“Trust and faith are two very different things baby girl.”
Good thing that the sun had set hours ago and the only light left to reveal I was crying came from a handful of citronella torches in the backyard. Actually, scratch that. Good thing that the people I was surrounded by are ones I’ve traveled the world with, a tribe that’s seen my fat tears roll in other countries, in despair, in joy, and because it’s Tuesday.
Regardless, these tears were unexpected – as happens when you hear something that strikes red-hot on the soft underbelly of your hurt.
For years I was jealous of friends who had the spiritual gift of “faith” in their repertoire. Until I realized there are two different kinds of faith and neither is bigger or better. There’s the faith that believes as a child does, that stands unshaken in it’s beautiful simplicity of “You said so God so it must be.” And then there’s the faith that claws to cling with bloodied fingernails and refuses even when assailed to be flung out to sea. My faith was something of the latter, and it took other people looking at me in all my awkwardness and vulnerability to say “No matter what hurt, what heartbreak, you could’ve walked away and you didn’t. That’s faith.”
But I never separated until tonight that the reasons I’m hurting so big-ly and so deeply is because for all that fighting faith, I don’t trust Him.
The friend continued on in her wisdom, “I struggled with that for years… faith is believing He can! And He can! But trust, oh trust is believing that He will.”
Here I am typing words every week to offer hope and the source of mine is all but flickered out. I have hope, FOR YOU! Because I believe He can! And He will! But for me… it’s a twisted sort of pain, where the faith makes it almost worse… because I still believe He can! And that’s why it hurts so much when He doesn’t.
I screamed prayers for Him to heal my friend’s husband and he died, and she and her three daughters faced Father’s Day without Him today. I begged for my own healing and the diagnoses got worse. I have laid down and whimpered when there are no words left for redemption from heartache, and this week He kicked me square in my defeated fetal position. Or did He just allow me to be kicked?
He COULD have ‘done something’ … so why didn’t He?
Or did He? And I just don’t see it because I have temporal broken vision on a temporal broken side of eternity?
At the same barbecue tonight, another pal shared a word. He’d had a dream last night, and it was unusual in two ways: #1 that it felt very very real and #2 that he remembered it in the morning.
He told me that in his dream I was freed from prison! But I told him that I had to go back, because being that it’s all I’d known I couldn’t stomach the freedom. (Maybe it was a vision from the Lord or maybe he’d just watched Shawshank Redemption, but either way…)
The enemy has built a prison for me whose walls I know and live inside of. That liar has etched the same “truths” to me over and over; if I typed them all you’d grow weary of reading so I’ll sum up with sharing the umbrella they live under:
God is not worth trusting.
I have caught myself rehearsing in my mind, sometimes probably twenty or so times a day for at least the last three years… “God has nothing good for you. God has nothing good for you. God has nothing good for you. God has nothing good for you.”
And like my dad would caution, “If you tell a lie often enough, it becomes true.”
Is it true that God can but won’t?
Is it true that God has nothing good for me?
Or is the freedom from those lies terrifying because all I’ve known are the lies to be true for so long that I simply don’t know how to live in a reality that even when people die and hearts break God is still good?
During the church service (that I cried 65% of the way through) this morning, our teaching pastor shared an allegorical story that resonated almost too deeply:
“In the 1800’s there was a salty sailor questioned. He was asked if he feared the sea monsters. ‘No, I have a harpoon.’ Did he fear mutiny? ‘No, I have a pistol.’ Do you fear the storm? ‘No, I’ve lived through fifty storms. I don’t fear them. What I fear is the author of the storm, because I don’t know if He’s good.'”
Briny tears dripped off my chin.
Whereas Aslan is revered in Mr. Beaver’s words to Susan “Course He isn’t safe, but He is good.” My heart longs to believe that truth of our God, but instead lives lost out to sea – terrified of the One who might topple me in the waves because He can and has.
Our worship pastor sang over us during the offertory:
“Lord, your victory is in us, through all trial and dismay,
Mid the fever of temptation, mid the shouting doubt of shame.
You subvert what sin would mangle, all destructive schemes, reverse,
So the very place of wounding, twice the glory we return.”
I can’t sing that yet.
If you have the gift of a faith that stands unshaken or has fought and found victory- will you help those of us that are falling into the enemy’s grip?
Will you, like Isaiah encourages believers in his sixty-first chapter, “to proclaim liberty for the captives and the opening of the prison to those who are bound”?
If you are crumpled in defeat like I am, come curl up with me under the covers as I press play again and again on this prayer I can’t pray yet… that we’re going to be okay.