The Struggle of Faith


When I was a kid, life was like the first pages of a new book. All excitement, all magic, all potential, so much to look forward to. The end of the story was so far away. Now, in my fifties, after so many chapters - after the death of two marriages, of several friendships, my mother, the Town of Paradise, and, most recently, a close friend - every turn of the page takes me closer to the end. Instead of excitement, I feel sadness. The story is nearly over. It’s not the story I was hoping for, but I also love it. It’s my story, and it’s the only one I’ve got.

The suddenness and totality of the destruction of November 8 showed me that this life can destroy everything I care about at any given moment in time. Ever since then, I can’t find the kind of excitement over things that I used to have, because I know how quickly they can disappear. I’ve always “known” that, but mostly in theory. My greatest losses came when I still saw more chapters ahead than I had left behind. Now I know, in a way that I never have before, that this life and its pleasures are temporary, and that makes me less able to enjoy them.

What I need most is to believe that this life is not all there is. I need something to hold on to that can’t be snatched away from me. And it can’t be “in theory.” It must be better and more real than anything this life has to offer. Only when I know for certain that this life is not all there is – that I’m not nearing the last chapter – can I begin to find joy in the chapter I’m living now.

And that is the struggle of faith, believing that Jesus Christ, who I cannot see, is alive and that his gospel is true. If it is true, then this life is just the prologue to something so much greater. If it isn’t . . .

So my struggle is to focus on God’s kingdom, to be sure I believe it exists, and to determine to care more about that invisible world than the world I live in now with all the stuff I love too much.



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