These last few weeks have been jam-packed with emotion. My cousin passed away a little over a week ago, and I have been going through the process of dealing with everything that comes with that. He had down syndrome and went to be with the Lord at the young age of 25. The grief that comes with losing someone who was so full of love and joy is overwhelming at times, however, the lessons learned bring a form of comfort in the chaos. I think I can say that I’ve experienced the epitome of every emotion in the last two weeks. Everything from joy to anger, guilt to freedom, despair and sadness to relief and happiness. I’ve experienced confusion along with understanding, intense doubt along with even more intense faith.
As writing is a release for me, I can say I’ll probably write and post more and more as God takes me through this journey of processing. But I’d like to start with something that He taught me just a few days ago, where He took me from intense doubt to even more intense faith.
Last Sunday at church, I was having a tough time. The funeral for my cousin was the day before, and I was exhausted both physically and emotionally. I offered to help plan everything and write a eulogy that would honor his life. By the time it was all over, I was drained. I didn’t think that I had any more tears left, but it was like a broken sink. Each time I’d think I was done, a few more would leak out, and often it would turn to full on water-works.
As I was sitting at church, I felt somewhat alone. I hadn’t heard from God much, but honestly, I hadn’t turned to Him like I knew He wanted me to. My boyfriend was there for me throughout this whole time, giving me a shoulder to cry on, handling my outbursts with more grace than I knew a person could have, but most importantly, reminding me of the One I needed to be pouring myself out to so that He could fill me up. At the end of the service, my boyfriend had walked to the back and sent a woman I knew from a class I had taken came up to sit by me. As she asked me what I was going through, I saw through her eyes and felt through her hug that care that God has for me. I was able to get things things off my chest I felt like I couldn’t tell those closest to me. I cried. I cried for the loss I was feeling, the guilt I was carrying, the uncertainty that was battling to overtake me. She cried, too, and told me a story of a friend of hers who had passed away while pregnant. She admitted to not understanding God in that time, but He gave her a dream of her friend in Heaven, playing with children and a baby in her lap, laughing with Jesus. She then prayed that God would give me a dream to let me know that my cousin was okay.
Now, I must admit, I didn’t think that this would actually happen. I didn’t doubt that it could happen, just that it would happen to me all because someone sat with me and prayed that it would. I had no faith that this would happen. I think I even laughed to myself, thinking that wasn’t for me.
A few days went by, and my dreams weren’t anything special. Then, on the 7th day after the wake, I had a dream of my cousin. I dreamt that I was walking into the funeral home to see his body. I saw his brother and his family. I saw his dad, and said hello to him. And there was my cousin, sitting with his dad. (Being a dream, I didn’t realize that this was strange.) As soon as he saw me, he jumped up and gave me a hug. He put his arm around me and walked with me into the funeral home, laughing and smiling, as joyful as ever. It wasn’t until we got inside that I realized that something was off. “Wait, this is his funeral,” I thought to myself. “How is this happening? Is he going to get into the casket? What is going on?” And then I woke up. I felt so much peace, knowing that his true self, his true soul, was never in the casket. He was with Jesus and watching over us!
Almost immediately after waking up, I called the friend who had prayed for me to have this dream. She was as overjoyed as I was, however, where I was shocked, she was expectant. She had prayed in faith and remained in faith until the Lord answered her prayer for me, in His time. She wasn’t surprised or breathing a sigh of relief. She was simply rejoicing for me. Thanking God for His faithfulness. She had the faith, the faith that could move mountains, and God loved that and provided what she believed He would.
In a way, this reminds me of the story of Abraham and Sarah. The more I read and reflect, the more I relate to Sarah. God had promised things to Abraham, and he had such a strong faith that he believed all God told him would come to happen. God had promised Abraham that he would be the father of many. Abraham had a wife, Sarah, making her the mother. But try as they might, Sarah was never able to conceive. She and Abraham grew very old, past child-bearing years, and still no child. But Abraham kept the faith. One day, he was outside and saw the Lord and two other men (probably angels). He sat down with them and Sarah stayed inside. But like me, Sarah eavesdropped on her man’s conversation. The Lord promised Abraham that by that time next year, Sarah would have a son. Keep in mind they were very old at this point. Sarah heard this, considered the reality of her age, and laughed to herself. She did not believe that this would come true. The Lord, being God, heard this and her thoughts and spoke them aloud. He told Abraham, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” And sure enough, a year later, Sarah had a son named Isaac. (Genesis 18)
I don’t know about you, but I can just about imagine the shock Sarah went though when she realized that she was pregnant. I can also imagine Abraham being like, “Well duh!” I love his faith in this, but I know I can more often relate to Sarah in this situation. Of course she wanted a child. But when the natural world says, “impossible,” our supernatural God says, “…watch – and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.” (Habakkuk 1:5) Sarah was told, didn’t believe, but God still did his thing anyway. And Abraham had enough faith for the both of them.
The points I hope I’ve made are these:
- God wants to do amazing things through you, and He wants to do amazing things to you as well. He wants great things for you. Even when you don’t believe that He can or will. But the power of Abraham’s faith was so strong that he kept God’s promise over his family, and God was faithful. I hope you realize how strong faith is, and how much it matters to God. Even when you don’t think God can do something, if He wants it done, He will. But with a faith like Abraham, you get to be expectantly waiting with God for His promises to come true. With a faith like Abraham, you can carry your family though a seemingly impossible situation. With a faith like Abraham, you can lead a friend you barely know into a dream of understanding from God just by simply asking for it and believing that God will be faithful. I hope I continue to grow into having a faith like Abraham, to have a faith so strong that God moves in the lives of my friends and family. And as I get there, I am so so grateful for those who do when I am Sarah.
- Nothing is impossible for God. Nothing at all. If your circumstances look impossible, give them to God, and have an Abraham-like faith that He will work things out. Don’t forget the story of Sarah conceiving in old age. Don’t forget what God told Abraham- “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” (Genesis 18:14) And don’t forget what Paul promises us in Romans 8:28- “ And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”