Jason C. Stanley

ponderings of a dad walking humbly & seeking justice

Tangled

My father never really talked about his faith.  He was a former U. S. Air Force guy who was stationed in Thailand during Vietnam.  His faith was something that was seen not spoken.  But one night in a hospital room while he was battling prostate cancer, he and I had a faith discussion.  It was my turn to stay overnight at the hospital with him, something I was very much willing to escape from if I could.  You see, I was tangled up.

I was tangled up in bitterness towards the cancer, and kind of towards God too; tangled up in fears of a future without my father, tangled up in uncertainties of what that future would look like.  I was tangled up in doubts of my faith, my father’s faith, and doubts in my prayers and the prayers of the people at church.  But this one night in the hospital, with the only background music being the consistent beeps of the various monitors, my father started a faith conversation.  During that conversation, he lifted his hands as high as he could, which wasn’t very high, and said, “It’s in God’s hands now.”

It was almost as if he knew that I doubted; that I was struggling with my faith in the midst of all this.  On the heels of that conversation, I began to slowly be untangled as I began to see that my vision was cloudy because my mind was occupied on the bitterness, the doubts, and the fears.  I began to see that the more I struggled, the more I got tangled up, like quicksand.  The struggling sucks you farther and farther down in the dark pit, rather than upwards toward safety and comfort.

No matter what you’re going through, Christ is walking with you.  In the midst of your hopelessness, in the midst of your anxiety and uncertainties, in the  midst of your fears and doubts, Christ is there ready to untangle you.

7 Comments

  1. Laryn B. Abshire

    July 28, 2011 at 4:05 am

    I just had a good cry over this post. Amazing and very inspirational! I just did a group today at the inpatient mental health hospital I am interning at and we talked about some of the same things :). Thank you for sharing this! God is Good all the time!

  2. So great to hear this story. I think about him daily and miss him so much.

  3. Wow! – A very compelling piece. I love the metaphor of being tangled and see it every day here at the clinic. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Morgan Guyton

    July 29, 2011 at 8:59 pm

    Thanks for sharing this brother!

  5. Brenda Atkins

    July 15, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    I had a very similar experience with my dad a week before he passed away as the result of liver and lung cancer. I happened to be teaming on a Walk to Emmaus and the experience fit nicely into my talk! There is really nothing like spending time with someone who knows they are in their last days. I have had the privilege of being there for several people since my dad. I have noticed that those tangling thoughts and emotions have a way of trying to creep in and that you have to, consciously and often, remind yourself that you never walk alone. 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

  6. Beautiful. Thank you, Jason

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