Confession 421: When Keeping Faith Feels Like You’re Going Against the Odds

Without losing faith, Abraham, who was nearly 100 years old, took into account his own body, which was as good as dead, and Sarah’s womb, which was dead.He didn’t hesitate with a lack of faith in God’s promise, but he grew strong in faith and gave glory to God. He was fully convinced that God was able to do what he promised. Romans 4:19-21 (CEB)

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Christians love to talk about faith. We sing about it, preach it, display it on t-shirts and decorative wall art. Jesus, himself, spoke often about faith. “Your faith has healed you,” “Where is your faith?”, “Faith can move mountains…”

But, do we really believe it? What is faith, anyway? Is it a feeling? Is it knowledge? Is it something experiential?  Can we quantify faith? Does it have a molecular structure? Is faith included in our DNA?

And once we’ve figured out what faith is, what do we do with it? Do we place it on a shelf and dust if every now and then? Do we invest it in some sort of account that yields an interest? Do we use it everyday, like a washcloth or dishwasher or car? Do we hold onto it in a white-knocked fist grip as if we’re hanging from a trapeze?

girl on swing 2I’ve been thinking a lot about faith lately, because honestly, it feels like it’s a bit dinged up. Charlottesville broke something in me. And then there was Harvey, and Irma, and Maria, and Mexico. And then there was the whole kerfuffle about who could protest and when they could protest and suddenly, protesting became an issue to protest. And that doesn’t even begin to touch the personal worries, crises, and tragedies that occur in our everyday lives.

I keep telling myself that the world was always a crazy, mixed up place–that our time is no different from any other. But, I’m not so sure anymore. Suddenly (or maybe gradually) keeping the faith seems like an all-in bet when the deck is stacked against you. The odds are not really in faith’s favor.

But then, I remember. I remember who I am. More importantly, I remember whose I am. God gave me an epiphany the other night, as I was praying a very simple prayer. “God,” I said. “Save us from ourselves.” And do you know what I heard in that moment, when the lights were off and the house was still?

I

already

did…

I think if God could drop a mic, he would have done so in that moment. It became clear to me that it is we, the Jesus people, who have to bring God’s goodness into the world. You see, God already did the work. Jesus came. He went to the cross. He rose again. And then, the mantle of faith was placed on the disciples. “You go,” Jesus said. “You bring my salvation to the world.”

Jesus is saying those same words to us today.

You go. Bring my salvation to the world. Even if the whole idea of faith seems like a long-shot.
In Romans 4, Paul discusses the faith of Abraham. Abraham had absolutely no reason to believe God would fulfill his promises. He and Sarah were well beyond the “child-bearing years”. And yet, Paul writes that Abraham “didn’t hesitate” with a lack of faith. Rather, he grew stronger. Abraham didn’t say, “You know, God. This is

  • ridiculous
  • overwhelming
  • unorthodox
  • time-consuming
  • expensive
  • futile.”

Abraham didn’t say, “I’m going to need some time to think about this.” Or, “I need a bit more faith.”

Abraham said, “Thank you God!” before the promise was even fulfilled.

Confession 247: RefreshmentI feel like the world is an overwhelming place right now. Contrary to Abraham, I find myself asking for more from God. I want more miracles, more signs, more direction…more faith. But God’s already given me everything I need to what he’s asking me to do. I just need to shake my faith off and get to it.

This week, I would challenge you to prayerfully consider how God is calling you to engage in our messed up, convoluted world.

  • Where does God want you to go?
  • What relief does God want you to send to those in need? How does God want you to give voice to the oppressed?
  • Where is God calling you to take a stand against injustice?
  • What love does God want you to show to someone else?

There is much work to be done. So, this week, let’s give God thanks for always keeping his promises, strap our faith to our hands and feet, and get to work, bringing love, peace, and hope to a world that is desperately in need.

Blessings and Peace,

Sara

 

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