Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops, What if Your healing comes through tears, What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near, What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise. -Laura Story, Blessings
Out of the blue the other day I was asked “Are you a Christian?” Answering yes, my answer was then followed by “But are you a real one?” Completely taken back, I became speechless. I thought about it for a moment. Not only did I not understand the entirety of the question but I was also left to wonder if I was.
The woman then began to explain to me her journey of faith. How she had spent a large part of her life serving God, but that the last few years she had turned away. She explained how she had gotten sick and it could of resulted in permanent damage to her body. She talked about how during her illness she had began to pray again, that she started reading the word. That she once again started to feel a relationship with God.
As I intently listened to her testimony I started to feel a struggle within myself. She continued to tell me that she had prayed for healing. That she had prayed and God had listened. She was now healed and healthy with no lasting damage. She insisted that because she believed and because she had asked God to re-enter her life, he had saved her.
I thought back to the question I hadn’t yet answered at the beginning of our conversation. I began to question the integrity of my faith. Did I not pray enough? Did I not believe enough in God for him to save Audrey? Was her life not spared because of a lack of something on my part? I began to panic. Was all the progress I had been making in my faith real? Did I not know what I was doing? Were there certain standards I had to follow that I was not following correctly? I knew that I had never felt more certain in my beliefs as I did now, but that question lingered over me and began to fester inside.
Being truly thankful that she had been healed a part of me wished that I could have had a happy ending. That my testimony could include a miracle to tell years from now. After a few moments of silence I hesitantly asked her, ” but what if he hadn’t healed you?” “If your body had been left damaged could you still be thankful…..could you still believe that God has your best interest in mind?” Both of us being left with unanswered questions quickly changed the subject and eventually uncomfortably parted. But the question of whether I was ” real” or not. Of whether I was doing faith “right?” still bothered me.
I do not believe that there is a difference between a christian and a “real” christian or that people who do things right are spared by God. In fact I have seen so many strong faithful beautiful women who have fallen ill or faced horrible events. Women who have been healed and women who are now with God in Heaven. Women that no matter what, have continued to believe until their final breaths were taken.
We all have times when our faith runs low and we begin to question Gods plans. That’s ok. We are all human. As long as we can seek answers when possible and are able to trust in the unknown when not. It is so easy to judge one another. It is so easy for us to question whether we are as good, as faithful, and as strong as the one seated next to us. But what we seem to forget is that God is the only one that needs to know our hearts. God is the only one we need to answer to in the end. So why do we make it so hard on ourselves?
God knew where my heart was on July 6th, 2014. He knew that as I was standing in my kitchen with tears streaming down my face, begging him (or more like demanding him) to save my baby girl, that I was also trying to find the strength to trust, accept, and prepare for his plan. I truly believe that is just it. That whether I had been a believer or not a believer. Whether I had read my bible faithfully or never opened it before, that Audrey would have still entered into his arms that morning.
I believe this because I believe in a merciful God. A God that does not punish. A God that loves us ALL unconditionally. A God that does not cause us pain and suffering to teach us a lesson. What I do believe is that my faith became stronger through her death.That I am thankful I had him to lean on, to yell at, and to cry with. That I could not have imagined going through such tragedy without him.
In the times my prayers have been answered and I have been saved it has been easy to believe…to be thankful. But what if? What if a time came when your world got turned upside down? What if the time came when you couldn’t be saved? The time when life’s trials leaves you desperately face to face with the one in charge of it all. That is when the faith you have always had, the God you have always believed in… truly becomes more real then he has ever been before.
Finally days later I am able to answer this question. I am a woman. A woman who believes. A real woman of a real God. I am relatively new to my faith and I do not know all the answers or even understand some of them that I do know, but I am learning to trust them no matter how hard or no matter what the outcome. What I do know is that my testimony does contain a miracle. A miracle of never ending faith. A miracle of mine and so many others lives being blessed and transformed through one of the most greatest trials I will ever face.
This is my life, my journey…..and it has never felt more real.