I was eleven weeks pregnant when the bleeding started.
Not again, I prayed.
Not a fourth miscarriage.
For the next several months, my husband and I were in and out of emergency rooms and doctor’s offices as they tried to explain the complications threatening to end my pregnancy.
Each time, as a new wave of unwelcome fear washed over me, I would try again to muster up faith in God’s sovereignty.
I told myself the things I knew to be true:
God is good.
God cares for me.
God cares for this baby.
Despite the fact that I really did believe these things, I could feel a disconnect happening somewhere deep inside of me.
It’s as though my head was saying, “just have a little more faith” while my heart screamed, “WHY is this happening? Again?”
I was frustrated because my husband and I had already navigated three previous miscarriages—we knew what it was to experience God’s great faithfulness even in the midst of great loss.
So why was I feeling this sudden explosion of skepticism?Does authentic faith have the ability to co-exist with uncertainty and pain?Click To Tweet
Trying to reconcile the ever-widening gap between my faith and my feelings became a daily chore for me.
I wasn’t sure what faith was supposed to look like on days I laid staring at an ultrasound screen wondering if I’d see the pulsing of my baby’s heartbeat or not.
I began to ask myself:
Does authentic faith have the ability to co-exist with uncertainty and pain?
I don’t know about you, but I’m the kind of person who likes quick, clear-cut answers.
Give me a good step-by-step book or how-to blog and I’m one happy lady.
So, it’s no surprise I was hoping God would simply answer me with a quick “do this, this, and that.”
God isn’t always the quick fix God we want Him to be.
He does things the right way, at the right time, and if I’m being honest—the process is often a lot slower than I’d like.
While on doctor-ordered bed rest, I turned to Scripture.
The story of a little boy in need of healing grabbed my attention.
The gospels of both Matthew and Mark tell about this little boy. He’d been possessed by a demon and the boy’s father went to Jesus to beg for a miracle.
In the moments that followed, Jesus addressed the issue of faith.God isn’t always the quick fix God we want Him to be. He does things the right way, at the right time. Click To Tweet
I learned two lessons from this story that completely re-shaped my view of faith:
1. Small Faith is Still Faith
“…a man approached Jesus and knelt before him. “Lord, have mercy on my son,” he said. “He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him.”
Matthew 17: 14-15
The good news is that Jesus heals the boy, but the disciples were troubled because they had been unable to cast out the demon themselves. So, they asked Jesus about it and he responded:
“Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you. “ Matthew 17:20
Have you ever seen a mustard seed?
It’s tiny. Miniscule.
Jesus’ response to the disciples taught me that small faith, even when it feels like it’s too weak to make any kind of impact—is still faith.
Somewhere along the way, I’d adopted a warped theology that said the only kind of faith God approved of was mature faith.
But I began to realize God has grace for us when we are stepping out in faith, and He doesn’t despise our need to be taught or developed.
Just as a child takes his first steps—a little unsteady at first but eventually gaining confidence—we too must recognize that faith is a gradual growth.
And like a good father, God is cheering and encouraging us—even in the small first steps of our faith.
2. Jesus Helps Us Overcome our Lack of Faith
Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?” “From childhood,” he answered. “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
I love the father’s genuine response to Jesus.
He didn’t even try to pretend he had it all together.
He acknowledged the struggle he was facing as both belief and unbelief were present inside of him.
Rather than being discouraged by his lack of faith, he immediately begged Jesus to help him overcome it!
That very day I began to pray for God to meet me in my unbelief and to replace it with deep-rooted faith.
And guess what?
Not much changed. Not on the outside, anyway.
I was still going to doctor’s offices. I was still sitting in ultrasound rooms anxious about what I would or wouldn’t see on the screen.
But here’s what did change: The depth of my faith.
I was no longer wavering back and forth in what I believed.
I’d finally landed in a place where I could say:
Even if this pregnancy ends in another miscarriage, I will still trust you, God. I will trust you with my grief and my pain and my questions. You are good no matter what.
We Can Still Have Faith in Uncertainty, Grief, and Unknowns
Our son arrived, full-term and perfectly healthy, nearly 11 years ago.
We are now blessed with four kids: three boys and one little girl.
After all of this, the doctors never figured out why I was having so many complications.
Sitting on this side of our journey, and recalling how these experiences drove me to my knees, I can honestly say I’d do it all over again.
Getting to know the extent of God’s faithfulness has been one of the greatest privileges of my life.
I don’t know your story or where you are in your faith journey, but none of us will walk through this life unscathed.
There will be times when we have small faith and big doubt swirling around inside of us.
On those tough days, when life leaves you feeling a little too raw, I pray you will be reminded:
You can hurt but still have faith.
You can grieve but still have faith.
You can be uncertain, walk through unknowns, and experience fear—but my friend, you can still have faith!
You may not like all the things God is currently using to refine you, or, like me, you may wish loss didn’t have such a starring role in your story. I get it.Getting to know the extent of God’s faithfulness has been one of the greatest privileges of my life.Click To Tweet
Some of you are facing situations that have left you feeling broken, disappointed and disillusioned.
I understand those feelings all too well and I would never want to glaze over your hurt.
Yet the Bible tells us that as Christians, loss ultimately gives way to growth (James 1:2-3).
It sounds backward, I know.
But what if the presence of pain has the ability to push you into a deeper, more authentic faith in God?
Friend, no matter what you are facing today, I pray you would be brave enough to invite God into your fear and into your doubts.
He really can use these hard things, every single one of them, for your growth and to His great glory.
– Elita Friesen
Elita Friesen is a proud Texan living in Canada with her husband, Ryan, and their four wild but wonderful young kids.
She uses her little corner of the internet to encourage other women in their faith and to document her and her husband’s home renovations, which currently have over half a million pins on Pinterest.
Elita is passionate about the women of her generation becoming biblically literate and she strives to make God’s word accessible, understandable, and relatable. You can find her on her website at elitafriesen.com and on Instagram @elitafriesen.