I wonder sometimes if faith is still faith when you feel like you don’t have much faith left.
Sometimes the enormity of having a slow-growing tumor in my brain overtakes me. It seems simultaneously impossible and terrifying. Those moments seem to come at very random times and pack varying wallops. Sometimes they pass through my mind while walking down a street or looking out the window. I’ll be surprised. Oh yeah, I have a brain tumor. Damn. And then, because I tend to be psychotically analytical, a stream of data will pour through my mind – data I’ve collected about “survival rates” and “long-term prognosis” that aren’t all that useful to have in my head. It isn’t that the data is horrible – many, many have it far, far worse and there is real hope that I am going to be around for a long time – but when those numbers get attached to my life they seem pretty horrible. Attaching any number of years to your life when you are less than 40 – unless, perhaps, those numbers are combined digits like 5 and 0 – and thinking that that might be the total number of your days isn’t soothing.
But most of those times the thoughts are fleeting and seem pretty distant. I feel alive and have faith and press on.
There are other times, however, when those thoughts linger and I can’t seem to shake them. Like now, when it is the middle of the night and I know that I should be sleeping. At moments like these – that have clung to me for the last day – everything ahead seems very dark indeed. My hope feels far sicker than I do and my faith seems to be off sitting on some beach somewhere. At moments like these, even knowing the promises that lie in the Bible sitting, unopened, next to me, things feel scary and frightful and I feel very small – a real accomplishment for someone nearly 6′ 6″ – and very alone.
I hate writing these words. I hate it because I know that sometime very soon – probably tomorrow when I wake up, I will read them and realize that I wasn’t alone, realize that God is near, realize that his angels are present. My hope will have returned, my faith too. And I will look back at the words and be angry with myself and feel like I should have been stronger. But if this blog is to be honest to its title and to my own vision for it then I have to write not just about the stuff that is controversial and gets other people chattering and not just about the times when my walk with Jesus seems free and easy but about times when the darkness feels most real. Because even in the greatest darkness Jesus is here…beyond my faith.