Sunday, March 8, 2015

Faith (for the Rest of Us)

My feet are one in front of the other.  As a gymnast on a beam, grace holding the posture.

One foot in front of the other. On a meager little branch, near the very top of an old Oak.

My arms are out, like airplane wings, posing for even the tiniest notion of secure balance.

My heart's up on this Oak and I'm at the most distal end of the branch.

And it wouldn't be that bad, if it weren't for that wind.  The chilled, almost biting, wind, that constantly invites me back towards the hub of the tree, where I might feel a bit stronger, and a bit safer.

The wind whistles and hisses, threatening me, tempting me to hurry back where I feel more comfortable, more like myself. Back to the yesterdays and the successes of times past, longing to return to the security of familiarity.

It's a cold wind, cutting right through my shirt and all the way to my often weak heart, and it beckons me to hunker in near the trunk, and then to inch back down, nearer the ground.

And it does it's best to deceive me--to seduce me with the lie--that a trust fall 2 feet off the ground is just as rewarding as the faith leap of that top branch.

But I hear you, God, over the whistle of the wind, inviting me to trust.

And without faith it is impossible to please God, for he who comes to him must believe that He exists, and that he rewards those who seek him.

I inhale slowly, as if filling up with grace, a grace that I hope will translate into courage when I breath it out.

I see you, Father, ahead of me, below me.

I see, now, that this is faith.

It's not as romantic of a notion as I make it.  The plaques of Hobby Lobby and the Pins make faith look easy, in a guise of religion or emotion. Somehow I correlate faith living with feelings of warm fuzzies and smiling applauding  (pretty) people giving me looks of affirmation.

But out here, out here there isn't even another branch to grasp for a mere moment of steadying myself. I don't feel much like myself out here, and perhaps that's the purpose.

I see that I haven't quite understood the depth of what live by faith means.

I hear your grace teaching me a richer understanding today. 

And the sooner I learn to believe in the absence of the securities and the plans, the sooner my confidence will bring more of the author of my faith.

Those who know your name, will trust in You. For you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.

If the ground below were scattered with friends and families and cheering and validations, I would miss the heart of this.  As rich as the multitudes' words can be, they can't be part of this.  This is between you, and me.  You want me out here, for you, and you alone.

And I hear you say that I'm right where you want me, toe-to-heel, arms out, palms up to you. When I cease planning and controlling and fearing, and come to you out here. 

And I learn that this, this is what living by faith looks like today.

There are these times in life, when we face storms and everyone's watching. Ya know, these big, dramatic leaps of faith and eyes are on you. Right?  The leaps that are coupled with a rush of adrenaline.  When change rushes in, losses pile, or hurts cut deep.

I have been there, and experienced the miracle of Christ's sufficiency in those weeks.

And those stories scream glories to God. Those are the stories I will probably tell my grandchildren, the stories of God making new roads and parting waters.

But will I remember to tell them of Wednesday faith?

Ya know, the weekday faith.

Faith for the rest of us, I guess you could say.

When there is nothing dramatic to stir up the adrenaline to help us leap.

Faith for the rest of us, when our days march in a mundane fashion.

An invitation to believe when it's not really exciting, you aren't seemingly on the cusp of anything thrilling.

The faith our God loves to see, when nobody else is watching.  The daily belief that he deserves my heart and my obedience today, even in seasons of quiet waiting or steady perseverance.

I know many of you are with me, on this gaunt branch, finding your faith minimal when the drama and flare are a thing of the past.

Maybe it's just another Wednesday in the 20th year of praying for your husband to come around.

Perhaps it's the 900th Wednesday of infertility, and your mustard seed is meager.

Maybe it's felt like a lifetime of Wednesdays praying for a change or an answer that just won't hasten.

Maybe the hump of this hump daaaaaay (yes. Camel voice.) is so private and quiet, that I couldn't even guess it in this blog.

Father, could it be, that it's these daily quiet choices to believe in Your goodness and Your faithfulness, that are our live's most rewarding challenges?

Because Your grace is teaching me in these days.

It's teaching me that faith can't be separated from your grace. It's Your grace that holds me out there, when I so often long to return to the safety of a more known, planned life.

When the scrimpy mustard seed of faith doesn't seem substantial enough to keep me believing, Your grace makes up where I lack.

Because out here, at the most distal end of the tallest branch, on the windiest day, I catch a glimpse of my reward: I hear better of your grace amazing, I see better your heart, I know better your presence.

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