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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Intense Faith

Celise, my brace-yourself-I’m-going-to-hug-you friend, came to me today with sad news. The 23-year-old son of her choir president died earlier this week, from a fatal seizure.

Celise said she told God it was too much. But in the midst of the swirling questions, she remembered Sunday’s sermon. Her pastor preached that God calls us to have intense faith. An interesting sermon for a day celebrating mothers—perhaps God was preparing their congregation for what lay ahead.

The word intense has several meanings.

The first definition, “extreme in a way that can be felt,” made me think of one of those ten gifts of grief, exponential growth in faith. God has been with me in a tangible way. Even as I’ve wept and wailed about Jolene’s death, I’ve felt His arms holding me up.

The second definition, active, involving great effort, also resonates. That reminds me of the deliberate choices we’ve made to believe; to affirm God’s sovereign love when our hearts are breaking. Why I call it a sacrifice of praise.

Concentrated, or narrowly focused, faith, also applies. Everything in my life, my prayers, my worship, revolves around Jolene’s death. As I’ve shared many times, I can’t sing a hymn without breaking down in tears. Her passing has concentrated my attention on the reality of the resurrection.

Thanks for sharing, Celise. You are another “gift of grief,” friendship deepened in the cauldron of my pain.

Thanks to all of you who share, who have proven friendship as days and weeks have lengthened into months.

1 comment:

Mary Connealy said...

A young mother...a good friend of mine...died about 25 years ago in a car wreck. She had three children, one, about a year old, severally handicapped.

I remember wondering where could God be in this? How could someone so badly needed die? What was God's plan.

The funeral was huge. The sorrow so deep and profound.

I had the idea, which seemed to come out of left field, which is when I think it comes from God, that when a young person dies so many people are touched.

The affect is wide reaching, people are forced to consider life and death issues. The Lord can move powerfully in times like that.