Friday, October 30, 2020
By Rev. Dr. Dave deFreese

Reverend Dave deFreese has been writing devotions for the Mosaic staff during the pandemic. We would like to share a recent devotion with you in hopes of bringing you encouragement.

“Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things ... and the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:8-9

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.” John 1:5

“It’s just getting harder. I am wearing down.” That is what you shared this morning in a phone conversation. I heard with clarity your weariness; that the stiff upper lip is loosening, the veneer of forced positivity is thinner, the day to day pounding is taking its toll.

First of all, thank you. Thank you for sharing; for your willingness to be vulnerable and honest. I hope you felt accepted, valued, and set free from needing to pretend. The words and emotions that poured out were real and needed to be spoken. As the recipient, please know how honored I felt to be trusted.

You said it “feels like everything is coming apart.” Your work responsibilities, while you love them, have become more burdensome. With your family, while you appreciate the extra time, the togetherness can be too much, “way too much!” Misery over 200,000 deaths by COVID-19. The Breonna Taylor tragedy in Kentucky and the resulting violence have broken your heart once again. The nasty political rhetoric is over the top and just sows seeds of distrust and distress.

Then you asked “Where is God in all this?” As soon as that was stated, you apologized for your doubts. Please don’t apologize for doubting. You wanted me to know you believe, but that you have questions. You worried your faith was not strong enough. I applaud your questions. Doubt is not the opposite of faith, but the development of faith. Tolstoy once suggested that certain questions are put to humanity not so much that we should answer them, but that we should spend a lifetime wrestling with them.

The German poet Rainer Rilke wrote, “Be patient towards all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves...then gradually you will live into the answers.”

In my experience, faith in God, despite doubts, is far stronger than one without doubts. Doubts move you forward not backward, just as long as you doubt out of love of the truth. As Emily Dickinson wrote, “The unknown is the mind’s greatest need, and for it no one thinks to thank God.”

Life has taught me that the more important question is not who believes in God, but in whom does God believe. Rather than claim God for our side, it is better to wonder whether we are on God’s side. Faith is being grasped by the power of love.

So, I will repeat my encouragement to you: put yourself in the way of beauty. During these heavy days, marvel at magnificent sunrises and sunsets; wonder at the gift of soul-stirring music; giggle at the enchantment of a child’s laughter. Look around and see God’s handiwork in the faces of those you love.

While so much is still a mystery to me, I find my questions quieted in the life of Jesus and the beauty of his way of living. In the tarnished and raw journey of life, he offered a fresh way. A way with joy that could absorb all sorrow, hope that could surmount despair, and teaching that caring is the greatest gift in life. Love and grace embodied.

So, I urge you to go with God and “love the questions and live into the answers.”


Let us pray: Almighty God, it seems that we are surrounded with pain and sorrow these days. Lift our eyes to your love and give us the peace that passes all human understanding. Capture our hearts with your goodness and grant us gratitude for the living of our days. We pray this trusting in your grace. Amen.