October 14, 2019
Author's Note: I wrote the below while camping in Eisenhower State Park in the fall of 2015, seeking a peaceful moment in the year after my dad passed away. It's been five years since that unforgettable day, and every year I tend to look back at this letter while reflecting on where I was and where I currently am.
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
Hebrews 11:1 (ESV)
In the summer of 2015, I found this lacking. Drawing close to a year after my father passed, it seemed my faith had all but shriveled up. “Where was God?” I asked. “How could a loving, gracious father allow this to happen?”
I think it’s common knowledge – anger is one of the stages of grief. You typically hear of it being directed toward the person who passed – “How could you leave me?” I guess I always felt my dad would have stayed if he could have.
For me all of that anger took a different route. “How could you Lord?” I forget that the creator of the universe knows the number of the hairs on my head, as well as how many stars stretch across the skies. I forget that he knows the order of all creation, and sees it past, present and future.
Rather than trusting God, who has all the information to make an “informed decision”, I say “Why on earth would you ever have done that?” And I forget that he works all things out for his good and his glory.
Instead of holding on to faith that the Lord would see me through this, I doubted his provision. Instead of finding faith in awaiting that future moment of glory where me and my father would be reunited, I simply turned to anger in “Why can’t he be here with me now?”
And as I let my faith diminish in my mind, the draw towards sin grew all the more. I began to struggle with sins of my past and withdrew from the community I was a part of in the church. Although I wasn’t at the lowest point I’ve been, this felt worse – not only did I know better than what I was doing, I’d seen better.
But God knows better still.
“But where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.”
Romans 4:20b (ESV)
The key point I needed to remember was that regardless of how much I fall, how distant I feel, I am still saved by grace, reconciled to God through Christ, and have an identity that cannot be forsaken.
From here I must remember that Christ is the founder and perfecter of my faith (Hebrews 12:2a). I cannot forget that if I pursue him, he will give me the faith necessary to run the race.
Right now, I find that the one piece of evidence of my faith that stands out the most is that even when my natural self wants to forget, the inner part remembers these things to be true.
I must look forward to that day when the Lord returns or calls me home – and remember that then I will see my father again.
In memory of
Geronimo Gamez, Jr.