You have hope, faith, trust and you know without a doubt that “it’s” going to come to pass! The time comes and blammo! It’s here! What you prayed, waited and thanked God for has come to pass. Let the praise and celebration continue! You were thanking God before it happened on the day, right? We’ve already discussed Biblical faith, so we know that what we’ve asked for has already happened, even if we don’t see it yet. Maybe you didn’t start celebrating until it happened. That’s okay. There’s grace, mercy and no condemnation in Christ, so you’ll get none from me. We’re all on our own journey with God, and we grow in accordance to His timing.

It’s celebration time! God is good, He does what He says He’s going to do. If you’re like me, or the woman in Luke 15:8-10 who lost and then found that coin; you’re telling everybody! Your faith is flying high and you know, if you wanted to, you could tell that mountain to move, and it would, but people live up there, and you like people, so you check yourself.

Then the phone rings, you get a text, a huge dark cloud takes a sharp left, stops right over your head and just dumps on you. That business deal; they changed their mind, your aunt, with cancer; the test results were wrong and she’s not in remission. That hope just comes crashing down into bitter disappointment. It’s worse than that. You told a bunch of people! You’re a Christian and what are they going to say? You don’t even know what to say. You weren’t hoping in the thing. You know you weren’t. You read this series, and God opened your eyes. You know better.

I was in the middle of writing this part in this series when God gave me the chance to walk the walk.

I was given the grace to respond by telling more people about the success to come and share my faith and hope in God.

God’s timing is perfect. It’s usually not, however, in the time that we expect it to be. When we walk in His timing and allow Him to guide our paths, He does far more with our obedience than we could ever imagine. If you’re reading this then it’s because God brought you here. It’s not because of great SEO optimization or because this blog has hundreds or thousands of followers. That’s just the way this blog is, for now.

You’ve may have heard it said that, “everything happens for a reason.” I usually hear people say that when they have nothing else to say. I know that I’m guilty of having been that person at one time or another in my life. However, now, I know, that there is, indeed, a time for everything, and I am encouraged by this knowledge.

What about the “hope” and “faith” that appears to fail?

My best friend died, of cancer, in 2011. He didn’t have cancer when we first started meeting, journaling, praying and sharing life together. I will call him, “Joe.”

Joe and I had been going to the same church for several years. We church chatted often, but church chat is merely another means of small talk that goes nowhere, if we’re being honest. Joe married later in his life, he was forty-five, and needed counseling. Our pastor put us together.

After several months of meeting, I noticed that Joe had a bad cough. It was nothing to worry about, he assured me, he had been given antibiotics for it and had just finished the 10 day cycle.  I explained how antibiotics were supposed to work and suggested he go back to his doctor.

Joe called me first. The doctor told him that he had cancer. A non tobacco form of cancer in his lungs. It wasn’t a big deal for us. His wife, Nancy, didn’t take it quite so easily. She blamed him for the cancer. We started meeting more often, my wife, Joe, Nancy and I. A lot of healing took place in their marriage. It became stronger than it had previously been. All of us grew stronger as the cancer spread throughout Joe’s body.

Joe was a paragon of strength. In spite of the chemotherapy, the presence of cancer in his brain and his body, which was trying to fail him. He walked upright and bold. My dear friend, a true Man of God. In spite of the spread of the cancer, he and I never saw him as getting worse. We still met as we did before. He went to his first Men’s Retreat. He was getting better. He was healed and we knew it. We rejoiced and thanked God for his healing.

We were living like we had before the cancer, Joe and me. We even missed our first meeting in January of 2011, the new year. We usually would call and confirm, every week. We were like that, he and I. I thought nothing of it. He and Nancy probably went away to visit their new home up in Northern California for the weekend. It was a Tuesday, when I got the call. I thought it was Joe, and I was excited to hear about his New Year’s.

I was surprised, when I answered the phone, walking into the house, to hear my pastor’s voice. I expected to hear about the next day’s evening meeting, anything. Anything but, “I’m sorry Jason, Joe passed away this weekend.” That was when I first encountered the strength of my faith, as I almost collapsed onto the floor, catching myself on the love seat nearby, as my wife gasped, crying out, “are you okay?”

I told my pastor, that was impossible. God had healed Joe. He couldn’t be dead. And besides, after he had spent one night in the hospital, without telling me, I made him promise to call me if he had to go back to the hospital. That was months ago. He couldn’t be dead.

He was though, and he has been for the last eight years. I knew my faith that day. The strength of believing the impossible. The knowledge of hope and faith failing. No one understood my pain. My selfish pain. I held it close and tried to explain, but no one heard. I was assured that Joe was healed, and I had no doubt that he was healed. It was all about me.

Somehow, I didn’t have enough faith, because Joe died. I didn’t blame God. I blamed myself. As I continued in ministry, I pushed all that pain down, so far down. All of that grief. I was a Christian. I couldn’t be that way. God’s timing.

The church had seminars, meetings and visitations from other pastors. I attended meetings elsewhere. Apparently, leadership is hard. We experience so much pain, so much grief, that we bottle it up and one day, it breaks us, if we don’t let it out. I was fine. I was a rock.

Another friend died, others moved away, life went on. My youngest went on to college and my wife left with him. I was a rock until, one day, I shattered. I walked away from the church. I had no faith in people. People were hypocrites. Faith and hope, they fail. Why did we pray for people to be healed? They just died. Little Daisy, not even six, she died too. If Heaven was better, then why not pray for people to just die? Faith and hope, they failed me.

I couldn’t trust people anymore, but I stayed reading my Bible, praying and believing. Quite paradoxical, I think. Except that it was my faith, my hope that failed. It was me. Not God.

I got very sick in 2016 and despite being in pain all the time; I moved to Sacramento in 2018; where I believed that God was calling me. To be healed. To serve. To live. I was healed, and God explained to me, even though He didn’t have to, why Joe died so many years ago. If you’ve not been bored to tears by now, I’ll tell you, in the next part, why Joe died and how God’s timing is perfect.