I walked to the edge of my faith tonight, looked down and was tempted to jump.
Because sometimes there are no stars or moon, just an ink black sky and, when you step outside in your sneakers and run the country mile, you can’t even see the white of your shoes. It’s that dark.
“I’m done!” I yelled at God while I ran, because I was.
Nothing was working. No amount of being faithful to Jesus was seeming to work, and people I loved weren’t getting better and some were dying and others were starving themselves or relationships were failing. No matter how much I prayed, mountains were not moving and I was done.
I ran and thought about Mum when she had brain cancer, how we’d done everything we could to heal her, how we’d anointed her with oil and prayed against generational curses and renounced sins and sung hymns and done the medical stuff too and her tumor was still growing and the sky was just as dark then as it was now.
I was done with being a Christian.
I was done with believing in something I couldn’t see because it was lonely in the dark. I needed someone’s hand to reach out and hold me because sometimes, faith is touching Jesus’ nail-pierced hands and you can call me Thomas if you want to.
After a while I was panting, but not from the run, from all of the pain, the world’s pain and I couldn’t do it. I kept saying this and I stopped, doubled over, and God showed me, then.
He showed me a picture of the late Nelson Mandela, sitting alone in his bare-bones cell in Africa for twenty-seven years (or nine thousand, eight hundred and fifty five days) and how he emerged—his mind and soul intact, even though he’d forgotten how to tie his shoes—and continued to lead, to inspire, to shine.
To be, as Lisa-Jo Baker put it, a home for those who had none.
He showed me a picture of a woman in Haiti who was a housekeeper at a hotel where my friend had stayed, and all of this woman’s money from housekeeping went towards re-building her house, because there are no banks there—people just transfer the money directly into things like bricks for the walls of their home, or food to eat.
And this woman, she was sitting in her half-built house, the walls just piles of bricks around her, and she was sitting there reading her Bible.
God showed me my neighbor, a single lady who, every night when she gets home from work, plays hymns from her piano by the open window.
He showed me my mum, who never stopped believing God was healing her —
Even when the tumor got bigger and now, after eight years of brain cancer she is fully healed, the tumor gone and doctors scratching their heads. And he showed me this video through a friend, the video of a homeless man joining a Christian musician’s music video, the video of a person with no home giving heartfelt praise to his heavenly father.
And each of these pictures—of Mandela emerging from prison, of the woman in her unfinished house, reading her Bible, of my mum, my neighbor, my husband and the homeless man—they all were flames lighting up the sky, comprising the brightest star—a Bethlehem star.
A star which led the wise men —
which leads all men and women, sons and daughters, into the presence of a king born on a very dark night, born in a manger, in a stable smelling of horse and cow, born in a lowly and despicable way so that we would know the kind of hope that combusts across the sky like a choir of angels.
The hope which leads us home.
Photo Credit: robin_24 , Creative Commons