In a world where the masses are falling away from the Christian faith, and many are attempting to redefine God, it is essential to present God in a way that resonates with people from every social class. Faith: The Fabric of Life is not just a collection of words, but linguistic tools that help people to connect with God. Our faith experiences weave our lives into an intricate fabric that testifies to the presence and greatness of God. It takes God from being “The Man Upstairs” to the divine advocate and helper in all things great and small.
Faith unites our day to day experiences like threads in a priceless fabric that protects us in storms and adorns us in victories. Whereas many will take life’s experiences to say that there is no God Faith: The Fabric of Life reveals the presence of God hiding in plain sight. For God’s chosen, faith is relatable. It takes daily circumstances and brings them into full view showing the miracle of God’s divine presence just as he promised through the words of Christ.
‘But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.’ (John 14:26)
As the circumstance of life weaves our faith into a tapestry of high value, it is crucial that we share our experiences, no matter how compelling or personal. Each day that we walk with God, faith adds color and texture to the fabric of our lives. With every encounter, we document the works of God in a generation that questions the very existence of God. Faith: The Fabric of Life is an autobiographical account of the life of Henri Whitfield who was born to an estranged mother in the hill country of East Tennessee. Today he shares a home in Texas with his wife and daughter.
Like many Christians, Henri was born into a Christian family and subsequently labeled as a Christian. However, after a life of abuse, disappointments, failures and overwhelming challenges Henri Whitfield emerges with a message of faith that is a by-product of his experience of suffering. Henri became a warrior for Christ through the crucible of pain and overwhelming odds. Faith: The Fabric of Life resonates with hurting humanity and conveys a message of hope to those who question the need for faith.
Growing as a Christian is often a series of events and moments that take us from one hurdle to the next. However, now and then we experience something that causes us to question the very existence of God. Like the Biblical story of Job, many people are experiencing agonizing pain resulting from the sudden loss of loved ones, sudden economic change, marital problems and overwhelming hypocrisy in the local and national church. Through anecdotal memoirs, this writing seeks to offer hope to people of faith who are facing a Job moment in their faith walk.
People who are on the verge of giving up because they feel as if they are alone in their complicated lives need to know that God has a plan for their lives no matter how tumultuous. Many have grown to be faithful to the rudiments of their faith, they treat people fair, and they are genuine and good people. Despite their innate goodness, they are facing the natural growth process of their faith development. God is the initiator of faith, and He is also the custodian of faith. God weaves faith through the challenges of our lives. God cultivates faith through great victories and tough challenges. The biblical story of Job gives a clear depiction of how God uses catastrophic circumstances to compel His chosen to a life of faithful dependence on Him. The writer of Hebrew says it best. “Without faith, it is impossible to please God.” (Hebrews 11:6)
A life of faith is not happenstance and unplanned events. They are intricately woven experiences that shape His chosen into trophies of His grace who glorify Him in the most difficult of situations. Henri Whitfield’s life offers an alternative to becoming infidels and suicidal when life gets hard. In the life of every Christian, faith is the escort back to hope when it looks as if all hope is gone.
Charged with a Crime
Obliterate the day I was born. Blank out the night I was conceived! Let it be a black hole in space. May God above forget it ever happened. Erase it from the books! May the day of my birth be buried in deep darkness, shrouded by the fog, swallowed by the night. And the night of my conception—the devil take it! Rip the date off the calendar, delete it from the almanac. Job 3:5-10
This complaint by Job echoes the pain of men and women who have reached their wit’s end. They often grow bitter and complain about how God has allowed them to suffer. Even Jesus lamented His suffering.3 The book of Job is a poignant tale of a man going through the development of his faith. The trial of our faith makes us patient4, and it refines us like pure gold.5 Our faith is like fine linen made from the most delicate material in our lives. People of faith are often broken, mended, thrashed and meticulously put back together by God’s tender hands of grace. Each of our lives of faith is made up of pure golden threads of pain, extreme comfort, agonizing disappointment, victorious fulfillment, sorrowful mystery, and joyous clarity. Life is a continuum of changes that prepare us for our beginning in the eternal presence of God covered by a tapestry of faith woven from the intricate details of our lives.
