Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Crucible Faith

Now that I’m headed quickly into middle age*, I've been thinking about the fact that I can look at every Christian I know well, and I remember them telling me about a time in their lives when there was nothing there for them but God. When what was precious was taken from them, and they were alone . . . except for the Lord. And when they chose to keep following anyway.

I can name time after time, in the lives of people I love, when they have had that crucible experience.

Sometimes it was incredible physical pain, other times it was incredible isolation, or destruction of a vital relationship . . . but every time, they faced the question, “well, do I still trust, or not?”

And they trusted. And they kept walking, walking alongside Him.

But seriously. So many Christians. They all have that experience. The circumstances are unique, but the experience isn’t.

And then they go through it again and again. But after the first time, they know. It’s like from there on out, they know. They know HIM. There’s this bedrock there, and it doesn’t change.

You can see it in their faces, if you know to look. And you can hear it in their voices when they’re in extremity, or when they describe being in extremity.

And it’s not that they’re not knocked backwards. It’s not that they’re not hurt or confused or terrified or that they make it out of their pain without sinning by complaining or fearing or self-indulgence or mistakes, or whatever.

It’s just that they’re anchored. They know. They know HIM.

It’s like there’s something eternal in their souls, something that’s anchored to something outside the mutability of this world.

And I say, “it’s like”, and by that I mean exactly, “it is.”

But . . . do you know what I mean? Have you seen this on people’s faces and heard it in their voices when they share their stories?

They’ve been through the fire, and they know they’re going to go through again (though they pray for mercy), but there is a steadiness deep down in their souls, because they know that they’re not going through it alone.

They might still be whiny or annoying or infuriating to you. You might not like them.

But you recognize that thing in them. And you love them for it.

They’ve been through a time when they had nothing and no one. They were absolutely alone in their pain – because even if you have friends near you in your pain, none of them can really be there, with you, IN your pain – they were all alone . . . except for the presence of God. And even then, that presence might have felt like a distant, academic reality.

But He was there, and they believed it, and now they’ll never face pain the same way again.

It’s just different, after an experience like that.

Peace of Christ to you,
Jessica Snell

*Stop laughing, Mom. 


betsy said...

Just smiling as I read it, Jess. Not laughing, I promise.
Your elderly/old/aged/no-longer-middle-aged Mom

Jessica Snell said...

It was a true struggle to decide between "Stop laughing, Mom" and "Stop laughing, Cyndi." :D