Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The hardest peace

by Kara Tippets
2014 / 183 pages

I only heard of Kara Tippets' blog Mundane Faithfulness early this year. Here this young housewife shared the struggle to take God at his word in the every day – to trust that God is indeed good – when that every day is an ongoing struggle with cancer.

Her blog lead me to her book, which is part biography, and part...well, almost a devotional. The recurring theme throughout is that God can be trusted. Sometimes we doubt it, sometimes we can't see his goodness, but He is true, even while we falter. Kara shares her doubts and her assurances, and testifies to the grace that God surrounded her with. Kara wants us to understand how, not in spite of her cancer, but because of it and through it, God has shown his goodness to her and her family, and church. She writes of how her life isn't pretty – full of surgeries, and chemo, and hair loss, and scars, and medical tests, and radiation – but it has been beautiful. God has been there for her.

This is a must read for everyone - I'd recommend it to young and old, married or not, men and women. Whether you are near death or far from it, or whether you have had a difficult life, or a blessed and almost untroubled one, it is going to end badly – death is the final enemy, and before it there is the loss of strength and loss of ability, loss of friends and loss of family. It is easy to trust God when the going is good, but what of when we have to ask, "Who is our only comfort in death?"

At one point Kara shares of how as one of her daughters was being tucked into bed, the girl asked her father, "Is Mama going to die of cancer, or old age?" Kara's husband couldn't find the words, and asked Kara for help and support. And Kara padded down the hall and slipped under the covers with her daughter.
She wasn't asking for false hope; she wanted me to love her with honesty. I told her I had heard her question, and I asked her my own question in response. I asked her if she believed God would meet her in both of those places. I looked at her face and wondered at her love, her beauty, her tenderness and I asked her a question many grown people cannot answer or embrace. In the most painful fear and hurts of our lives, will God be good? Not just the simple: God is good, indeed always good. Not the rote, recited, memorized answers we have been trained to give in the edges of life. But the asking: Is Jesus really good in the awful of cancer, fire, heartbreak and devastation? In the face of all that is broken, is God good?
We all know the answer, but it is one thing to know the answer and another to believe it when the going is not good. This is why I loved this book: Kara praises God for his goodness, and all that He provides her, and she also acknowledges her own weakness and doubt. She asks,
How do you speak to your young child of grace you struggle to have the imagination to behold? You just do. It’s the raw places of faith without sight. It’s the painful moments of preaching a sermon to yourself you know you struggle to believe. It’s the quiet prayer from Mark: “I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24).
That is what we are all struggling with: we trust God in the good times; help us trust You in the bad!

This is a wonderfully encouraging book, because it Kara lets us know God is faithful, even in the bad, and even in our doubts. He is good, and He can be trusted.

Several months after finishing the book, on March 22, 2015, Kara Tippetts died, and went to be with the Lord. There are plans for some sort of documentary, the trailer of which is below. If you would like a copy of her book, you can get it at Amazon.com by clicking here.

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