Gratitude Day 498
Fri., Aug. 14, 2020
Psalm 13:5 – But I have trusted in your faithful love. My heart will rejoice in your salvation.
In the last week, I’ve witnessed and participated in some of the most basic and important events in life. Baptism of a baby and her Mom. The Christian union of a husband and wife. Witnessing a family journey with their loved one as he spent his last days on this earth.
All significant life events. All moments and opportunities to reflect upon and connect with faith.
As a pastor, when I’m invited to be a part of such milestones of life, I make the basic assumption that if I’ve been invited to be a part of this, so is God. And herein is a basic challenge. Not everyone who is involved in the situation may feel comfortable including God. In fact, some aren’t sure they want God present. Others aren’t quite sure what faith means to them. With varying degrees of acceptance and comfort, so goes a level of comfort with the person who appears to be representing God.
If someone isn’t comfortable or sure what faith and God mean to them, I see the situation as an opportunity for them to experience a little glimpse into what faith can be. I’m of the belief that through the act of observing and/or participating in such an event or situation, this is a great opportunity to discover even a tiny little glimpse into what faith means to you. I want to embrace the folks who aren’t sure they should be present and definitely don’t quite understand all that is going on.
Every once in a while, someone will ask me, “Why faith? What feeds your faith?” It’s a fair question and one that I love to answer. My response usually includes these thoughts:
- Faith allows me to look beyond myself and towards something that is bigger than you and I. This One, whom I call God, is a great orchestra conductor, artist, compassionate soul that is full of wisdom and grace. I’m deeply loved, cared for and appreciated by the One who is so much more than our little brains can ever imagine. Just look around at creation. See yourself as part of this beautiful creation.
- My faith is spiritually fed through regular and consistent conversation with God.
- I find myself seeking out ways that I can connect, praise and worship God throughout my days. This encourages me to devote time and energy to seeking God and asking for guidance throughout the days.
- There have been times and situations when I specifically knew God was with me. Truth.
- Faith is never linear. It’s never a static line. It’s constantly going up and down, which often feels like a roller coast ride. Once I became comfortable in knowing that this faith, then going along on the ride felt a little less intimidating.
Which leads into the natural follow-up question: What feeds the seeds of doubt in relationship with faith?
- Watching myself and others struggle. Whether the pain is of your own doing, someone else’s doing or simply something that happens in life, it’s there. And sometimes, we’re not sure what to do with it.
- When I struggle to feel like I’m enough or good enough or do enough for God’s kingdom.
- Observing others doubt and struggle with their faith and/or lack of faith.
- Not having the words to explain why bad things happen to good people.
All of this is to say that struggling with faith, your views about God and how these fits into our daily lives is perfectly normal. Acceptable. Natural. Not going through the struggle means we don’t fully explore these thoughts and ideas about them.
Sometimes, we feel like we must do something big and grandiose to get God’s attention. But here’s the deal. We ALREADY have God’s full attention. We just have to show up. When we show up, God may simply amaze us.
For years, I thought I should have faith. But I didn’t really understand or know what this meant. When I became more intentional about trying to answer those two questions for myself, then I discovered a really important component of faith:
Faith is not a transaction. It’s a relationship.
Faith isn’t like going to the bank and making a deposit or a with drawl. It’s not signing a contract and never looking at it again. No, faith isn’t a one-and-done deal. It’s a daily choice a million times over and then looking towards God a bazillion times throughout the day for inspiration. Guidance. Love. Peace. Knowledge.
And then doing it the next day. And the next.
Sometimes, we choose not to get involved in the tough faith questions because this means we might actually have to slow down and think about it. Or make sense of it. If we keep waiting for faith to make sense before we embrace it, well, we’ve turned faith into a transaction that won’t ever be fully fulfilled. When we put off faith, then we’re missing out of the years and time that we could discovered more about faith and how it connects to our lives.
For the regular exploration of faith, I am grateful.
Holy God – thanks for being patient with me. Thanks for accepting the roller coaster ride of my spiritual journey. May I choose to journey with you on this ride. Amen.
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