by Annette Bridges. ©2008. All rights reserved.
I thought I had faith. I thought I could trust with confidence and certainty. But our trip to a remote area of Colorado proved to be a telling experience for me. At first I relished in the bliss of no phone calls from the dozens of advertisers that daily disturb the peace of my days back home. But it became disconcerting to be cut off from communication with our family. So my husband and I drove to the closest “village” where we could check emails and had cell phone service.
The peace and quiet in our mountain cabin was even quieter than our country house in Texas. And although we didn’t have the broad horizon we enjoy at home, we were awed by majestic mountain peaks that encompassed us with their strength and protection.
It was the night before we were to head back when our miniature dachshund, Lady, was stung by something unbeknownst to us and had a severe allergic reaction. We finally learned there was a veterinarian about an hour away but his office was closed until the next morning and he could not be reached.
I found myself grappling with what I believed about God, life, death and evil. And I began asking questions.
Am I without any recourse and help? Do I believe that God would create something that can harm or destroy his beloved creation? Do I believe that God is the only power, Creator and that God is good? Or do I believe that evil is another power that threatens the existence of God’s creation? Do I believe that God’s love and care is present with me no matter where I am? Do I believe when Jesus said “I am with you alway” (Matthew 28:20) that he meant the healing power of Christ would be with me today, healing and saving, just as Christ healed the multitudes centuries ago?
When Lady began to get worse, we drove into the village and called a friend to pray. She prayed with us throughout what would be a sleepless night.
I wrestled with many questions that long night — perhaps something like Jacob when he was overwhelmed with the fear of confronting his brother. (Genesis, Chapter 32) But at the conclusion of his struggle with fear — and probably also with guilt and self-condemnation — he found his peace and said, “I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.”
I pondered the stormy night the disciples and Jesus encountered while on a ship. Although they were in turbulent waters and high winds, Jesus slept peacefully on his pillow. But the disciples woke him franticly exclaiming, “Master, carest thou not that we perish?” Jesus got up and “rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still.” Then the Bible tells us “the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.” Jesus asked his disciples, “Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?” (Mark 4:37-40)
I thought about the demeanor Jesus maintained in the midst of a storm — composed, unmoved, unagitated, cool-headed. Inspired and encouraged, I affirmed what I believed to be the eternal and spiritual truth about God and all of His creation and considered how Jesus would answer my questions: “No, no, yes, no, yes, yes!”
And like a lawyer defending my innocent client, I argued “Be still” to each fear and the physical evidence before my eyes and I contended that peace was a law of God that was powerful and permanent and could not be taken away from any of God’s creation.
By morning’s light Lady was definitely better and calmer but still suffering with some uneasiness and bothersome symptoms. So we took her to the veterinarian’s office when he opened. He confirmed she was beyond the “crisis point” as he called it and was on the mend. He said he could give her something that would ease her remaining discomfort and help her relax for the long trip.
Since returning home I’ve been continuing to reflect on this challenge to my faith. I am certain that our dachshund’s survival that night was the result of prayer and spiritual reasoning. And although I’m sure I have much more to learn on my journey ahead, I am determined to never avow that “evil” — in whatever form — is some invincible or inevitable power. Evil is not only defeated by God’s truth and law, it is proven powerless and diminished to the “nothingness” that it is or ever was as far as God is concerned.
My faith has been strengthened.