We're linked to Inspire Me Monday.
We're also linked with Messy Marriage's Wedded Wednesday.
The fact of a limited life-horizon can change your spouse's faith, sometimes quite drastically...and it can be both puzzling and upsetting to you, the caregiver.
When you realize you're going to die in the finite future, and not in some misty other-decade, transcendent issues can become more sharply focused. It's no longer, "Am I saved?", and "Is the fragrance of my life pleasing to Christ?"...it's now, "Is all this real, and will I be around, in some form, after I pass beyond the wall?"
It's not an easy thing to face...that the faith you might have shared with your husband or wife now seems to be diverging. The epiphanies you may have shared in praise and worship might now stop with you, while your mate sits beside you, with a quizzical look.
First, don't panic. Yes, I'm using that word deliberately. Shaken faith can be contagious, but in this case you know why the faith has been shaken. It's not aa theological exaamination of "why does a good God allow evil?"
It's personal, and it's fear-driven. And, as such...and please forgive me for putting it this was...it's irrational.
Looking into the night, when you've got that malignancy inside you, and suddenly being afraid that the dark is all there is is exactly like the fear experienced by a child when the lights go out, and are there monsters under my bed?
The child knows that there are only dust-bunnies, and our foundation of faith is not, and should not be, dependent on circumstance.
So don't panic. Stand fast in your faith.
Second, don't preach. Listen, and when you're asked questions (and you will be asked, because the dying want above all to be reassured) be ready with substantive answers.
Don't quote Scripture, chapter and verse. Scriptural tags are always simply a spur to faith, and not a basis.
Tell the stories instead. Illuminate the wisdom of the Psalmist, and the shrewd, loving compassion of Jesus. Make it relevant; Make it both human and holy.
How? Describe the stuff that makes sense...the washing of the feet, for instance, and the model of the Saviour as servant. We complain about stinky feet wrapped in shoes all day. back then, street guttering...if it existed...was an open sewer, and the animals used as beasts of burden left their mark, so to speak, along every thoroughfare.
Not a cool place to walk in sandals.
And not something you...or I...would want to clean.
That doesn't have anything to do with death and life thereafter, but what it does speak to is how much sense Christianity makes. It's not some nasty ritual before a bloodstained idol. It's a common-sense approach to divinity.
Third, of you mate disagrees or closes down, let it go for the moment. There will probably be other opportunities. Jut don't push, because pushing creates resistance.
On a personal note...what has worked for me, as a way of sustaining my faith, is logic. In no particular order, here are the high points:
- Jesus definitely lived. He's mentioned not only in Scripture, but in independent historical accounts whose veracity is not in question. We also know that Herod the Great and Pontius Pilate were real, and recent evidence points to a real Caiaphas.
- The local traditions built around the places where Gospel events took place go back nearly to the time of Jesus. They are not a much-later accretion.
- The Apostles were intelligent men, and were willing to risk death for their creed. I have to believe that people were not so fundamentally different then; it would take a lot of faith that what one is saying is real to be willing to die for the principles of a dead Jesus. It's indirect evidence that the Resurrection really happened, and that it cemented their faith.
I don't need the emotion of faith and worship, or modern-day miracle-workers. The evidence points to the happening of something quite extraordinary, two thousand years ago, something that changed the world...and the most logical explanation is the Scriptural one. Mass delusion simply does not make sense.