This Kind of Faith

This week I’ve talked with two friends whose stories rock me to the core.

Sadie 2    These friends of mine, Amber and Lyn, have not had an easy road. Lyn’s beautiful fifteen-year-old, Bethany, died two years ago of an aggressive brain cancer, and Amber’s sweet Sadie was just seventeen months old when leukemia ended her life last December.

The thought of losing one of my children, just brushing the bare edge of the thought, leaves me weak-kneed.

How do you keep doing life after watching your child lose the ability to walk and talk and even eat? How do you push past the nightmare that continues when you open your eyes in the morning and realize that your baby really is gone?

I would be destroyed.

And both of my friends have been. But in their destruction, something beautiful has grown out of the ruins.

    There is joy, deep and wide, overflowing.

I can’t talk with Amber for more than a minute or two without laughing. Grief still colors her days, and tears are never far from the surface, but laughter bubbles up through her pain, and her strength humbles me.

And Lyn, she’s a beautiful soul. I don’t know any other way to put it. The fragrance of Christ hangs heavy around this woman, mercy pouring out like living water from a deep internal well.

Thousands upon thousands of people prayed, begged God desperately, pounded the doors of Heaven with these families. And they certainly didn’t lack faith.

So why didn’t God heal Sadie and Bethany?

Amber and Lyn would tell you that he did.

They have a faith that is bigger than their heartache.

A faith that doesn’t limit God’s ability to redeem nightmares. A faith that recognizes that the healing that comes on the other side of Eternity’s door is more complete than anything that could happen here.

A faith rooted firmly in the One who heals, not in the healing itself.

In their pain, my friends and their families have pushed hard into God rather than pushing him away. They live with an awareness of Heaven that only comes with having part of your heart alive and well there. They see aspects of God’s character that can only be discovered through the lens of suffering.

Like a prism, suffering takes the way we look at life and breaks it apart, scattering it and exposing beauty we never knew was there.

    It hurts. Oh, it hurts.

But the rich joy that comes with the kind of heartache-forged faith Lyn and Amber have spills over in a flood that heals. Not just their broken hearts, but the wounded places in the people around them.

And not just a few people, but thousands who have watched them journey through the valley of the shadow.

The healing flood rolls on, a tide of tears and hard questions and honest hope, yanking us loose from our moorings and taking us deeper into the heart of God.

BethanyFaith can’t stay shallow in a world where kids die and there are no guaranteed tomorrows.

The kind of faith these women have doesn’t tolerate flippant Sunday school answers. It’s raw and real and allows room to admit that they struggle. They have wept themselves dry and then wept some more. They have pounded angry fists against God’s chest.

    And they have been quieted by his love. His love for them, for their families, for the children waiting in his arms on the other side.

They know he is good, because they’ve seen it. He is bringing beauty from the ashes of broken hearts and stolen dreams, and that beauty is spilling over into the lives of countless others.

When Bethany was nearing the end of her journey here, she told her parents that what she wanted most was for her story to bring glory to God.

It is, Bethany. It certainly is.

“To all who mourn in Israel,
he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
a joyous blessing instead of mourning,
festive praise instead of despair.
In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks
that the LORD has planted for his own glory.”

Isaiah 61:3 (NLT)

To learn more about how the legacies of Sadie Davis and Bethany Wake are continuing to spread beautiful healing, please visit:
     Sadie’s Story:

     A legacy inspired by Bethany Wake:

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