I woke up about 5:00 AM today and watched my daughter’s hospital room start to light up, ever so slowly. It had been black all through the night, other than the screens on her IV monitor, a few buttons on her bed, and the hallway light. Now the blackness was beginning to let go as a new day was arriving.
Dawn does not come quickly. It starts just a bit at a time, as the darkness subsides and hints at the coming sunrise.
Then, in an instant, the sun breaks the horizon. It was 6:00 AM as I watched this orange ball of fire rise like a phoenix, breaking through the sky and setting it ablaze. In a matter of minutes, the sliver of light became a dome and transitioned to a perfect, glowing ball – so bright I could barely look at it. I stared longer than I should have, and even as I type this, my eyes are still adjusting a bit.
This wasn’t my first sunrise. I’ve watched the sun come up before, and it’s always an experience worth getting up early for.
But here’s the twist…
It’s 6:30 now. As quickly as it arrived, the sun has risen past the horizon and disappeared behind the cloud deck. There’s still a hint of orange to the sky, but nothing like the show I witnessed just a few minutes earlier. The colors are muted now, and the blazing sky has subsided. A light blue haze is replacing the morning show.
As the sun settles in behind the clouds, I can’t see it anymore. Other than the subtle hint of orange it’s left behind, it’s gone. But even if I can’t see it on the other side of the clouds, I know it’s there.
That’s the story of faith. It’s believing in things we can’t always see.
When your child gets sick, and they end up in the hospital, it can challenge your faith. I’ve wrestled with that a bit this week, and it has been uncomfortable at times. Is God still there? Does He hear me? Why is He being so quiet? Why are we still here in the hospital?
It was the same during my divorce, and it’s something I’ve experienced at other times in my life. In the midst of our struggles, our faith gets tested. Whether it’s relationships or illness, work or finances, loss or grieving, stresses continue to come and go. They weave themselves into our lives, and can hijack our joy and contentment.
It’s easy to have faith when you can see things clearly and life is “good”, just like it was easy to see the sun when it was blazing in the sky at daybreak. When it’s shining that bright, you can’t deny it. But in the moments when the sun disappears behind the clouds, and you can’t see it, how do you know it’s still there?
When we pray and the answers we want don’t come, or we feel like we’re not being heard, is God still there?
Just like the clouds can hide the sun, there are things in life that hide God from us. That doesn’t mean He exists any less. Sometimes our circumstances are simply creating walls that separate us, and sometimes we simply need to think back to the last time we saw Him in action. I’ve experienced God in action in my life more times than I can count. Over and again, God has shown up for me. He’s walked with me and carried me every time I needed Him. Maybe in this moment right now, I just need to trust and be patient. Like the sun rises every morning, God has always shown up, just on time.
It’s easy to forget that when you’re sitting in your daughter’s hospital room.
And so, writing this now while she sleeps soundly, it’s an exercise in faith for me. It’s a moment for me to remind myself that even if the sun is behind the clouds, it’s still shining. And, even if I can’t see God’s hand in our situation right now, it doesn’t mean He doesn’t hear us and isn’t working on our behalf.
Just like the sun, He’s still here. I can feel Him even though I can’t see Him.
Things will come at you. They will challenge your faith and make you wonder if God is active, listening, and engaged. First, I want this post to be an encouragement to you in those moments. He’s still there.
For some of you, conversations about faith like this one may be uncomfortable. I get it, and I’ve been there. This week has challenged me to dig into my own faith deeper than before, to turn off my cruise control, and trust more than I typically need to. I’ve had to let it stretch me beyond my comfort zone. I would challenge you to do the same. Allow yourself to be stretched a bit in the area of your own faith, and remember, the sun’s always shining (even when you can’t see it.)