Nina and I have a friend â€“ sounds like the start of a bad joke doesn't it? Shocking as it is, we have more than one, but this particular friend is going through an unusually difficult time right now. Almost constantly, for the last several years, her family has been served tragedy and hardship with a side of grief. They have continued to put one foot in front of the other each day, at times stopping simply to ask â€“ why? Casualties have abounded and shame has been an unwelcome yet frequent house guest.
For the record, let it be said that last year irritated so many like a bad boil. It festered and oozed and only seemed to worsen with its ever-maddening pain. Thank the Lord that just before midnight last Wednesday it finally popped. Her struggles began before 2008 and sadly may last through 2009.
When she called last week, her first words were, â€œI need help.â€ No, "Hello, how are you?" Just, â€œI need help.â€ She began to pour out her heart to us and with a shaky voice while quickly wiping away tears she continued, saying, â€œI just don't have any faith.â€
It is the death knell for the faithfulness of believers. The white towel of service. Normally these words are so much worse than an "I quit" that my heart sinks. But, a strange thing happened. She kept talking. Uncertainty clouded the way as she peppered questions at me. While I listened intently to what she was saying, I really only heard the words, â€œI don't have any faith.â€ Finally, when she stopped, I carefully asked about her loss of faith. I certainly didn't want to appear like a psychiatrist (How does that make you feel?) or a snake-oil salesman (I've got just the cure.). Most importantly, I had heard what she said but wanted to know what she was doing.
For her, it was clearly a can't-see-the-forest-for-the-trees situation. The cancer of unbelief had not spread from her mind into her heart and legs and arms. Though her mind told her she had no faith, her actions proved just the opposite. She hadn't lost any faith at all. She had just forgotten where to look for it. She started believing that faith was what she said rather than what she did.
Beyond any doubt, our actions always prove our beliefs.
For instance, Hamas hates the Jews. How do we know? With a blatant lack of discrimination they lob rockets into Israel. They hate the men, the women, and the children. They hate the whole lot. Say what they will about wanting peace; however, their actions prove an entirely different story.
Then what of our friend? She will make it through this bout and on she will continue. Hopefully it will be with a renewed sense of the substance of her actions.
Hopefully she will stand firm on the conviction that what we do should swell while what we say should abate. Friends, remember: in this turbulent sea of life, it's what we do that really matters, not what we say.
Yours for Portugal,
Bro. Michael AndrzejewskiBro. Michael Andrzejewski currently serves with his wife and five children as a missionary to Portugal and is sent out of Milledgeville Baptist Church in Milledgeville, TN.Â For more information about their ministry please visit MBC Portugal Missions.
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