Saturday, May 1, 2010

Proof of Faith

A few months ago, I ran into a friend who seemed to know how Heather and I were doing and, at least in his opinion, think that we were doing well. “You know that you and Heather are amazing people,” he told me. When I didn’t say anything in response, he took my silence to mean disagreement with his comment (which it was). “Oh, I know, I know, it is all about God.” I then smiled in agreement.

My faith is not the result of my own will power to overcome death and tragedy—or simply the “power of positive thinking.” My faith is not based upon the superseding strength of my intellectual commitment to theism, Protestant Christianity, or my church’s statement of faith. My faith is not the result of wishful thinking, an attempt to honor my own family’s heritage of faith, or the desire for social approval.

None of these things, on their own, would be sufficient to continue to trust God following the death of my son. The devil’s power to tempt us to depression, denial or something equally destructive is far more powerful than any of these things, alone or together. In the absence of the Holy Spirit in my life, I would certainly not be leaning upon God in this tragedy. Left to our own strength and resources, Heather and I would NOT be following God after Micah’s death.

But praise God, for in spite of the occurrence of our worst nightmare, He has given us the gift of faith. This gift of faith brings with it a very tangible benefit--the Holy Spirit living and working in our lives. The Holy Spirit has not left us alone; He has comforted us with the love of Christ. In Titus 3:4-7 Paul says, “But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of the regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”

Charles Spurgeon taught that Christians should be grateful for trials because our faith is “proved” by the trials. “…Your faith in God is proved when you can cling to him under temptation. Not only your sincerity, but the divinity of your faith is proved; for a faith that is never tried, how can you depend upon it? But if in the darkest hour you have still said, “I cast my burden upon the Lord, and he will sustain me,” and you find he does sustain you, then is your faith that of God’s elect…” Charles Spurgeon, adapted from his sermon “A Joy in All Trials” in Be Still my Soul, edited by Nancy Guthrie, p. 105.

Heather and I could tell you that we could not do it on our own, no matter how hard we tried. To the extent that we have grieved well, it serves as a “proof” of our faith. It shows that the Holy Spirit is at work in our lives, comforting us in the words of Christ and teaching us to look at Micah’s death from an eternal perspective. By the “washing” of the regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, we are hoping in eternal life. Yes, our response to Micah’s death is indeed all about God.


  1. Cory, thank you so much for this post. I didn't realize how much I needed to hear that "twist" on faith until I read your words. You're right. Spurgeon is right. What you wrote is so profound and yet so very easy to forget: "the divinity of your faith." Equally profound to me was what you wrote about the intensity of the devil's power to tempt us, despite all you listed and more.

    Thank you for all that you have shared on this blog. One thing reading your blog has done is make me wonder at how great a love God must have for us. Your love for Micah is so deep. So long. So intense. At one point in reading one of your posts, I found myself wondering if God would miss me as greatly as you miss Micah if I strayed from Him. It's an astounding thought that's almost too much to grasp.

    I met Heather in the Psalms/Beth Moore study this spring, was instantly drawn to her, and have been so moved to pray for you both. You came to mind again today because it is now May. I've been waiting for May on your behalf, and praying that great joy in new life will soon overtake you, and that God will lavish mercy on each of you as you face such a complexity of emotion on that wonderful day.

    Thank you again for all you've shared. The Holy Spirit is indeed evident through it all.

  2. Thank you for sharing, Cory. I have tried to find the right words to explain how I feel in regards to this same issue of faith since losing our first baby to a miscarriage, and being supported by others who have faced a similar situation as us, and also encouraging and helping others through similar situations. I am thankful for our mutual faith, and although we all may never meet in person, I know God has connected your family with mine through His Spirit. Like the person above wrote, I know May is a big month for you and Heather, and I pray this new life will bring something to your hearts that you never thought imaginable since losing Micah. Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

  3. I believe everything you have stated but my heart is still crying. Star