Remembering Doria

One Father's Journey after the Death of his Daughter

Monday Morning Sermonback

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Warning: This blog entry was inspired by a sermon in church. It has a heavy Bible focus. Just so you know 🙂

This was a nice weekend full of things that didn’t really go that well. Our football game didn’t go that well. Our pizza lunch didn’t go that well. My reading plan didn’t go that well. Basically, almost nothing went according to plan. Nothing went horrible, but nothing went according to plan.

So, I got up Sunday morning to get ready for my personal Bible reading and then church. Another thing didn’t go according to plan. My wife’s stomach was upset. Not quite nauseous, and really not the exciting kind of nauseous, but just feeling terrible. Not a real solid beginning, but life goes on. Every time. 

During the sermon, Pastor Will had a comment that struck at the heart of things. “Conveniently,” he had it written out on the Powerpoint slides, so it was easy to mark down. Here it is: “Faith must be tested before it can be trusted.”

He was preaching from Luke 8:22-25, when the disciples panicked during a storm on the Sea of Galilee, and woke up Jesus from His sleep. He simply spoke to the wind and waves, and they stopped. The idea here was that this storm legitimately threatened their lives, and people around Galilee will tell you the same thing (they did, in 2005!), and the disciples lost sight of their savior and saw only the terrible fate in front of them. None of that reduced the problems they faced, since people died in those storms, but pointed out that there was someone prepared and powerful enough to help in that time. 

It reminded me of a passage I’ve planned to write about sometime in detail. I’ll do just a little here. It’s from 1 Peter 1:6-9—-In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,whom having not seen[a] you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.
 
In this passage, Peter talks about the preciousness of our faith. He promises trials and difficult times, and he makes the point that those trials melt away everything else that I trust in, everything else that takes up my attention, and shows that they aren’t as important as I thought. For my Saturday, that could count everything on my agenda. None of it worked out, but none of it is all-important. Once it’s melted away, all that’s left is that precious refined metal, and it leaves that faith in Jesus as the most valuable thing I’ve got. Even though I can’t exactly see Jesus right now, this still leaves a joy that’s difficult to express, but it’s a confidence that my soul is saved and that Jesus still cares. It doesn’t take away all the troubles, but it’s reassuring to know that this will all work out somehow, sometime, forever. 
 
So, in the middle of a weekend full of things that didn’t work out, and really in the middle of my big family dream for the year that didn’t work out, somehow, it’s OK. Doria is still gone. That hole in my heart is still not filled. I still have barely enough energy to get through things, much less excel, but it’s OK. God still cares. Things are working out, whatever that means. 
 
My faith has been tested before. It’s been the norm for my Christian life. I’ve trusted it before. The object of that faith has been worthy every time. My faith is tested in losing Doria. I clearly don’t understand it. I really wouldn’t have planned it this way. I sure didn’t ask for it, but reality is here. My faith is being tested. With God’s help, I’m going to go ahead and trust it again, however that plays out. 
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One thought on “Monday Morning Sermonback

  1. I really like the Phillips version of that passage: “This means tremendous joy to you, I know, even though you are temporarily harassed by all kinds of trials and temptations. This is no accident – it happens to prove your faith, which is infinitely more valuable than gold, and gold, as you know, even though it is ultimately perishable, must be purified by fire. This proving of your faith is planned to bring you praise and honour and glory in the day when Jesus Christ reveals himself. And though you have never seen him, yet I know that you love him. At present you trust him without being able to see him, and even now he brings you a joy that words cannot express and which has in it a hint of the glories of Heaven; and all the time you are receiving the result of your faith in him – the salvation of your own souls.”

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