After watching and suffering alongside his late wife's battle with cancer, Chris Faddis, author of the book “It is Well: Life in the Storm,” hopes that people will learn to place their trust in God in the midst of struggles.
"Trust isn't about trusting that God is going to take us out of the pain, or that God is going to redeem us here on Earth,” said Chris Faddis to CNA during an Oct. 22 interview.
Over the course of their battle with terminal illness, the Faddis family learned about trust, and faith in God through all things.
Angela Faddis’ dying wish was for “the world to know that no matter what we must trust in Jesus," Chris said, and it is this desire to give witness to the need to trust in God that gave rise to the book.
Two years ago, Faddis’ wife Angela was unexpectedly diagnosed with stage four colon cancer. Over the course of her 17-month battle with cancer, Angela provided a public witness of faith and radical trust through a Facebook page, television, radio, and print interviews.
Angela died Sept. 21, 2012, but Chris is convinced that his wife’s witness of trust can help others “find consolation in suffering.” He added that he had always had "desire to write a book on trust," but it became clear over the course of Angela's illness "that God wanted me to write this book in the middle of a storm."
"I certainly didn't know that we would go through the kind of suffering that we did," Faddis said of his family's struggle. Through the trials, however, "it was clear God had a purpose for it," he added.
He explained that often, people don’t like to say there is a reason or purpose to suffering, “because we think that means God's punishing us.”
Faddis clarified that God is not punishing people through suffering, but instead "he's allowing us to participate in the suffering because it will bring us closer to him, it will bring us closer to heaven, and it will bring us closer to other people who are suffering."
Through his family's suffering, Faddis said their understanding of trust grew. Generally, trust in God is thought of as a sense "that God is going to solve every problem."
In reality, however, trust is not God acting as "the great problem-solver," but a faith that God will provide, no matter the struggles or challenges.
"He didn't come just to solve our problems. He came to show us the way, and he promised a struggle," Faddis said.
“Trust is about fully surrendering to God so that even if all you have left is the promise is heaven, that's where we say it is well."
Faddis added that he and his family "kind of knew," that lesson throughout his life and through the beginning stages of his wife's cancer, "but it really became clear at the very end."
As Angela entered into her last days, Chris said, "she was coming to realize internally what God was saying to her: 'Will you trust me now when all you have left is heaven?'"
"We're going to have those times when we have that sense that that's all we have left, and that's the level of trust that God calls us to."
This complete trust in God through all things is "what he wants from us, and he knows it takes time to get there," he continued. He explained that Angela understood that suffering was needed for this trust. She would say that "we must embrace our suffering; not run from it, not hide from it, not ignore it – but embrace it."
In the year since her death, this witness has been embraced by his family and those who came in contact with Angela's story, Faddis said. Their two young children "have this solace there" in reflecting on their mother's death, and a focus that "we should really focus on living."
"For the most part there's a real sense of joy for them," Faddis said, adding that this joy has pervaded through the grief and tears.
"They have a real understanding of what Mommy's witness is for people."
Faddis said that he has felt driven "to give back whatever God gives you in this life," and though reflection he has been convicted that "God was wanting to use this story" in order to share the Faddis family's lessons on trust.
“To be able to trust that much is something that we all need to have.”
"I think it's important that we can have that depth" of faith, Faddis added.
When many look at people of faith such as Angela, they "think 'she had great faith, I just don't have that,'" he said.
Instead, people should look at persons of great faith and "think, 'they have great faith, and that was because of God, and God can do that for me as well.'"
Faddis said he hoped that people reading his book or encountering his wife's story would understand Angela's message: that "at all stages of life, we just simply have to trust."
"People can throw all their trust into Jesus."