Understanding Faith


Guest Post: Rachael Smith faith in the loss

This past week, my family received some unsettling news. It caused me to pause and remember a painful period of time that resulted in a deeper understanding of the Lord. It was not until my prayers went unanswered did I truly grasp what faith was.

It was the Spring of 2003.

My hubby and I had been married for 2 and a half years and everything was about to change. He had finished his undergrad but was unable to find work. We decided to move to Atlanta for him to further his education. We were super excited- I love a good adventure! We put our townhouse on the market and within a week it sold. That evening I called my parents to tell them the good news. They were happy for us, but my mom just didn’t sound quite right.

She had been feeling bad for a while. That night, after we spoke, my father called an ambulance to take her to the hospital. At first they thought it was a ruptured ulcer. When they took her into surgery, they discovered a mass the size of a football in her abdomen. It was cancer. Her body was so weak they put her in a drug induced coma for weeks.

Once she was awake, they told us that if they don’t do chemo, the cancer could kill her in a month. On the flip side, if they did chemo, it could kill her in a week. She was coherent, so she opted to try the chemo. She made it through the first two like a champ. The third, destroyed her body. She died 4 months exactly from the night of my phone call to her. She never left the hospital.


While she was in the hospital, I said to my dad, “How can we possibly move now?”

My dad told me, “You’re moving. Your mom would hate to be the cause of you not doing this.”

We agreed because, after all, we all had “faith” that she would recover. That she would be healed. And for a while it did seem like she was going to make it. The doctors were making a plan for her to go home and training my family on how to care for her.

Our prayers were being answered, and our faith rewarded.

But here’s the thing, not all prayers (wishes) are answered (granted). I wondered if that was because the people involved didn’t have “enough” faith? And if that was the way it worked, does that mean we can manipulate God to do what we want?

How dare us, mere humans, try to control The Lord of the Universe!

But there are many scriptures where Jesus heals people because of their faith:

“Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed at once.” Matthew 15:28

So I kept going to the scripture that actually defines what faith is, trying to figure this thing out.

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” Hebrews 11:1

The scriptures didn’t seem to help much either. I mean, I had “faith” that she would be healed, meaning that I “hoped” she would be healed. But that didn’t really jive with other scripture in the Bible. Sure, Joseph ended up doing great things, but good grief, he got royally screwed. And screwed. And then screwed some more. But he never gave up having faith. So maybe, just maybe, this faith thing has nothing (NOTHING) to do with my circumstances.

Maybe “faith” is not believing in something, but rather trusting in Someone.

There is another scripture where Jesus heals a cripple:

“Some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, ‘Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven’.” Matthew 9:2

Wait a minute! He didn’t heal him at first! The miracle was not in the healing. The miracle was forgiveness!! And that’s what made the religious leaders mad. And it was to show the leaders that he was the Son of God that he healed the man. That got me thinking more.

If there is a God (which I believe) and He sent His son to earth so that we could have a relationship with Him (which I believe) and I have been forgiven (which I needed) and the point of my life is to glorify this God (which I try), then that must mean that He would receive more glory from her dying, than if she lived.

Could she have been healed? Absolutely! But she wasn’t. If I’m going to claim to be a follower of Christ, that means I have to trust when things are good, and trust when things are bad. I have faith that God is who He says He is, and I believe that Jesus is His son. My faith is not in what God can do for me. My faith is that He is God, and I can trust Him.

I don’t know if The Lord will heal your dad, or get you a job, or allow you to have a child. But I do know that He is God. And that is enough.

Meet the Author:

Rachael Smith

I am a follower of Christ, wife of 15 years, mom to 3 children, and hopefully more through adoption. Currently I am trying out this homeschooling thing and hoping that I’m not ruining my children. Training for marathons and triathlons help me be a nicer person. Pretty much I’m trying to fit it all in and somehow stay sane through it all.
You can connect with Rachael on her website.
Rachael also shared  another post on Heartskeeper, I Am Done Running. Check it out!

3 thoughts on “Understanding Faith

  1. Rachael, this is a HUGE answer to prayer for me. You have captured so poignantly what I think I knew in my soul, but have struggled to articulate. We just went through a journey with some dear friends whose 3 year old was diagnosed with cancer out of the blue last August and recently lost his battle just last month. It was shocking and gut-wrenching, especially because they had turned that hospital room into a 24/7 prayer war room, with people flooding it night and day, praying and claiming healing over his body, in Jesus’ name. The whole while, I believed that God could and might heal Him – I had absolute faith in the powerful, good and gracious God we serve. But something within me felt like assuming little Noah would be healed if we had unwavering faith in claiming his healing wasn’t right. And here, you have expressed that feeling perfectly. “Faith isn’t believing in something, but rather trusting in Someone.” Because ultimately faith (hope) to me means trusting and believing that God is good, no matter what, and believing that He will restore all things and make all things work for our good if we follow Him. So I think we can cling to Him in faith, sharing the desires of our heart and soul, and proclaiming His goodness and His sovereignty regardless of the circumstances or outcomes we face. THANK YOU for allowing Him to speak through you.

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