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Faithful Living: With God, faith resurrects lives

Do you recall where you were, this week, a decade ago?

While I normally have a hard time recalling what I did a month ago without looking back in my Palm Pilot, I distinctly recall this week in 1995. I had just returned home from dropping my daughter off at school when I received a call from my mother, suggesting I tune in to CNN coverage. There had been a bombing — smack dab in the center of Oklahoma City of all places — and things looked bad.

Because my parents are both Oklahomans, my ears perk when I hear anything mentioned about the state. The bombing, however, threw me for a loop. So did the sadness and alarm in my mother’s voice. But nothing prepared me for the brutal images of shock, horror and immeasurable suffering that bombarded my sensibilities and perception of security.

Waking up this week to learn that the 10-year anniversary of the bombing would be marked with a ceremony for the families at the magnificent memorial park that included well-known dignitaries came as such a surprise. I find it hard to imagine that time has passed so quickly. I also find it difficult to look back on facts I would prefer to forget — like the knowledge that 30 children were orphaned in a moment.

A similar sense of disbelief flared up all over again Thursday morning when I learned that students, faculty, and parents associated with Columbine High School in Colorado would mark the sixth anniversary of their tragedy. The back-to-back coverage of both events left me asking what I consider to be the most profound of personal questions each one of us will ask ourselves from time to time: How well would I be doing if I were directly involved in either tragedy? How would I work through, then past, such immense loss without emotional paralysis and spiritual death? How would I recapture hope and a sense of balance when fear and anger threatened my every breath?

I believe the timing of both anniversaries is noteworthy and especially instructional. It demands that I re-examine Christ’s claim of resurrection and it is almost surely the event Martin Luther King, Jr., thought about when he uttered his immortal words, “We shall overcome!”

While King spoke those sentiments to people in great need of hope, respect, and consistently applied civil rights, King’s source of hope came from his experience with Jesus Christ. His resulting faith was based on the day Christ came back to life, overcoming the greatest foe of all: death.

There is not a one of us that does not need a way to overcome. There is not a one of us who can live in this life without heartbreak and worry, struggle and tragedy. Whether it be poor health, injustice, terror, war, poverty, or death of loved ones, that moment when we must find a way to sink or swim will come. I choose to practice my faith so I will have some way to overcome when the need is there.

This is not to say that Christians completely understand the power and mystery interwoven in the resurrection. I do contend, however, that people of faith are generally more upfront about their own needs. We have worked through issues involving pride and infallibility and know we do not have it all figured out. We are clear in our understanding that humans work at a deficit when we work alone, leaning on our own understandings.

I also know that it is not good enough to simply talk about it or view faith from afar. There will come a time for many of us when we will stand at the brink and wonder what it might be like to step toward God rather than simply talk about Him. Rather than going to that Easter service once a year and buying our child a Bible for his 10th birthday because it seems the appropriate thing to do.

Whatever the impetus, God says in the Bible that He waits and hopes with anticipation. He responds to our worries and fears in personal ways. He speaks through Scripture, songs, lifetime events, our friends and family members to give us words on which we can build hope and our futures.

Above all else, He died, then came back to life, to give power to the words, “With God, I can overcome!”

It’s what I heard survivors say this week as they described how they are, now years beyond their experiences in Oklahoma City and Columbine. Their lives have been resurrected through faith.

Freelance writer Joan Bay Klope’s e-mail address is jbklope@hotmail.com.

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