An Unusual Form of Freedom—Life Application for September 4, 2016

August 28, 2016 No Comments »
An Unusual Form of Freedom—Life Application for September 4, 2016

By David Faust

faustShe looked serene as she walked into my office. She had requested an appointment without specifying what she wanted to discuss. Though our paths had crossed at church, I didn’t know her well, and my ministerial instincts told me to brace myself to hear a challenging question or a complaint about something happening in our congregation.

“I’m 81 years old,” she began, “and I want to let you know a little about my story.” Any anxiety I felt melted away. Her smile and peaceful demeanor put me at ease.

The Picture of Health

Getting right to the point, she said, “I have cancer and I have been under hospice care for the last nine months.”

Surprised, I blurted out, “But you look like the picture of health.”

She nodded and smiled. “So far I have surprised the doctors and I’m doing very well. Caregivers come to my house each week, but I don’t need much from them. We mostly just sit and talk.” 

She seems sincere, I thought, but is she in denial?

“I want to talk with you about who will lead my funeral,” she continued. “My health is holding up for now, but the cancer eventually will end things. In the meantime, I choose to enjoy my life.”

We talked about how her faith in Christ affects the way she handles her illness. With great earnestness she said, “Actually this has been one of the best seasons of my entire life. Once you finally accept that you are going to die, you are free.”

She’s not in denial, I realized. She’s demonstrating a profound kind of acceptance.

The Byproduct of Faith

What makes a person resilient and steadfast in the presence of crushing sorrows? Is it logical to respond to bad news with good cheer? If in the world to come “the wolf will live with the lamb” and “the cow will feed with the bear” (Isaiah 11:6, 7), is it possible in this world to come to terms with our deepest fears?

Faith has many faces. You see it in the wide-eyed wonder of a child in Sunday school who hears about Jesus’ miracles for the very first time.

You see faith on the face of a new believer who stands in the baptistery and confesses, “I believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

You can see faith in idealistic teenagers who want to change the world and in seasoned believers who trust God even though they’ve come to recognize how little of the world they can change.

You can see faith on the faces of a bride and groom who pledge their love for unknown years of better and worse, sickness and health, richer and poorer—years they cannot fathom but dare to approach hand in hand.

You can see faith in the wrinkled brow of deep thinkers whose souls bear the scars of intellectual questions and emotional wounds, yet they cling to the cross and the empty tomb because with Simon Peter they ask, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68).

I saw faith the other day in my office. It resides on the face of an 81-year-old woman who is not afraid to die and as a result is free to live.

David Faust serves as the Associate Minister at East 91st Street Christian Church in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Based on International Sunday School Lesson, © 2012, by the Lesson Committee. Scripture quotations are from the New International Version ©2011, unless otherwise indicated.

For evaluation questions that coordinate with today’s article, go to Evaluation Questions in our Bible Study Tools menu.

Daily Readings

Aug. 29


1 Kings 3:3-9

God’s Offer to Solomon

Aug. 30


1 Kings 3:10-15

God Pleased with Solomon’s Requests

Aug. 31


1 Peter 3:8-13

Live Together in Harmony

Sept. 1


2 Peter 1:3-11

Build a Peaceful Lifestyle

Sept. 2


Philippians 2:1-11

Support the Interests of Others

Sept. 3


Psalm 72:1-7

Build a Just and Righteous Community

Sept. 4


Isaiah 11:1-9

Presiding Over a Peaceful Community

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