When Sue was told that her husband had just died, she could see her life falling apart before her eyes. This had come literally out of nowhere. Jim had been working out back in the garden. One minute he was planting vegetables, the next he was lying unconscious on the lawn. He was rushed to the hospital, but it was too late. He was dead by the time he got to the emergency room. Although Sue and Jim were in their seventies, it still was a difficult thing to accept, especially since Jim had been in pretty good health for a person that age. The weeks and months after the funeral were the worst. Even though her children came around and made sure she was OK, she couldn’t help but feel all alone.
Yet six weeks later, Sue was forced to deal with another tragedy. One day she received a call from the police. Her son, Robert, the eldest, was found dead on the floor of his apartment. The circumstances of the death were not yet clear. There would have to be an autopsy.
Most of us can take only so much stress before we begin to look for answers. When we are confronted with one challenge after another, we begin to lose heart—to despair. When we are in these kinds of circumstances we can give up, or we can look to God for help.
Our faith is meant to be a refuge for us—something to cling to so that we can hang in there. Maybe you’ve asked yourselves the question: “What’s life all about?” A person with faith may have a better chance of beginning to answer that question.
There was a guy who loved to collect maps. He wasn’t a traveler; he just liked to analyze these maps and see how the road systems would change over the years. It’s really not the purpose of the map, though. They are supposed to help us get from one place to another.
This guy wasn’t really using the maps for the purpose for which they were intended. Sometimes we are the same way with our faith. Faith is supposed to be lived, not looked at. (Some of us never get the faith. It’s supposed to help us “get somewhere”) It’s about God and about Christ who opened the way for us to God. We are important to God, and God wants to save us. Some people just go to church, and live fairly decent lives—but God is more than that. We have been saved so that we can be partners with God—friends with God. We have to let our faith help us, especially when the going gets rough. This is more than just going through the “motions.”
You see, God saves us from the darkness of our life, from our sin and from our suffering. God can help us find the direction in life we didn’t have before. God can help us grow stronger in our suffering. It’s better to live life with God than to live it alone. We can have a sense that we are being guided through life so that with Christ we can enjoy a richer and fuller life in Eternity (Heaven).
So, when we are overwhelmed with one thing after another, and it seems as if our life is falling apart right before our eyes, where do we turn? To faith.But it should be a faith that is alive, not “looked at” or “studied.”
Pentecost is about lively faith—powerful faith. It was strength and freedom from fear that the Apostles experienced after the descent of the Holy Spirit upon them. It would be this Spirit-filled faith that would see the Apostles through the trials that they had yet to face. So it is with us. The Apostles had to go through all they experienced before the moment of Pentecost. The Spirit came because they were ready to receive Him. Their past experience with Christ prepared the way for that moment. If we go along with Christ in our life, there will be a time, or perhaps several times, where we will be given what we are now able to receive. Pentecost is just such a time, to receive the gift of the Spirit who sustains us and sees us through.