Sunday, November 8, 2009

Gotta Have Faith

Last night, Julia was telling the creation story. "First there was nothing. Then God made the world, and all the people, and all the buildings, and all the stuff," she said. It took me until freshman year in college to grasp that concept: nothing, then God, then stuff.

Even when I did start to develop faith, I had to reconcile all of the cynical questions of science and modern life. There was the theory of nothing, then big bang, then stuff. Surely that wasn't any easier to believe in than God. I worried even after becoming a regular fixture at church that there wasn't hope for me, the verse about receiving the kingdom of God "as a little child" seemed as though it was too late for a brain filled questions.

But I have spent a lot of time with people who grew up in the church. And though their faith has been constant throughout their lives, they still have questions. Questions don't preclude you from going to church or ruin your faith. Questions aren't a good enough excuse to keep you from religion.

My faith endured another big test when Julia was about eighteen-months-old. I started praying nightly when I was about twelve. Mostly for strength and other benign concepts. There was no way to tell if my prayers were being answered or not, you see. Then Julia wasn't talking and I began to pray every night, very specifically, for her to say something. I just wanted one word because it was time.

One day, she said "hi" and I thought it would all be okay. She was just a late talker and she would say hi and momma and soon talk about everything. She didn't. It was a whole lot more complicated.

I was quite angry about all the time I spent praying for her to talk. Why didn't God tell me it was okay to take her to a speech therapist right from the start? Why didn't I know to have her hearing checked when she was two rather than three? It would have made such a difference. What was the point of all the praying?

That kept me from true faith for another two years.

Last night, when my daughter was telling that story (she insists she made up), I realized that something has really changed in me. It's not a "crutch for the weak minded" or any of the other bad things people say for publicity. It's a truly wonderful support system. It is faith. Faith in spite of disappointment, in spite of questions. Real faith that the path might not be what I would prefer, but I'm going to end up where I'm supposed to be.

Why didn't He just tell me that in the beginning?