Keeping Faith

Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again?

Two cars collide. Shattered glass flies everywhere. As much as you want to turn away, you stand transfixed by the chaos. That’s what it was like hearing my friend Sara’s life story.

The first day, it was her emergency room visits for the holes in her heart. The next, her panic as another friend collapsed from an overdose. But no matter how depressing her stories were, I couldn’t put the phone down. I had only known her for two weeks, but she had already opened up to me about the trauma that plagued her life. She was struggling under the burden of trying to care for not only herself and her difficult health problems, but also the crises caused by her troubled friends. Assuming religious beliefs helped her cope with the pressure, I asked if she had prayed about the problems in her life.

“How can there be a God?,” she replied. “What God would allow people to suffer so much?”

Sara’s statement stunned me. Not by the fact that she didn’t believe in God, but that she felt the burden of dealing with life-and-death issues by herself. Only fifteen years old, I hadn’t gone to seminary or received a pastoral ministry degree, but I couldn’t bear to listen to her troubles without offering some sort of solution.

“Sometimes problems are...

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