I still have questions. I still wonder “why?”
I guess I will never know why, but every time I read the passages that say, “and He healed them all,” I always tend to ask, “So why wasn’t Brian healed here?” I don’t ever really expect an answer or reply. There are many things that we will never know or understand this side of heaven. And generally, I’m okay with that. But this one thing. I guess I’ll always wonder “why?”
There’s a story in Mark 1 of a leper who came to Jesus, imploring Him saying, “If You will, You can make me clean.” Moved with pity, Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him and said, “I will; be clean.” Jesus, being the visible image of the invisible God, shows us God’s heart. His compassion is for the hurting, the brokenhearted, the confused, the lame. In His compassion for us who need healing, He touches us and makes us whole. His desire for healing is rooted in His eternal character. He heals because of who He is. Thankfully, it’s not because of who we are. Nevertheless, we come in faith knowing 1) He CAN heal and 2) out of His compassion, He is willing.
Even as I confess this, my mind does a spin, thinking back to all the times I came in faith for Brian’s healing. And even though his healing didn’t come here on earth, it is no less true that He is moved with pity, and that He can heal. I still believe this. Yet, though the question still lingers, “why not Brian?” I also know that there are just some things too lofty for me to understand. And because He is Father and I am the child, I will simply say, “Okay” because I love and trust Him explicitly. I believe! Lord, help my unbelief (Mark 9: 24). I need Jesus to take away my human element that sees things from my past experiences that might keep me from believing; that taints my perspective; that clouds my view and makes me skeptical.
I think that’s truly the definition of faith, right? It’s so out of our ability to understand, or our brain’s capacity to reason. So, saying “okay” is just pure faith. It’s also letting go of our narcissistic view that we must know. We must understand. Feeling like it’s our right. That somehow God owes us an explanation. That’s really interesting, isn’t it. If we thought about that for a minute, can we see how “me driven” that really is?
But faith is believing, even when our eyes can’t see it, our minds can’t understand it, and our hearts can’t reconcile it. Faith is believing what God says - even before we see it come to fruition.
When the virgin Mary was pregnant with Jesus through the Holy Spirit, she visited her cousin, Elizabeth, who was also pregnant with John the Baptist - the one who was to prepare the way for the Lord. Upon hearing Mary’s story, Elizabeth said to her, “Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.” Luke 1:45. That’s it! Faith is believing that what the Lord has said to us will be accomplished. The verse didn’t say that blessed is she who believed after she saw it with her own eyes and understood everything with her mind. It says, “there would be a fulfillment”. That’s future tense. This is biblical faith - believing that things will happen - sometime in the future - just as the Lord has told us.
So, how do we stay in faith when we don’t understand? Or can’t understand how things could be this way in the first place? We don’t always know why we have problems or adversity, but we do know that God uses them to deepen our faith and make us more mature. Problems in our lives become building blocks upon which our faith is strengthened - one on top of another.
Sometimes someone will ask me a question that requires me to recount all that has transpired in the last 6 years. And when I give the information back as in a timeline, I’m shocked myself at all the loss I’ve experienced with the death of my dad and mom, just 4 months apart, the death of my mother-in-law just 4 months later, and then the death of my husband 2 years after that. When I say all that, most people say, “Whoa, that’s too much! That’s way too much for one person to handle.” And, honestly, I tend to agree. But that quickly reminds me that the very fact that I’m standing today, and even thriving, is a testament to how God has used each adversity to strengthen me and deepen my faith, so that when the next one came, I was more equipped to handle it. They were building blocks for my faith. One on top of the other.
And staying in faith is easier to do when you’ve seen God show up for you once in help and strength and peace. When you’ve experienced Him before, you’re more apt to believe you’ll experience Him again. That’s the building blocks to strong, sturdy faith.
But how do you do it the first time? How do you lay that first block of faith, the foundation block, upon which all the other blocks of can be built? How do you have faith in that which cannot yet be seen? How do you believe, like Mary did, that there will be a fulfillment of the things that the Lord has spoken?
I believe we can fully lean into our faith when we understand two things: The full character of God, and who we are in relation to Him.
It is vitally important to understand who He is, all of His attributes. When we understand that he is Almighty God, ruler and governor over all things in heaven and on earth; that He has every resource we could possible need at His disposal; that He’s a God full of mercy and steadfast love; that He is a perfect, caring, loving Father who loves us perfectly. When we understand that He wants to love us and Father us, just as much as we want to be loved and fathered. That He wantsto care for us in every area of our need; that He is a God that has placed desires, hopes, dreams, and purpose within us so that He might help us see them come to pass; that He is, right now, singing songs of love and deliverance over you…right now! When we understand who He is - and these things I’ve mentioned are but the tip of the iceberg of the fullness of who He is. I didn’t even begin to make a dent in that list! But when we understand who He is, we are able to believe what He says, and trust that He’s going to make good on all that He says. He’s a trust-worthy God. Worthy of our trust.
And then when we understand our place in this life in conjunction to Him and His place, we understand why we’re here on earth - and that is to glorify God. The big picture is that we’re here for Him and about Him. Understanding that allows us to have the view that when bad things happen “to me,” we know it’s filtered through the fullness of His beautiful, perfect character, and the truth that all of this is for His glory. Even the things we can’t understand. Even the things that leave us with more questions than answers.
So, friend, if you’re like me and you still have questions about - all kinds of things - won’t you, with me, decide today that you’re going to lay that foundational block of faith; to believe, even when your eyes can’t see it, your mind can’t understand it, and your heart can’t reconcile it. Faith is believing what God says - even before we see it come to fruition. Believing that there will be a fulfillment of what was spoken from the Lord your God. The Lord your God, whose fullness of character promises to love you and care for you and sing songs of love deliverance over you today.