I believe

“I realized that I was a person who believed God could bring life from death.”

Those words struck my heart when Russ Ramsey ended his story during the storytelling segment on Saturday night of Hutchmoot 2011.

Truth be told, when I walked into that sanctuary that night, I was beyond tired. I was mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually exhausted. I felt worn around the edges, frayed, and faded. Raw, like my heart had been run across a cheese grater, like my skin had been scrubbed raw and everything felt new, tingly, and slightly painful. Early that day, I’d stood beside one of my best friends as she got married. I’d spent much of the previous days helping her get ready for the wedding. I’d gone to as much Hutchmoot as possible. I had recently returned from a work retreat and had spent much of the weeks (more like a month) prior to that weekend working long hours and weekends to make sure deadlines were met and so that I wouldn’t feel guilty or stressed during my time off.

When Russ Ramsey spoke those words, they struck a chord in my heart, a chord to a song I didn’t even know I’d been singing. I remember turning toward my friend after he walked away from the podium, unshed tears sparkling in my eyes, and saying, “That was beautiful! It made me cry!” (I’m fairly certain she realized that by this point, with my emotions on edge, everything made me cry, but this phrase in particular wrecked me.)

“I realized that I was a person who believed God could bring life from death.”

There’s a quote from one of Frederick Buechner’s writings that says: “. . . pay attention to any of those moments in your life when unexpected tears come in your eyes. You never know when that may happen, what may trigger them. Very often I think if you pay attention to those moments, you realize that something deep beneath the surface of who you are, something deep beneath the surface of the world, is trying to speak to you about who you are.” I didn’t think of those words in that moment almost two weeks ago, but I do now. There was something there, something under the surface, something I needed to hear and acknowledge.

But that didn’t happen until yesterday. I had sat down to read Scripture and journal, and somehow, inexplicably in the middle of the prayer I was journaling I found myself writing these words: I believe You bring life from death. It wasn’t a plea or a question or me outlining my personal theology or outlining doctrine. It was a statement of faith, a moment of me actively choosing to believe God, to take Him at His word, to trust that indeed, He does bring life from death.

Even when I don’t really feel like that’s possible.

Because right now, there’s just a lot of brokenness in my life, a lot of places that feel dead. Questions without answers. Problems people are facing that I can’t fix. Deep desires that I have no assurance of ever seeing come to reality. Disappointment—with myself, with others, and if I’m absolutely, transparently honest, sometimes with God. I feel left out and forgotten in some areas, alone in a crowd. Lonely. Unlovely. Broken.

Dead.

But I have realized that I am a person who believes God can bring life from death. Light into darkness. Hope into despair. Contentment into discontent.

I believe. It’s an active, everyday choice, an exercise of faith.

I believe that God can bring life from death.

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