Sunday, October 15, 2006

Thoughts About Faith on Day 7

Well, I am still in the hospital, but am hopeful that I will be released tomorrow. My blood levels are stabilizing at a level where the doctors are confident that I will be able to fight off a minor infection again, although I will likely need to take antibiotics for another week or so to get rid of the last of this staff infection that I picked up a week ago. I am feeling great and ready and eager to get out and help my wife out. There are a lot of things she cannot do without two arms (especially, not a right arm) and it will be some time until her broken elbow heals.

I am grateful to report that the support that we have received from both our church and friends has been more than I expected when I wrote my weblog on Thursday. God had been moving and we are amazed. This is not to say that I regret what I wrote then; Denita and I certainly felt like we were facing a huge mountain that day and we still do, but God has upheld us and continues to do so. Our kids have been great in helping mom around the house and transporting her around; I am really proud of them!

I have been giving some further thought to my final comment on Thursday's weblog about the purpose of faith not being that of making us feel better. I think that I said more there than what I realized. For many Christians in the West, faith has become the panacea for one's ills. Have a problem? Trust Jesus and He will take it away (like the new chewable Tylenol which is being advertised as being a step towards "a pain free world"). Faith and God are inseparable. Faith has no power in and of itself; it is not an entity or a life force. Faith is simply trust. To have faith in God is to trust Him. That sounds so simple, but we have complicated it so much. We make faith a substance that one has to have enough of in order to get stuff. What foolishness. And we subconsciously believe that if demonstrate enough of it, then all will be well and we will feel better about life and our problems, in particular.

Listening to the testimonies of persecuted Christians should convince us once and for all that the purposes of God for His people are not primarily their emotional or physical wellbeing. Feeling better about life is not one of the chief ends of human existence. We were created to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. This will inevitably call for suffering and sacrifice; opportunities to trust Him in the midst of (and even despite) adverse circumstances. We will be given opportunities to demonstrate to the world, to God, and to the angels (both good and evil) that we will not deny Him, come what may. We will bless His name, whether He gives or takes away. This is not fatalism; it is a recognition that there are things going on around us and in heavenly places that we may not be aware of but which we are involved in somehow. Our call at that very moment is to trust God that He knows, even if He never tells us what they are, and that His purposes for us and for Himself are being accomplished.


Anonymous said...

Hey Glenn,

Great post as usual. I am very happy to know you may be going home soon. I have more to say, but I'm on my way to church. I'll be back later :)


Glenn Penner said...

thanks, Stacy