Sunday, September 25, 2011

Keeping the Faith

Let me just start by saying that I like the feeling of being in control. I like to know what’s going on, have a plan, make decisions and feel that sense of accomplishment when everything goes just right. And taking control of certain things in life seems to work well. But that’s usually just the little things: what tasks I’m going to complete at work that day, how I will spend my money, what clothes I will wear, what food I will eat, what book I will read, how I'll spend a free Saturday afternoon. The bigger, more complex things in life are a little more complicated and much less controllable.

That is where faith comes into play. And I’ve been struggling with faith a lot lately. One of the core presuppositions of being a Christian is that we have faith in something bigger than us. God. An all-loving God. We are told that all we need is the faith of a mustard seed. We are led to walk by faith. We proclaim that it is by grace that we are saved, through faith. And we find reassurance in having faith in things unseen.

The idea of faith is good and nice and simple… but sometimes you get a little impatient. And the whole faith thing just doesn’t seem to be working. God isn’t pulling through for you, so you figure you’d better just take things back into your own hands. You’re lost in a dark place with no foreseeable end in sight. The clock is ticking. Time is wasting. You subtly clear your throat. You impatiently tap your fingers. Roll your eyes. Wave your hand in the air. And he just isn’t taking a hint.

In situations such as this I often think, “God’s too busy to deal with me right now. Or he doesn’t realize the importance and urgency of my situation. If he’s not going to handle this, then I will.” Somebody got to do something, right?!

So you take matters into your own hands. You try to put all of the pieces of the puzzle together. But you’re working so feverishly that the pieces are getting torn and flying all over the place. So now you have lots of missing pieces and you’re left with an incomplete puzzle. You can’t even see the whole picture!

Defeat. Utter defeat. You raise your hands in surrender. Then you sit down, unclench your fists, let your shoulders hang, and let go of the breath you didn’t even realize you were holding.

This is when I realize my madness. Sometimes I’m humiliated. Sometimes I just laugh at myself. Part of me wants to throw another punch in hopes that I can reclaim my power (which I never really had). But another part of me is so relieved that the fight is over. Because I’m exhausted. And I’m beat. And I am glad to put the situation back in God’s court.

The truth is, I like the feeling of being in control… on some level.  But I'm learning to let go of trying to control all aspects of my life.  And boy is it tough. But deep down (probably not even that deep down) I sure am glad that everything's not up to me.  That I'm not in complete control.  And that I don't have to worry.  I just have to have faith.

Walking in Faith
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
- Hebrews 11:1

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.
- Hebrew 11:8

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