Faith

Someone asked me this week how I came about my faith. My friend and I were playing outside in the yard. She was eight years old and I was six. The horses were blowing in the shade, rubbing their bodies against the horse blankets hanging on the fence.  We lived in the country so we burned a lot of garbage in a big barrel. The garbage can was burning. My friend’s dad was working on the lawnmower trying to get it to run. He had it broken apart and had drained the fuel into a can. He was a very large man, but sweet and gentle. He was one of my favorite dads’ in the neighborhood.

He called my friend over to take the can and pour the gasoline out on the road. She did what he told her to do. But as she walked past the smoldering trash can the fumes from the can ignited, igniting the gas, which engulfed my friend. I was sitting on the ground staring in wonder. Her arms were waving and she was screaming, but she looked like a beautiful golden angel.

Her dad began to run toward the horses and yell at me to go home. He never raised his voice. I looked at him. He continued screaming at me to go home while he was throwing his child to the ground in one of the horse blankets. I became frightened. He continued to scream and yell at me to go home. I was extremely hurt that my favorite dad was yelling at me to go home and being mean to my friend. I ran to my bicycle crying, jumped on and peddled as fast as I could home. I had no real understanding of what had occurred.

My friend died three days later. My parents took me to her funeral. I never went back to her house.

My parents and I were unaware I was traumatized, until the reoccurring nightmares caused me to wake up in the middle of the night with bloodcurdling screams. My parents took me to a child psychologist until the nightmares stopped.

As I grew into elementary maturity I realized my friend had died and would never come back. I still get upset at what happened that day. I still cry for the loss of my friend. As a parent I realize the great sadness and loss my friend’s family endured.

My parents began to go to church after her death. Sunday school class began teaching me about God and how he gave his son Jesus for our salvation. I memorized John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, so that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” (KJV) I was taught that if I believed this I would get to be with Jesus and God. It was a promise from God. I felt a great conviction and accepted Jesus as my savior in December, 1968, two years after the death of my friend. I know her death was a catalyst for my salvation. I am very thankful for coming to know Jesus, because I would never have made it through a cancer diagnosis without my faith in the Lord and His promise of hope. “For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans for welfare, not for calamity, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11; KJV)

 

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Faith, Hope, Charity

Faith is complete trust in someone or something. For me the something has always been God. Sometimes I have put my faith in things that provided me dissatisfaction. Mostly trusting in people who appear to be supportive when they are secretly self-centered word manipulators. God on the other hand is exactly trustworthy and he is not a liar. He can provide satisfaction. As long as I keep scripture in mind when I place my prayer of faith to the Lord my faith is rewarded in hope.

Hope is the desire for something to happen. Hope is the culmination of faith received. However, hope can be dashed. The reason I sometimes have my hope(s) crushed, is because I forget God is not human or shortsighted. God infinitely knows what is best for me. Just because I wanted a particular blessing to happen does not mean what I desired was the best option for me. God however is omnipotent and knows what is perfect for me now and in the future.

Charity for me is love. Love toward everyone. I don’t love everyone. I should, God tells me to love my neighbor, but I don’t. I try, but others behave in ways I cannot appreciate and I am imperfect. I get mad at myself for not loving everyone. Their religion, race, age, or whatever has nothing to do with why I don’t feel charity toward them. Their behavior toward me, others, or even toward their person makes me hold back the charity. Charity a work in progress for an INTJ personality.

Faith, hope, and charity all things I work on every day. I am not perfect, and everyone else around me is not perfect either. Sometimes this makes for a long day. I think the imperfect understanding of peoples’ actions, ideas, or words is what drives all the hate in the world. This creates a domino effect of killing hope and faith, but most of all separates us as people. I guess the thing I am going to do tomorrow is try several random acts of kindness, placing my faith and hope that God will give each of the people I seek out a glimmer of my charity. If someone hasn’t told you today they love you, well know God does.

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