A Family, A Funeral, And Faith
I've just returned from my second funeral service in three days. Two families that are dear friends of mine are feeling the sting of death and separation. Two husbands have said goodbye to their brides. All I could do is stand beside them, hug them, and even hold them up if need be.
Sometimes we feel so helpless, powerless, and unable to do anything that seems like it makes a real difference. But helpless does not mean hopeless. The hard and harsh truth of life is that we are often confronted with challenges that we can't change, must less conquer. This is especially true when death is at our doorstep.
What are we to do when we can't take another step, exhausted from it all? Maybe, that is the right time to be still, to settle our souls, and to rest. I'm not just talking about resting in the sense of ceasing from labor. I mean resting on a strength that you don't have or can't possibly possess on your own. This is where faith comes in.
Faith is so hard to define properly and put in the right perspective. Let me say this, faith is not phony, but there are many people who have phony faith. Please read carefully and hear these keystrokes as I type these words. Faith doesn't always make things better, But it does make them bearable. Faith in God does not protect us from trial or tribulation. Faith in God assures us that He travels with us through both, trial and tribulation.
I watched two families this week who have travelled very hard roads with their loved ones. Each family is one I love and respect. They are both families of real faith. This faith has not lessened their pain, but it has added a promise. A promise that one day their pain will not be lessened, but left behind forever. How can this be? All you have to do is take in a deep breath of belief. To paraphrase an example from the Bible, some people once asked Jesus what they had to do to work the works that He did. His reply must have left them speechless. He told them, "this is the work - that you BELIEVE". So when we are hurting, angry, wounded, and defeated, we just believe. It is not so much that we have faith in those moments, but that faith has us in those moments.
I sat at a cemetery today and just tried to process it all. I thought about what I had seen today. Today I saw a pastor stand and speak about faith, even as he preached the funeral service for his dearly beloved wife. I have stood where he stood today. It is not easy! In the coming days I will spend more time with him as a friend. I will tell him that it will get harder before it gets easier, if it ever gets easier. I will tell him the truth and be honest. He will have questions, I won't have answers. But we will both have faith. Faith is not figuring it out. Faith is admitting that you can't and putting yourself, your family, and all that you have into the hands of a loving Heavenly Father. Have you done that with your family? Does is frustrate you or free you that you can't figure everything out? Faith actually frees us from a burden that's too heavy for us. Some things we just can't know, we just can't fix. But having faith relieves us of that duty. Faith says, "that's God's job, not mine".
Both families that I spent time with this week at each funeral service had loved ones lying in a casket before them. Their loved ones faced cancer and fought with every ounce of strength possible. So many gathered to grieve, including myself. But something was different about these two families. Something that turns my pain into praise. They were families at funerals, but they had, and still have faith. And yes, faith (the Father) still has them.
Live Your Legacy!