How Can You Have Faith?


After yesterday’s terrorist attack in France, a dear friend from high school, Jeff Pearlman, sent me a Facebook message:
How do you maintain your faith when so much bad happens? Just curious–nothing to read into.
Jeff recently wrote a piece on his blog ( called Death and Paris. I read that first, and then I responded with this…
Hello, my friend. I had to drink a cup of coffee before sitting down to write a response to you this morning. I’m afraid you’re not going to like my answer though….I just do. My belief in God is so rock solid that it is like a check box on a scantron form. Do you believe in God/Jesus/Holy Spirit? Yes or No? I fill in the “Yes” bubble. The fact that bad things happen in this world have no affect on my faith. Just like if my whole body was burned in a fire, I wouldn’t have to think about whether or not to bubble in “White” as the color of my skin. It just is.
Everybody wants somebody to blame. Some blame Muslims, because hey, let’s group in an entire religion of millions of people and make them pay for the sadistic acts of a handful of them. This method doesn’t float with me. I recently learned that I am the great-granddaughter of a Nazi! Great-grandpa disowned his son (my grandfather) because he decided to join the US Army so that he could fight with the Americans against the Germans in WWII. If the “blame the Muslims” theory is right, then I guess I’d be equally guilty as the Nazis for the holocaust just because I have a German ancestor that I never even met. Not!
Then there are those who blame Christians and Jews because they are so pushy with their doctrine and everything about “them” is conceited and arrogant. Even you yourself said “I can’t stomach people trusting ancient religious texts over logic and scientific fact.” (Ouch, by the way!) You and I both know there is as much scientific/historical fact to prove the veracity of those religious texts as there isn’t. No one way is better than the other. You choose to believe that it is illogical and I choose to believe that it is completely logical. So once again, I, as a Christian, should take the blame for the heinous acts of these sick individuals just because I don’t believe what they believe? I don’t think so.
…and then there’s God. Let’s blame Him since He’s the “cause” of all this. People are killing other people because of Him so how can He not take the blame? Also, He is the Almighty Creator so He has the power to stop this in an instant, so isn’t that a good reason to point the finger at Him as well? The challenge in defending God to someone who does not have faith is that it is extremely difficult to prove why bad things happen in a fallen world when the person(s) I am trying to explain it to are person(s) who don’t even believe that He exists! So how could they possibly understand why I, as a Christian, do not blame my Father for the evil that exists in the world? BUT, I guess that is a bit of a cop out and it allows me to avoid your question. (Ahhhh, peace from Pearlman. Lol!) BUT, I’m not going to leave it at that. In order to answer your question though, I’m going to have to make some presumptions.
I will presume that the person(s) that I am talking to has a bit of faith…that they believe that God exists and that’s it. They don’t have to be a Christian or a Jew or a Muslim, just a believer in God (someone who trusts in one of those ancient religious texts that you can’t stomach). IF said person(s) have that belief and that belief alone, then they would also acknowledge that God is the Creator. He created plants, animals, the world, people, etc. That being said, just as in the above examples, why should a parent be blamed for the heinous choices of His children? He is no more to blame for their choices than I am for my great-grandfather’s choice to be a Nazi. Yes, He created the people who are committing the atrocities, but He is not the one doing it.
I know what you are going to say, but if He’s “God” then He could stop it from happening…and He doesn’t. So why would you choose to believe in a Creator like that?
I cannot speak for anyone but myself. I don’t claim to have all the answers—I definitely do not! I do not tell anyone that they should or shouldn’t believe in God and I don’t hate, loathe, or even dislike people who don’t agree with what I believe. My belief is that GOD IS LOVE and I wholeheartedly believe that love is the common bond among all of His creation. (Just last week I created a blog and I plan to write about this stuff. Yikes! God help me. My head hurts already just responding to you!) As difficult as it may be to have faith and see His love in a time such as this; it is there. There are those who choose to focus on and believe in the anger, hate, revenge, blame, and resentment, but I choose love. Love is in the response of those who aided the people injured in the terrorist attacks. Love is in the outpouring of affection and messages and prayers and posts and pictures by those of us who live thousands of miles away. Love is in the hearts and actions of the people in Paris and in all of France who are at this moment holding their families tighter and forgiving past hurts and recognizing that our time here is limited. Love is in acknowledging the commonalities among us as humans rather than focusing on the dividers of ethnicity, religion, politics, and race.
And in the end, if love is to win, then we have to believe in it.

Happy Birthday to Me


Today is my 43rd birthday. I thought that by the time a person is a few years past the 40-year mark that they have their lives pretty much mapped out. Go to College. Get a job. Get married. Check. Check. Check. Get a Master’s Degree. Have a child. Quit your job to be a stay-at-home mom. Check. Check. Check. Have a 2nd child. Take a few family vacations and an anniversary trip here and there. Check. Check. Check.

