What is faith? What does “having faith” mean? Does it mean living in ignorant bliss? Passing through life thinking “God will take care of it”? Does it mean making your decisions solely on the belief that God will provide, protect, heal without giving thought to anything else?
Does the employed not actively search for a job because he believes God will provide? Does the parent not discipline because he believes God will steer his children? Does the sick not get treatment because he believes God will heal?
Where is the line drawn? The line between faith and reality?
Travis’ and Carrie’s reality is that he is sick. He is really sick. This week they learned that MD Anderson does not have a “special sauce” just as Dr. Hamrick, aka Dr. Rockstar, told them at their first meeting. There is not a “miracle cure” being kept under wraps at the country’s best cancer hospital. There is not a miracle cure for Stage 4 Cholangiocarcinoma.
I have faith Travis will be healed. Carrie knows Travis will be healed. She says that she can see him in 7 years running Hemma Concrete, doing God’s work, donating his time to a cancer foundation…living. And the doctors will be saying why is he still alive?
But. We still think, KNOW, he should be treated. That’s a no brainer, right?
But what about the decisions that are harder to make? Do some decisions mean your faith is weak?
Somehow. Miraculously. Travis has to walk two lines.
There is the faith line. He will walk this line because He believes God can, and will, heal him. God will intervene. There will be a miracle.
Then. There is another line. The line of reality. The line that says you are very sick and your life is not going to end on your timetable. And as a responsible father and husband. Travis has to walk this line as well.
What does this line look like?
It’s buying and filling out birthday cards for your children for every birthday you may miss.
It’s recording endless videos of yourself, with your children and wife, so they have tangible memories of you.
It’s sitting down with the camera and telling your sons how to get the girl. And your daughter…to run from the boys.
There is a sweet girl named Lily who lost her dad far too early and she has written down questions that she wished she knew about her dad…just for Travis. So Carrie is videoing Travis as he answers each of her questions.
Who would he want to walk Pippi down the isle?
What does he think each of his sweet children will be when they grow up?
What is his favorite food, movie, band…???
He is doing it all because he has to walk that line.
And just like starting chemotherapy next Thursday does not mean Travis does not have faith. Neither do these responsible acts of a loving and sick father.
Travis is sick. Yesterday he and Carrie met with Dr. Shroff to review the results of his CT scan Wednesday. This CT scan provides a higher definition and better picture than the one he had a month ago when this all started in that emergency room in Birmingham, AL. And my friends found out there are not three tumors in Travis’ liver…there are eight. One large tumor approximately 6.7 cm and seven small “satellite” tumors scattered throughout his liver. Additionally, the lymph nodes in his chest are actually full of cancer. Not the “small amount” they originally thought.
Are they glad they went to Houston? Yes! Do they like the news? No. Two things came out of Houston they are so grateful for. First, they found out that the treatment plan their doctor in Atlanta suggested, the doctor in charge of Travis’ care, is the same as the Cholangiocarcinoma expert. Second. They also are so grateful they will never have to say, if we only went to MD Anderson like everyone told us to do. And this trip was made possible by a friend. A new friend. A dear friend. Holden. Thanks to Holden, they will never look back with that regret. No regrets.
While Travis is sick. Fighting for his life. He will have to walk two lines.
There will be times he simply cannot walk both. Faith may dwindle. And that is where we, the body of believers, step in and fill the gap. Praying on his behalf when the reality line becomes too big to see past. When the faith line is so narrow it can’t be seen.
Thankfully. God doesn’t require perfect faith to intervene. To give a miracle. God never relies on us. He knows He would always be disappointed. No. We have to rely on God.
In the Bible, the book of John, chapter 11, describes Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. In verse 40, Jesus says to Martha, “Didn’t I tell you that you would see God’s glory if you believe?” But the story doesn’t stop there. Jesus wasn’t laying out a requirement. He was providing a gentle reminder. How do I know? Because as soon as He says it, He prays, and goes ahead and raises Lazarus from the dead.
Despite Martha’s faith.
Or lack of…
Because Jesus knows. Sometimes it’s just too hard for us to walk both lines.