Faith | Mark’s Remarks

marksI’ve told you before about my daughter being a brain cancer survivor. She had the cancer as an infant and is now a healthy, normal little girl. Other than periodic tests to make sure things are OK, she rarely deals with anything regarding her cancer.

Usually, this attention hog likes to tell stories to entertain and gain attention. However, my daughter’s story is one I like to tell for other reasons; one of those being the message of hope it gives. I also like to tell it because it is clear evidence of the healing power of God.

I was browsing through some messages the other day. We have saved many messages, cards, and notes from folks who wanted to encourage us during my daughter’s illness. They are treasured.

One of the messages came to us after we learned my daughter was cancer-free. She had gone through two operations and many months of chemotherapy, including several preventative rounds after the cancer had disappeared. There were many reasons to celebrate. This particular message congratulated us and talked about how our family had inspired others. The last part of the message talked about our “deep faith.”

Ever since reading that message, I’ve been thinking about faith. I know what I believe and
I know how I would define that word. But I started thinking about what everyone else thought of the word faith.

When you google the word faith, the definition from the Bible pops up immediately. “Faith is a fruit of the reborn spirit.” This is from the book of Galatians. In John 14, it says “your faith has the potential to produce the same results that Jesus produced in His earthly
ministry.” One of the most powerful passages I found is from Hebrews in which it says “without faith, it is impossible to please God.” So, you see, our relationship with God is dependent on faith.

Many times, I feel inadequate when I’m talking about my Christianity. I’m not a very good example. People have seen me act ugly and very “un-Christian.” Who do I think I am, preaching to others? Often, this mentality causes me to lose opportunities to share with people. It causes me to stay silent.

Deep faith. The lady wrote about it and congratulated our family for having “deep faith.” Many times since we received that letter, we have been told “I couldn’t have gone through that” or “I don’t know how you did it.” Still others have asked that powerful question “How DID you do it?”

Yes, it was faith. OK. So what is that really? I mean, how would you describe faith? How would you explain it? Simply put, our faith was the knowledge that God was in control. Neither Michelle nor I could take away my daughter’s cancer. We could not go to the medicine cabinet and find a remedy or place a bandage on it as if it were a scraped knee.

Nope. The only thing we could do was pray and rely on God. We knew, deep down to the bottom of our soul, that everything God promises in the Bible is absolute and true. We knew what He’d said about taking care of us. We knew that He’d said to cast our burdens on Him.

That’s faith.

So, what about people who do all that and still lose loved ones? What about people who have deep faith, who also believe down to the bottom of their souls? What happens when God takes their loved one away? What if things don’t turn out the way our own story did? Mark, would you still have faith if your daughter was taken?

I think I would. Faith is a choice. You decide to choose it or reject it. I can’t begin to understand what the loss of a child or spouse is like. We were afraid, at one time, that it might happen; but we had a happy ending to the story.

Watching others, I can tell you I know that grief is exhausting and awful. There are people who think they will never be able to be positive or happy again. Smiling and laughing are out of the question.

But here’s my question: what if you had nothing at all? What if you just had grief? What if you lost people and had tragedy in your life and that was just it? I’d encourage anyone to do some research and read up on the word faith. I hope your study takes you ultimately to the Bible and all it says about faith.

Although having faith and indeed, keeping faith, is sometimes a struggle (trust me, we went through the struggle to hold on), I can’t imagine life without it. To live without faith would simply be pointless, in my opinion.

God can not only heal sickness, He can heal broken hearts.

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Mark Tullis

Mark is a 25-year veteran teacher teaching in Columbia. Originally from Fairfield, Mark is married with four children. He enjoys reading, writing, and spending time with his family, and has been involved in various aspects of professional and community theater for many years and enjoys appearing in local productions. Mark has also written a "slice of life" style column for the Republic-Times since 2007.
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