At church, we dedicate time in every service to pray together. The pastor encourages those who are believing God for something to raise a hand in agreement as we lift up our requests to God.
When I was pregnant with Brody, I raised my hand each time. Why not? I was believing God for a healthy baby, so I wanted to thank God for that without ceasing.
This pregnancy, I don’t raise my hand.
I am now in my third trimester, and I have prayed for this baby to be healthy one time. It was painful.
This past Sunday, when the opportunity to raise a hand was offered, I wanted to be brave. God is good. I want to trust her. I don’t want to be afraid or superstitious. But I still wasn’t ready.
Standing in faith feels like standing on a rail line; I would just be making myself needlessly vulnerable, setting myself up to be crushed again.
If faith cannot explain what went wrong with Brody, or what has gone wrong for so many people so many times, then how can it ever be safe? Why would I want it? Why would I teach my kids to have it?
There is much I don’t know, but I still believe that whatever the truth is, it is the best God can do. I don’t understand or pretend to know everything that will happen when we die. I don’t understand exactly where my authority ends and God’s begins. But I do believe that God has done and is doing the best she can for us.
Motivated by perfect and selfless love, God is working for our ultimate good.
And I want to keep talking to her, the God of perfect love. She strengthens me and comforts me and leads me in the truth. I have experienced God’s love so vividly, I can hardly call believing in it faith. Of God’s love, I am certain.
So, if God’s love is a safe place, why do I feel so afraid to have faith?
My faith for Brody expected good outcomes and after experiencing the worst, I am not willing to expect good outcomes the same way again. I cannot pray for this baby the way I prayed for Brody. But that is not the only way to pray – I need to stop telling myself that it is.
If real faith is all about the outcome, all about my ability to receive blessings or move mountains, then that is a scary place riddled with unmet expectations and failure. I don’t want to go there. I don’t want to get back on those train tracks to prove I trust God.
If faith is about trusting in the endless love and goodness of God, regardless of circumstances, then faith is a place of peace. I want to go there. I want to live there. I want to teach that to my kids.
I will thank God for this new life and trust that, whatever happens, God is working for its ultimate good – just as she has always done for me, just as she has always done for all of us.