• Marnie Hammar

How God Keeps Close Even When Our Faith Lags

By Courtney Laps

Hear Him Louder Essay Series: Courtney's Story


“Your father’s been in a motorcycle accident and is on his way to the hospital.”


These words, from my aunt that Wednesday night in 2014, made time stand still. All I could muster was, “What?” I’m thinking, he’s my dad. Dads are our heroes. He’ll be fine, right?


In the five days that followed, showers were few, prayers were continuous, and tears flowed often. After five days of fighting, the doctor told us my father’s brain injury was too significant. They had done all they could and needed us to make a decision. We knew it was time to say good-bye.


My faith wavered. I was questioning God. I tried to understand this terrible outcome. How could this be good?

It was in the middle of those doubts that God showed me He was still present.


I’m finding that it’s in hard times like this that God shows His love and presence in unexpected ways.


Sometimes it’s very clear, like an answered prayer the moment you say, “Amen,” and other times it’s quieter, like a whisper in the breeze. During these weeks with my dad, He did both.


Whispers of God through Others


That following morning, we had a new nurse. For anyone who has spent any time in the hospital, you know that sometimes, adjusting to a new nurse can be uncomfortable, especially given the difficult conversation we needed to have. This nurse hadn’t been walking this battle with us for the past five days. We didn’t know if she might disagree with our decision or be judgmental? Honestly, we just didn’t want someone new.


But this new nurse was none of those things. She was kind, respectful, understanding, and caring. She brought a peace with her that filled the room. She was there as an avenue for God to show me His abounding love. She was that whisper in the breeze that God used to speak into my life and grief. She shared that she was a preachers’ daughter and offered to pray and sing for us. She was a blessing in our last moments with my dad, and how she ministered to my family reopened my eyes and heart to God. She was the physical presence of faith that my family needed to say good-bye to my earthly father, and to trust my heavenly Father.


The moment my dad passed, surrounded by my mom, sister and myself, there was a beam of sunlight shining through the clouds, into our room. In that moment, I felt God whisper, “Everything is going to be alright.”

We quietly left the hospital that day and went to sit on the beach to listen to the waves. Life as we knew it was forever changed. I don’t remember that nurses’ name, but she was sent to us on that miserable day to be a light in our darkness.


I experienced God’s greatness, love and presence in many different ways in the weeks following my dad’s death. This was a challenging time, when my faith and communication with God faltered. In that gap, the ways God spoke to me looked different.


Louder Whispers from God


I don’t know how I made it through each day over the next month, as I helped Mom sort out life without Dad and remained available for my sister and her kids and worked through my own grief. Looking back, I know my strength was not my own. God gave me His strength so I could be there for the ones I loved. I leaned on “…the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God,” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, ESV).


To handle it without God’s help would have been impossible.


Not only did God give me strength, He was present everywhere, from work, family, and friends, to all aspects of my parents’ life. Prayers were being answered the moment they were spoken. People would come into my mom’s office and say, “I had extra time this morning and thought I would come by to see if you needed anything.” Others would take care of something, only to find out later it was exactly what my mom needed.


Miracles were happening during the hardest time in my life, and I watched them play out in front of me.


God showed my family that we were going to be alright and while we grieved the loss of my father, we were gifted with the presence of our Lord. He showed us that, while we won’t understand everything that happens on this Earth, we can be sure that God will not leave us during those challenging times.


Growing Our Faith When Life Is Hard


My faith grew immensely during this time. It wasn’t easy to accept or understand why Dad had to go. I didn’t recognize then how God’s hand was on everything. Looking back, I see that He carried me and my family.


I wasn’t ready to lose my dad, but the way God reopened my heart and worked through my circumstances made this difficult time manageable. He held me tight, comforted me and showed me the way to walk while carrying my burden for me. He answered prayers we hadn’t prayed yet and delivered help before we knew it was needed.


That summer, I learned that God’s will WILL be done. In our hardest moments God will give us the guidance, love, strength and peace we need. Even when we're hurting. Even when we're doubting.


Since that summer, I have continued to lean into my relationship with God especially during the challenging moments. I have tried to become more in tune to His whispers. I try to remember what God showed me during that pivotal moment in my life and live out each day with faith in His plan for my life.


“It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed,” (Deuteronomy 31:8, ESV).


Photo Credit: Unsplash, Cody Black.

 

The Hear Him Louder Essay Series is a guest writer series where God's daughters share their stories of hearing God’s whispers in their every day. It’s meant to serve as an encouragement for the times when God feels far and seems quiet. When we read each other’s stories of how He meets us, it reminds and reassures us that He is near. May this series be an invitation for us to listen for His voice together.


Don't miss any posts in this series! Subscribe to receive notifications for each new essay, posted every other Thursday. When you subscribe, you'll receive a link to a FREE five-day devotional (45 beautiful pages!) called, “Closer: Five Days to Hearing God Louder.” Each day features teaching on one posture and a guided journaling section to help us practice taking steps toward hearing God louder in our every day.


Learn more about each of these five postures:


1 | Seek: If I Seek God, Will I Really Find Him?

2 | Know: Will God Speak, Even to Me?

3 | Expect: Can I Expect to Hear God?

4 | Listen: How Do I Listen for God?

5 | Connect: Is God Really Right Here?


New to this series? Check out the rest of the series!


Interested in contributing to the Hear Him Louder Essay Series? The call for submissions opens twice a year. To submit an essay outside of those windows, contact me.

 

About Courtney


Courtney is a stay-at-home mother of three wonderful kids and wife to an amazing husband and father. Her twin 4-year-old sons and 6-year-old daughter keep her on her toes and seeking guidance from the Lord every day. She spends her days enjoying life in the beautiful mountains of western North Carolina, and is happiest in, on, or around water.


She has always loved expressing herself through writing and writes to share her rollercoaster life to help others.


You can find Courtney at her blog and on Instagram!

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