Friday, February 13, 2009

I Believe - Help My Unbelief

It’s raining- actually, it’s pouring- as I sit at my desk and write in my journal. I pour out my thoughts and emotions to God. I know he is attentive to me. I don’t actually come out and literally ask him for a “sign”… but it is the sentiment I convey between the lines.

I know that I face this difficult time in my life with God’s continual presence. I know that God is for me. I know that he promises to work all things to the good for those who love him and are called by him (see Romans 8).

I know, I know, I know. But at the moment… it is hard to “believe.” I mean, if you really believe something, it changes you, right? I want to believe God because only he has the words of real life (John 6:68). He came so that I could have a full life (John 10:10). I want to be open to that life. That requires God’s ongoing transformation in me. And I want to come out of this experience better than I was going in.

So I let God have it. All my questions, doubts and fears. All my anger, pain and suffering. I know- no, I “believe”- my God is big enough to handle them all. And as I pour out my heart to him, I acknowledge that I feel vulnerable and weak. That I need to believe he is really with me… right now… in this moment. I ask the same thing that the possessed boy’s father asked of Jesus in Mark 9:24:

I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief.

A flash of color catches my eye. I look out the window and notice a prism. The splash of color can only be described as the tip of a rainbow. “Hmm… that’s strange,” I think to myself. “The sky is dark and laden with storm clouds. How can there be a rainbow visible?” I go to investigate further. As I step out onto my front porch, I am met with an amazing view.

Amidst the still pouring rain and dark sky all around… there before me is an unexpected break in the clouds. Brightly lit by the unseen sun is a complete rainbow! Its reflection hovers just above the tree line affording me a ringside view of its full colorful arc. I stare in wonder at God’s gift. His glorious presence with me is an almost tangible thing. Such a personal, gracious love overwhelms me. I bask in the beauty and wonder of the moment… a “sign” from God. He is with me. All I can do is worship him.

Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. When I saw it, I fell facedown, and I heard the voice of one speaking. Eze. 1:28 (NIV).

After what feels much longer than the 5-10 minutes that have passed, the clouds close in. They engulf the rainbow, hiding it from view- as if it had never been. The sky darkens once more. I find myself back in the reality of the storm. Gone is the beautiful vision that God allowed me to witness. But its promise lingers. I am left with the notion that it is still there- waiting for the storm to pass and the sun to shine its glory once more.

And such is the personal storm in which I find myself. It is as if God in his mercy, has given me a memorable illustration of what is to come. Yes, I must face head on the challenge of this dark hour in my life. But I know- I really believe- that the firestorm will pass. I can assuredly envision that beauty will arise from the ashes to shine brightly in my life again.

Part of really “believing” that God is with me involves asking the “why?” question. Why must I go through this now? If God knew I was going to face this problem, why didn’t he make it happen sooner when I was younger? Even though I am not over the hill, it is easy to feel that my time is running out in certain respects. This trial “should” have happened earlier so that I could move on more “easily,” right?

I can’t know all the eternal or temporal ramifications of my life experiences… but this I do believe: God never allows his people to endure more than they are able (1 Cor. 10:13), and God’s timing is never too early or too late. Who knows? Perhaps the wounds would not have healed had this particular trial occurred earlier in my life. The scars may have changed who I am to the negative. I may not have been so spiritually connected with God to avoid lasting heartache.

What is certain to me is that God has graced me with his presence today in a way that I can carry through these turbulent times. I believe in his power and faithfulness to carry out his promises. I believe I will come out on the other side, not only a better person, but better able to help others. In the meantime, as I sing to the Lord- "I will praise you in the storm!"

… and I will bless you… and you will be a blessing. Gen. 12:2


  1. Dear Esther my life long friend,
    Believe it or not, I printed out your first two journal entries this morning to read when I got a chance. I had just finished reading them and clicked onto your blog, only to be astonished that there was a new entry. Esther, these writing are wonderful. I have seen your talent in the music you have written, but these are so elequent and encouraging. They express what many of us have felt at one time or another. You should save all these, and put them in a book. I would buy it and give it to friends to encourage them through a difficult time. It sounds like your going through one right now. If you ever want to talk, please call me or WRITE. Do you think those clouds you saw are the sames ones in Holland? I send my love.
    Your sis,

  2. Only you can make me laugh about clouds in Holland... geepers, has it been that long since High School geometry class?
    Loving you,