But then, somewhere around my milestone birthday, the map took a few different turns…Get divorced? Oh. Check, I guess. Find a decent-paying job? Um, hmmm. Not really. How about, Find a job that makes a lot less than you were making before? Sadly, that’s more like it. Check. Take care of a house and two children as a full-time working single mom? Wait, say wha? How am I supposed to do this? Other than the obvious answer: with child support; there comes a time when one must accept that she just can’t do it all alone…and then, there was God.

To say that He’s been there for me throughout the ups and downs over the past few years would be a gross understatement. When I thought I had no one, I learned that I had strength through Him.

However, for the past 20 days or so, God has been silent—that is, until yesterday, when He said, “Write for me.” I generally hear Him fairly frequently while I’m reading my Bible or praying. (No, it’s not an audible voice.) I’ll write more about that another time, but for today, just know, that I am not used to His silence. It came about after a period of anger on my part. You see, I wrote something…a Bible study actually. I wrote a Bible study for people who are going through divorce. It’s called “Joy Cometh”. It took me almost two years to write the book. I wrote it because I felt like God “called” me to do it. (I don’t like when people say they are “called” to do something. It sounds so cliché and almost elitist. Like, “I was called; were you ever called?” Yuck! I hate the arrogant feel of that!) Anyway, let’s just say I did this writing project for God and for people who are hurting through their divorces. After finishing it, I went to a conference for Christian writers. I met with publishers and pitched my book. I had some promising feedback. I was told to seek letters of endorsement from megachurch pastors, Christian counselors, and any big names in Christian publishing. The publisher reasoned that since I didn’t have an established platform or previously published material in this genre that I wouldn’t be able to sell my book. Basically I was told that because I am a nobody, the book wouldn’t be worth their investment. So, I set out to get these endorsement letters.

I wrote to various people and emailed them the book—friends and strangers alike—requesting that they read through “Joy Cometh” and possibly write letters supporting its worth in the marketplace. Surprisingly, there were several people that came through for me. A few months have passed and I am still trying to get letters. However, a few weeks ago, out of the blue, I received an email from the publisher that I met with at the conference and she said that she wasn’t interested in my book. But, I didn’t even finish collecting the letters of endorsement! And then, the really upsetting part happened… I got the sense that the book accomplished what it was supposed to do for now. It is not going to be published; or at least not for awhile. Huh?

During a time of prayer, I felt so strongly in my heart that God used the Bible Study to reach out to one of His lost sheep. The person who needed to see it received it through my endorsement letter quest and she has since read it. Whether or not God got through to the person, I do not know. But I feel fairly certain that I spent two years of my life writing a book so that ONE particular person could read it and possibly feel moved by it. You’d think that as a fairly good Christian woman that I would be honored by such an event. After all, the Bible talks of one lost sheep being more important than a whole flock. (Luke 15:1-7; Matthew 18:12-14)

Seriously though, I’m human. Let’s just say I got upset. Okay, so maybe “upset” isn’t strong enough of a word. To be honest, I got mad–really really mad! How is this possible? I thought this thing was going to be published and reach a lot of divorced people. I thought I’d be able to quit my job and live off the royalties. I thought I’d be flying around doing speaking engagements (which I really didn’t want to do, but I would if necessary to promote the book). I thought. I thought. I thought. Well guess what? I thought wrong! Somewhere along the line I got caught up in the worldly thinking about what I originally set out to do. I started thinking about me and what I would get out of this and that is where I failed. Who am I to think that I know what is best for this book? If I truly wrote it “for Him” then that should be enough. I wrote it. I was obedient to His call. I did what I was supposed to do. Period.

Sometimes that’s how it is when you decide to live a Christ-minded life. His ways are not always our ways. At times we feel discouraged because we can’t see the big picture. If I really think about the fact that He set this plan in motion two years ago just to reach out to one person, it is really pretty incredible; and that person must be really special in the eyes of the Lord (just as we all are). Though I can’t see the entire plan for this book, for that individual, or for me, I just have to trust Him and have faith in His goodness.

So yesterday, when He spoke to me after so many days without a word, He tells me that I need to “write for Him.” Despite my disappointment regarding “Joy Cometh”, I know in the end His plan will be the best one. He’s proved that to me time and time again. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not giving up on my hopes for this Bible Study to be published—I’m just going to leave the details of it all up to God. In the meantime, I know what I have to do… Write. For Him.

Welcome to my blog. Day 1. Happy Birthday to Me!