Failing Faith: Navigating life when I just don’t feel like I have enough faith

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I have no idea how many miles I walked in the hallways of the ICU during those three weeks that Olivia was there. I remember on one particular jaunt, trying to process all that we were going through, I hit a spot I just felt like I could not go on any longer. In fact, I just stopped and sat down on a bench in a random hallway.  Right at that moment my phone buzzed, causing me to glance at the screen. I saw that it was my dear friend Jim Putman. I answered and as soon as I heard his voice I lost it, overcome with fear. We sat on the phone together, no sound but weeping from a broken-hearted dad. Once I gathered myself I told Jim,

“Jim I just do not have enough faith to continue on.”

“I know Brandon, I know. I don’t have the words but I know God is in this and He is with you.” Jim said.

He began reading scripture to me.

And he answered them, “O faithless generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him to me.”  And they brought the boy to him. And when the spirit saw him, immediately it convulsed the boy, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth.  And Jesus asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood.  And it has often cast him into fire and into water, to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.”  And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.”  Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!”  Mark 9:19-24 (ESV)

Immediately, the Holy Spirit gave me peace. I had peace because I was just like that father. “If” you can do anything! The Lord reminded me that HE can do all things. Even when I am worn out, the Lord is not. When my faith waivers, his does not.

We can put so much pressure or tension on ourselves when we struggle in life because we think struggle means we are somehow less spiritual. I think we often struggle because we are human and the brokenness of this world can overwhelm our souls with pain.

After reading the scripture Jim said some very simple words…”I am here for you Brandon, and God is too.” Navigating life’s difficulties does require faith, that’s for sure, but in the darkest times, when we cannot see, we must lean completely on the one who says, “All things are possible for one who believes.” We must also lean on those around us (the church) who are walking with Jesus.

I told Jim good bye, got up from the bench, composed myself and continued my walk. My heart hurt a little less, glimmers of peace lit up my soul and I found enough strength to make it to the next day.

What a difference a year makes! Last year at this time we were in the struggle of Olivia’s rehabilitation and Emma was suffering from the effects of her concussion and the terrible PTSD symptoms. This year we spent the week together celebrating Christmas; laughing, playing and just being a family. I have no idea what tomorrow will bring, but reflecting back I see God’s hand all over our lives. The clearest of those times are when I felt HE was the farthest away. HE was right beside me, navigating me through my own unbelief.

 

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