Faith for my deliverance is not faith in God. Faith means, whether I am visibly delivered or not, I will stick to my belief that God is love (Oswald Chambers in Run Today’s Race).
These words about faith are admirable. We readily affirm them as we go about our daily tasks, navigating the usual troubles. We might think, “This, too, shall pass,” as we persevere. Such sentiments take on new meaning when real tragedy strikes, like that at Sutherland Springs. Sticking to our belief that God is love can be difficult. It can seem impossible. It may appear the least attractive of the options.
But if evil is reason enough to doubt God’s love, then surely beauty is an equally powerful reason to affirm it. God’s people do not shy away from this tension. In the Scriptures we get the optimism of Proverbs but we also get the challenges of Job and Ecclesiastes.
Most importantly we get the cross, the instrument of reconciliation, the place where God suffers with us. After the cross, of course, we get resurrection, and with resurrection an eternal hope.
It might not be how we’d draw up the plan but it assures us we have a high priest who can empathize with us and who has made a way for us.
On our better days, when we are confident in this hope, we can sing with the psalmist, Not to us, O Lord, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness. We anxiously await the day when we will sing it because our tears have been wiped away for good.
PS – if you were in 930 or 1030 services you got to hear Tiffany riff on an old U2 song. Here are the Irishmen performing the original a few decades ago, 80s hair and all.