Friday, August 2, 2013

Faith and Bad Times

A friend of mine is facing surgery. Needless-to-say, she is fearful of not only the surgery, but also of a long recovery period.  She expressed these fears on Facebook, I'm sure so all who love her will whisper prayers on her behalf.  Another of our high school classmates responded, "Where's your faith?"  I'd like to slap him to kingdom come for that remark.  Why?  Because bad times come even in good faith, and his remark was callus and unthinking.  I've already written about how hard faith is.  See "Faith, the Really Hard Part" at

Well, my dear friend, I'm sure I am not the only one who heard your unspoken plea for prayer.  I've asked the good Lord for the success of your surgery, a fast recovery and a calming of your fear.  I urge all my readers to do so, also.

Why do I want to rebuke the minister who so rudely accused her of a lack of faith?  Because he doesn't understand how hard faith really is.  He is just chanting words without tuning in to real world experience.

In the early seventies, my Mother called to say she was to have a biopsy due to a lump on her breast.  She assured me that it was just a routine test to rule out a worse case scenario.  I was between semesters at school, so decided to drive myself across two-plus states to be with her for emotional support.  When I went into her room prior to the sedative, she once again assured me the doctor was confident it would be benign.  The woman in the next bed gave a quick head shake to the negative. 

I sat and read and did needlework for the duration, like I didn't have a care in the world.  There was a page for Mom's family at the end of the surgery.  I should have heeded that woman's head shake.  Mother's doctor, a man with the worst of bedside manner, spewed out that the tumor was malignant, it was the rapidly growing kind, the worst, and she had had a modified radical mastectomy.  She would have to undergo several cobalt treatments as well as chemotherapy.  He hadn't bothered to say it in person, which I now suspect may be a Hollywood myth.

My Mother's faith had been like the naivete of a child and yet the news was very bad.  She never talked about how it might have shaken her unending faith and I didn't think to ask.

Certainly, had she had a healthy amount of fear, she could have conveyed some of it to me.  I would have had someone -- my husband -- accompany me for moral support for me.  Instead, the combination of faith, denial and bad manners from the doctor, left me light headed and unsure of my footing -- literally.  And I had to stand to answer the phone.

It all turned out well.  Mother was healed and remained cancer free for many years.  At that time, she had a second mastectomy, but survived that one as well.  She lived for many more years after, and it was not cancer that killed her in the end. 

I've carefully worded my prayer, as I have learned over the years that it is necessary to be specific with our God. I, too, expressed fear before my eye surgery.  Friends and family prayed.  The day of the surgery, I was so relaxed and confident that I know group prayer was in effect.  I didn't think to be fearful the surgery wouldn't work.  The doctor was touted as the best in the area.  How many people thought to pray for his success?  Not only did the macular hole not get fixed, but the surgery caused a retinal tear, a cataract and a hanging mobile and veil of veins through which I have looked for almost seven years.  But my faith was strong like my Mother's and things still went wrong.

So, remember to pray specific prayers, keep your faith strong, maintain a hold on reality and accept that, "Though you may have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again . . .".  Psalm 71:20 

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