“For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation and brings no regret…” – 2 Corinthians 7:10

For a long time I thought Christianity was a faith of beliefs. To answer the call I felt deep in my soul, I had to believe, so I went to churches where I recited creeds, week after week, as if sheer repetition would somehow make them take root in my soul and transform me.

I continued down this dry path of creeds and beliefs, living my life my way, until I ran full tilt into circumstances that were, at the time, completely devastating. I cried. I wailed, really, and for the first time, I really turned to God, deep in my heart, but not in worship or praise or gratitude. Instead I demanded to know why I’d achieved all I had if God was just going to take it away from me. I mourned something I thought was gone forever.

What happened wasn’t God’s fault, of course, but my own (as Bruce Van Blair so frequently told us, “my life my way” doesn’t work!). What I longed for wasn’t gone, either, but rather just beginning. In the lived experience of mourning I found faith, wide and deep. I found comfort, eternal and ever-present. Both discoveries rendered beliefs completely secondary. My faith is a faith of experience, and there’s been no more powerful teaching experience than that of mourning. In the experience of mourning, I found God.

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