Job 13:15 “Though He slay me, yet will I hope in Him.”
I love sports movies, especially football movies (and yes, I know that is weird for a girl). They are inspiring, often teaching us to reach down deep within ourselves to succeed in spite of the odds against us. Remember the Titans, Rudy, We are Marshall, you name it, I’ve probably watched it multiple times and probably been moved to tears every time. But one scene in a particular fictional football movie has always resonated deep within my soul.
Facing the Giants is a low budget Christian film with a powerful message. In addition to the storyline of a football team trying to win games, each character faces individual personal struggles. The coach’s wife faces the disappointment of infertility and the consuming desire to have a child. Each ray of hope of finally having a child is crushed by the reality of a negative pregnancy test. At one point her husband asks her if God never gives them children, will she still love Him? As much as she wants to answer yes, she can’t quite make herself. After all, she has done everything right and still God isn’t answering her prayer. God’s plan isn’t lining up with the life she’s always dreamed of having. Her world is falling apart. She’s facing a faith crisis.
Don’t we all find ourselves there at some point? I did on September 19th, 2014. Prior to that day, it was easy to say I loved God. I was blessed beyond anything I deserved-an incredible husband, two amazing daughters… blessed. Many nights that summer Tim and I had sat by the pool and marveled at God’s goodness. Looking back it was easy to see God’s faithfulness throughout the 25 years we’d been married. We were eagerly anticipating the next season in our lives and looked forward to what it would bring. Somewhere in the back of my mind a question kept haunting my thoughts, though. I couldn’t shake it. Would I still love Him if things weren’t so great? I immersed myself in His Word feeling the need to arm myself against the storm I could sense coming.
September 19th started like most of our Friday’s during football season. We spent the morning packing up all the tailgate gear and were minutes away from heading out for a Saturday of Razorback football. Then my world fell apart. A loud crash. A desperate attempt to perform CPR… Begging Tim not to leave me. And passionately crying out to God for help. Fifteen desperate minutes that ended in a hospital emergency room, and hearing the words no wife ever wants to hear. All our plans, dreams, and future… gone. My world seemed to literally crumble beneath my feet. There I was standing square in the middle of a faith crisis. “Was God still good when a heart attack takes the love of your life?” “Why Tim? Weren’t we trying to serve and honor Him in everything we did?” Like the character in the movie, would I still love Him even in the pit of despair? I’d like to say my faith never wavered, but that would not be truthful. I knew God had a plan, but I did not like His plan. This wasn’t how my life was supposed to go. Sleepless nights, a quiet house and an empty bed dominated my world. I tried to put on a good front, but every time someone commented on how good I was doing, I felt like a fake. The ache inside of me was almost more than I could bear. I honestly questioned if I could do it or not. Each day brought more obstacles that I was ill equipped to face. My world had been rocked to the core. A faith crisis!
In the movie, after another negative pregnancy test, the main character finally cries out that she will still love God even if He never gives her the child she longs for, only to find out minutes later she really is pregnant. We all know real life doesn’t work out so neatly or quickly. After almost two years of struggling to keep my head above water and coming to terms with the fact that I don’t have to like His plan in order to accept it, I can look back and see God’s faithfulness even during the worst times. No matter how bad things got, He was always there. I simply had to look for Him in the midst of the pain. My faith may have been shaken and my world may have crumbled beneath me, but His love reminded me that in Him my foundation will always be solid. While I may never see this time of crisis as a good thing, I can honestly say that it has strengthened and refined my faith and, as Job proclaimed, I can say “Though He slay me, yet I will hope in Him.”
Carla, Church Administrator