The Godly Kind of Faith
Do you have the “Godly Kind of Faith”? Sometimes it takes a sad occurrence for us to find out.
People react to tragedies in different ways. I heard about a woman who stopped attending church because she lost her daughter to cancer and could not reconcile the fact that God allowed her daughter to die. On the flip side of the coin, another woman told me that when her sixteen-month-old daughter drowned in her swimming pool, it actually brought her closer to God. Two different situations, two different people, each responding in a different way to tragedy.
Tragic events, such as the death of a loved one, may put our faith in God to the test. Could God have saved those young people? Yes. But God didn’t. When such events as these happen, questions start popping in our heads. Is God punishing us for our sins? Is the death of a loved one some kind of a test? Do accidents just occur and God just allows them to happen? Is God angry with us?
To some, it seems that tragedies and disasters happen all around us and that God passively watches from His throne high in heaven. It’s like standing by the side of a road watching the cars go by, just waiting for an accident to occur. In the case of God, however, something can be done. Though God can cause a hurricane to change course, can divert a plane from crashing, can diminish the waves of a tsunami, can rescue trapped miners, oftentimes nothing is ever done. When no miracle or no happy ending occurs, friends and family of the victims can respond only in misery and tears.
Admittedly, to the casual observer, it seems that God is passively sitting back and watching the cars go by. The casual observer may think that God doesn’t care about the world. The casual observer may then start to get angry at God for not doing enough to prevent these tragedies. The casual observer may question what kind of a God would let all these people suffer. The casual observer could then question whether God really exists. Finally—and this is the scariest thought—the casual observer may conclude that there is no God.
Are these the steps to how a person falls from faith and eventually becomes an atheist? It’s possible. The casual observer, however, may reach some of the above conclusions and still possess a degree of faith in God. Though he may never reach the last conclusion, he may be struggling with some of the things that are going on in this world.
Whenever someone is shaken to the core, either because of personal tragedy or a major disaster in the media, it’s an indication that they’re not putting their trust in God to the degree that they should. Such a response may indicate a small amount of faith in God, not a complete lack of faith in God. Consider the woman I mentioned earlier, who stopped attending church because of losing her daughter to cancer. She isn’t necessarily unsaved. It’s not mandatory to attend church to be saved, but not attending is a bad sign.
Even though many times Jesus said to his disciples, “O, you of little faith,” He never told them they had no faith. For instance, Jesus called Peter, “The rock on which the church is to be built.” Despite his shortcomings, Peter had great faith, and as a large rock can’t easily be moved, so our faith in God won’t be shaken easily if we develop solid roots.
I remember reading about a mining disaster in West Virginia and learning how the local community was coping with the disaster. As the two women I mentioned previously reacted differently to the loss of their loved ones, so did the friends and relatives of the miners who had lost their lives.
One person’s reaction typified the reaction of people who were struggling with the loss of their loved ones and questioning how a loving God could allow this tragedy to occur. The man who knew the miners and was quoted on CNN as saying, “It hit our people’s hearts so hard. What the hell has God done for us? Just a few minutes before (they had heard the news of the dead miners) we were praising God, because we believed that they were alive.”
On the other hand, some in the community reacted differently. “Sometimes it takes a tragedy to bring us together,” said the Rev. Wease Day, of the Sago Baptist Church. The church held an hour-long service for the mourners of the local community. At the end of the service, the mourners raised candles above their heads and shouted three times in unison, “Praise the Lord!”
The difference in the reaction of the various groups is one simple word—faith. It’s the same kind of faith that Peter had when Jesus called him “the rock on which the church is to be built.” It’s the same kind of faith that the Christian has who puts his trust in God, despite the fact that he may be facing many trials in his life. It’s the same kind of faith by which a part of the community was able to praise God, despite the tragedy.
What about you? Do you have the “Godly Kind of Faith?”