Like Job we too have lived through seasons in our lives we wished we never saw, only to reflect on them and understand that it was all apart of God’s plan. Faith: The Fabric of Life is a collection of anecdotal testimonials form the life of Henri Whitfield designed to encourage the man, woman, boy or girl who feels as if God is ignoring them. Worst yet, they are coming to believe that God is not there because He is not answering their pleadings. Still, others have felt the abandonment of death leaving them in a world that has no place for them. However, somehow, we find joy in the torrents of our life’s severe storms that seem to come out of nowhere.
Sing praise unto Jehovah, O ye saints of his, and give thanks to his holy memorial name. For his anger is but for a moment; His favor is for a lifetime: Weeping may tarry for the night, But joy cometh in the morning.
The Psalmist declares the temporal nature of calamity while assuring the faithful of God’s eternal love. Whatever we live through by the might of God, contributes to the threads that make up His tapestry of grace in our lives. It is the covering that God weaves over our lives that warms us in the chilling stillness of inertia, and it provides during the infernos of our lives. Grace granted freely by God saves us. No matter how good or how indifferent we are God keep His chosen through the storms.
In October 2015 Henri was summoned to a local police department to face charges against him for a crime against a person allegedly committed over 13 years prior. It was set up for him to turn himself in to be set free on the same day. However, within ten days He was taken by the police in front of his home for a second time with a second charge from the same person. He was held in a local suburban police department for three days for the second charge. Within a few days, his face was on the news and the internet along with a vague description of the alleged crime/s. Like the biblical character Job, he was enjoying the favor of God on one day, and within a few hours, he was reporting to the local police department for questioning.
Much to his disappointment, instead of people supporting he and his family they seemed to avoid them. Some even took the liberty of adding to the lies that were circulating. Others who said that they believed that the charges were lies, said nothing. It seemed as if he and his family were relying only on God his immediate extended family and a few faithful friends. As things became public, a suicidal demon chased him through the day. In the dark of night, the demon of self-destruction brought along companions who vexed and tempted him in every way imaginable. What should have been a time of deep consecration and dependence on God, became a time of hauntings and temptations. His dreams were made up of dark, suffocating chasms that carried him into a cavernous dark abyss that was always interrupted with a desperate cry into the darkness. Jesus! Jesus! Jesus! He would awaken with his heart racing and his mind wondering if he had died and made it to eternity. When he came to himself, he realized that he merely awakened to his mundane existence of being alone, angry, fearful and bewildered wondering when it would all end.
After two years and six months, the charges were dropped. Henri began to try to pick up and move ahead with life, but he realized that moving on would be difficult because he was frustrated with God for having allowed him to face his worst fears of being publicly humiliated. Henri struggled because he lost so much because of the public announcement of the charges made against him. He was face to face with a Job crisis that only God would carry him through.
God builds His chosen through the crucible of pain protected by a blanket of faith made from a myriad of threads of life. God meticulously weaves the lives of people of faith into a God-glorifying fabric. What makes up the fabric of faith are threads of difficulties, struggles, and pain. The fabric is held together by the strong scarlet thread of joy. Joy binds the experiences of faith together by weaving disjointed atrocities into safety nets of hope.
Joy is the underlying constant God uses to demonstrate His intimate involvement with us as we endure life. When we are emotionally shipwrecked, and suicide is our only logical escape, joy comes and assures us of hope. Joy is that happiness that comes as a grace gift that takes us far away from the void of hopelessness. It offers us unbridled blissfulness that cannot be swayed by the demonic minions of defeat and disappointment. Joy is the hydrocodone that makes the pain bearable. It does not cure the cause; it anesthetizes the pain granting a brief reprieve until the pain returns.
The previous story of an extremely redefining moment in the life of Henri Whitfield is the adversity that caused him to stop, reflect and begin to codify God’s sovereign reign over his life and his walk of faith. Through a life of miracles and arduous trials, God cultivates faith into a fabric of excellent value that covers us in times of adversity and honor. Faith is affirmed in the brightness of victories and cultivated in the darkness of adversity to the glory of God. Who we are in Christ is predicated on His choices for us and what we endure is because of His strength in us. Faith is not born out of Bible Study and prayer, but Bible Study and prayer are by-products of God’s presence in us.