finding faith in the midst of doubt and despair

Yesterday in chapel at my work, Our Daily Bread Ministries, we were blessed to hear the story of Marissa who as a 14 year old girl, had a bout with cancer which left her life hanging in the balance. How her parents handled that, how she did herself, and how their doctor was impacted in his faith certainly made for a moving story she now tells some twelve years later.

It seems to me that either faith can take root, sprout and grow in the midst of worse case scenarios, or it can be lost altogether. Both have happened, including to those who once had faith, but abandoned it. In the case of Marissa, she was blessed by the support of wise parents who held on to faith and commitment throughout the ordeal, and a wonderful donor, through whom her life was spared.

For myself, I’ve noticed at times that when faith could have waned and perhaps have gone bust, yet through those trying times, faith has actually been strengthened. I don’t want to imagine faith not being a part of my life, but the most troubling times make it a struggle.

What can help us to understand the dynamics of what’s going on here is to contrast the difficult times with the good times when all seems well. We all need windows like that, of rest and refreshment, but the trials and troubles will come (Psalm 23). During good times we can more or less take for granted our faith, and then our faith could wane over time, and be gone. It happens.

But in the midst of trouble we can wrestle with God, so to speak, in the word and prayer, in our struggle. As we seek to hold on to our faith, or to find it in the midst of our doubt and despair. That is when it can especially be established and become a part of us, a part of who we are.

That is why we can and therefore should welcome the difficulties and trials that come into our lives as ways in which our faith can be strengthened and matured. Even while we look forward to the time when trouble will be no more.

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