What Real Faith Looks Like
What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Jesus Christ my Lord. (Philippians 3:8 NIV)
At a prayer service for the husband of a dear friend, a large crowd sat in silence as his wife rolled his wheelchair into the chapel. We had known this man through the years as vibrant, strong, and energetic, a long-distance runner who lived the same way he ran—with his eyes on the future. But the man we greeted was weak, pale, bald—though never more handsome—and very much living in the moment. His recently diagnosed inoperable brain cancer had rapidly taken its toll. As I held a microphone for him, a tear rolled down his cheek while every ear strained to capture his failing voice:
“I want everyone to know that this is not about me. It’s about Jesus. There is nothing in your life more important than Him. I am in a win-win situation. If He chooses to heal me, great. Otherwise, I get to be with Him. I am more blessed than anyone I know.”
His words made me think of Paul’s writing, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). I also thought of Jesus being submitted to God’s will—“Yet not my will, but Yours be done” (Luke 22:42)—and saw that same humility in our friend.
His faith that day was the opposite of resignation and surrender. Instead of a cause for speculation or introspection, his faith was cause for gratitude and praise! He was grateful for the breath of life, grateful for precious time with loved ones, grateful for the gift of every hour that remained. Oh, to live each day like our faithful friend, not taking for granted this priceless gift we call “life!”
I believe Jesus Christ orchestrated that prayer service so He might speak to our faith-family about living life with an eternal focus, about gratitude, about what real faith looks like. I wonder if He’s speaking to you now?
God offers no guarantees about how life on this earth will end, only that it will. My friend’s faith grew stronger the weaker his body became, and challenged my own faith. Maybe he has challenged yours as well.
Forgive me for taking life for granted, for being consumed with things that are not eternally important. Teach me to number my days that I might live each day for You.