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Faith and the Feeling of Being Powerless

October 15, 2016



The feeling of being powerless is humbling and crippling. Recently we found out that my “Mum” was having quadruple bypass surgery. A standard operation that many physicians perform weekly. The surgeon who was going to do the surgery was doing between 10 and 12 of these each month and was extremely competent in his field, way more competent than I would be. The “simple” idea of taking arteries out of her leg and using them as detours for my Mum’s blood sounded pretty straight forward. As stated before, people have this operation all the time, its basically routine in this day and age. One issue was that my two sister and I found out about this over Skype, because my parents live in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. Visiting Bolivia from Grand Rapids, Michigan is quite the journey, one we couldn’t make. My wife and I made that trip a couple of years ago, including a 12 hour layover in Panama City. Traveling to Bolivia was unfortunately out of the question, if only because of time. It was not like I could jump in my car and drive a couple of hours to be with her and my Dad. If she was anywhere in the US, I could have made arrangements to drive there and be with them. I don’t have any ideas of grandeur that my presence would remove any of the worry and concern that my parents had. My thoughts were solely selfish really, the desire to be with my “mum” if maybe for the last time. (spoiler alert she is doing fine.). There is something that goes off in my mind, and I might be the only one plagued with this, and that is I consider the worst scenario and act it out in my mind. I worry, I was scared and above all I was powerless. This was not really something new about my reality because really everyone is powerless when it comes to my Mum. She is her own woman and stubborn, but this situation heightened sense of the reality that I am powerless. I don’t mean this is some super theological manner that God is the Master of Puppets (cue Metallica playing in your mind), which I complete deny to be reality, but more in a sense that we have no control over what really happens around us. We live life with chaos all around us and we are constantly hoping and trusting for the best.
I love Jeff Purcey’s statement that he comes to church because he has Faith, his daughter. We joke about the double meaning, but his statement really is quite deep. Faith, not the young lady, is “being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” — Hebrews 11:1. In the midst of feeling powerless, I still had faith, faith in the divine tapestry that God and I have been weaving, faith that God is with my Mum, faith that ultimately no matter what that when God leads the recreation of everything that not only will Mum’s ticker be restored, but that her and I would be reunited. Trust me, if I was going to have to wait till the recreation of all things to see my Mum again, God and I would have had choice words and a long talk about it, but my faith was in Him.
Returning to Jeff’s Faith. I have faith in God, what that means and looks like is being exposed and re-written each day as my journey in life continues. But Jeff comes to church also because of Faith, because of family, because of her desire to come to church. Church, the First Congregational Church of Belding, the community that I choose to participate in and wrestle with and enjoy is the same community that prayed for my Mum and who despite only meeting her 3 or 4 times had genuine concern for her and my family. Jeff comes because of his faith in God, whatever that looks like in his life, but also because he loves his daughter who wants to be part of a caring, loving community that is part of learning to love God and others. While at times we feel powerless, may we have faith in the one who has the power to ultimately make all things new.

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