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How Can I Believe?
At my little sister's funeral,
people tried to comfort me with statements of faith like, "At least she's
not suffering any more," or "She's in a better place." Though these people
were right theologically, their words didn't touch my pain. My tears were
not because of where she was, they flowed because of where she was not--with
the family. My own pain was compounded by watching the overwhelming grief
of my parents. HOW could we continue to believe? It wasn't humanly possible
I'd like to say that my faith
has always been firm and never flickered, but if I did, I'd be lying. Don't
get me wrong; I've never flirted with apostasy. I have no substantial disagreement
with the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith or the 1963 Baptist Faith and
Message. WHAT I believe isn't the issue, but there have been times I wondered
HOW I could believe.
I've always felt so appreciated
and loved while serving at the First Baptist Church of Alameda, but I've
served elsewhere where I felt neither. Many a sleepless night I lay awake
wondering how the Bride of Christ could act so devilish. Though the experiences
never affected my orthodoxy, it did shake my willingness to believe.
I didn't cry when the doctor
told me I had cancer or later when he said I may never speak again. I was
strong, because I thought I was supposed to be. One worship service, I
stood on the stage next to the supply preacher as we began to sing the
chorus "I Love you Lord." I mouthed the words as the congregation sang.
Everything was fine until we got to the words "And I lift my voice." Tears
streamed down my cheeks. I couldn't even lift my voice to praise the God
I trusted in. HOW could He do this to me? HOW could I continue to believe?
I can relate to the words
of the father who prayed: "Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief." (Mark
I went to the office to gather
some things to prepare to fly to Arkansas for Lori's funeral. While I was
there, a church member stopped by and said, "Pastor, I just want you to
know that I love you and will be praying for you." Those words helped my
unbelief, and returned joy to my soul. Belief isn't always humanly possible;
it takes divine help. Sometimes God intervenes and reminds us we are loved
and that people care enough to pray for us.