Think Again!

It only takes a phone call to turn your world upside down.

The first article I wrote for FullFill’s {Think} column (back in 2007) told of one of those dreaded phone calls—the one with Frank’s mom on the line, the strained desperation in her voice sounding like one of those frantic 911 recordings. Frank’s mountain climber brother Kelly was in trouble somewhere near the summit of Oregon’s Mt. Hood. We’d been fearing that call for years.

The roller coaster week that followed—broadcast on national television networks for all the world to see—left behind a grieving family and lots of “Why?” questions . With people praying all over the world and media cameras rolling, why didn’t God come through for us?

This past December, I got another one of those calls. This time the strained voice was my father’s telling me doctors had discovered a large mass in his lung. Anyone who has gotten one of those calls knows there’s no way to prepare for news like that. And so it began again—the roller coaster of erratic ups and downs that leaves hope soaring one day and dashed the next.

His first biopsy ruled cancer out. We were ecstatic. But joy was cruelly short-lived when more extensive tests proved the mass in his lung was cancer. The resulting emotional whiplash was tough enough to handle for myself. It was even worse to see someone I love go through it along with all the multilayered suffering that cancer brings.

When trouble strikes, I don’t need anyone to tell me how crucially important is every moment I’ve spent thinking about God, wrestling with those nagging why questions, and probing his Word to know God better. Trouble sends us into uncharted territory. Ignorance of God puts us in the untenable position of trusting someone we don’t know. When the lights go out and we’re feeling our way in the dark—faith needs to know the God who holds our lives in his hands.

Adults are forever warning children never to trust a stranger. We ignore our own advice when we don’t get serious about the call to love God with our minds. We’ll learn the hard way that there’s a world of difference between trying to trust a stranger and trusting someone we know can be trusted. The life-long pursuit of a deeper knowledge of God won’t spare us from struggling with doubt and fear, or experiencing the dark night of the soul. It means we have more to tell ourselves, and faith has more to grasp.

In 1939, at the beginning of World War II, England’s King George VI borrowed the words of poet Minnie Louise Haskins to reassure a worried nation as they faced a frightening uncertain future.

“Go into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way!”

It only takes a phone call to prove King George was right.

[Originally published by FullFill in the Spring 2012 {Think} column and reprinted with permission here.]

For further reading:  When Life & Beliefs Collide—How Knowing God Makes a Difference
                               Also in Spanish and French!

About carolyncustisjames
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