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Collateral Faith (how seeing others' faith can bolster our own)

We pulled up to the hospital, and a smile tugged at my lips. The letters spelling out “Children’s Hospital” were a rainbow spectrum of colors, and the glowing lights behind them drew in the eyes, drew hope to the heart. It looked inviting. The lobby was even better, brighter: a luminous blue Christmas tree stood twelve feet tall; on the walls, murals of fish and bright corral and waves splashed cartoonishly over the usually pervading whiteness. I'm reminded...

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”

We stood just outside the elevator, floor two, Oncology level, and passed the face masks around. We giggled a little as we stuck fuzzy black mustaches to our masks. And then the lump lodged fixed in the throat and we were holding the tears off firm. I never knew how conjoined tears and laughter could be.

Sometimes, faith is not always being assured of what God will do; it’s just being assured that whatever God does do will be good.

Will be ordained.

Will be backed by the comfort and power of God.

I sit in wonder, looking at the hearts that seek blessings in the battle-worn places, the trenches and the hospitals. That trust, clinging hard to the promises, that God hears. Answers. Holds. Understands.

This is collateral faith. The faith so strong it sends out the shock waves that undulate the ground and impact others all around. The real and gritty faith that challenges the stagnant heart . . . or the heart that wavers under the doubt and fear.

For my aunt and uncle and cousins, it’s a faith filled with tears and tests and toxins. Filled with hospital bed nights and white-walled days.

They remind me of the list of the faithful found in Hebrews. The people who believed hard and held tight to the promises (and wait even still to see their fruition).

Like Abraham, who packed the bags and went without knowing the destination.

Like Moses’ parents, who hid the babe in basket and sent him down the river.

Like the Israelites, who marched around the wall without weapon, but with trumpet, and saw the wall fall.

Like Rahab, who welcomed the foreign spies and dropped the scarlet rope.

Truly, it does encourage the heart toward faithfulness when we see these ones so faithful. They remind the weary souls to "fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hands of the throne of God.”

So, faithful, faith-filling God, let us hold tight to the promises . . . and see Your face in the midst of it. 


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