Faith, such a hard word to grasp, wrap my mind around. What is faith? The Word of God defines it as the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
To me, this means believing with no evidence.
What am I really saying to my Creator when I have lost faith? Lost hope? I am making Him non-existent. I am displaying no evidence of Him in my life when I am without faith. He is non-existent in my life and to others around me--only because I have fallen away, not because He has gone anywhere. They can't see Him if I don't have faith--they lose their way, and we are all following one another down a wrong path--the blind leading the blind.
Though I would never breathe the words, I say God doesn't exist, when I shout and scream anger and bitterness at the world, and in a moment of frustration and hurt pouring out, I throw my hands toward Heaven and with much ungratefulness and unbelief say "Thanks a lot for all this".
So how do I show faith? How do I make this untangible thing tangible? How do I grasp it, this imaginative, mysterious thing that is so curious that it seems unreal?
It is continuing and persevering in spite of circumstances that say "just give up--it's hopeless", persevering not only for myself, but for others.
It means staying with my spouse and lovingly building a marriage and life together that reflects Christ even when all seems broken and the pieces are scattered, and I don't know how to pick them up.
When my flesh fails, and everything in the world says "give up on this relationship", I persevere and the spirit of God in me rises up in faith...bonding me back to God and His goodness...always hoping, always believing the best.
I continue to pick up the pieces of relationships with my spouse, my children, and loved ones, even when damage seems irreparable, and in hoping for something greater in the Spirit, I flesh out His promise by holding hands and sacrificing my flesh until there is no more me and only Him.
Faith is a thing of the heart--not a thing of the mind. It's something I feel, not something I know, and yet something that I continue to hang onto in my mind when my emotions are not feeling it. God plants a tiny seed in my heart, and then my mind begins to accept like a child, and then moves on to figuring out, testing out, and the more I know, the more I find out that I don't know anything, and that I have to trust with my heart.
It's funny, the believing, the faith of a child...how I naively told friends and strangers, that the reason I knew God exists is because I could feel Him in my heart and mind--I feel Him with me, in me, and working through me. I knew, there was a part of me that that knew, that I was small, ignorant, and insignificant, needing to learn more of the knowledge and wisdom of life--the experience of life. The sheer shortness of my years made me not a scholar.
Who was I to answer the biggest question all men have ever asked as long as man has existed?
Who was I to say that I knew the answer to knowing how God existed?
And yet, now as an adult, I realize that that this answer was not so bad at all, and I knew more of the important stuff then than I do now. Now it is easier to doubt God, now that I am "wise" and experienced in the world.
And I believe that is why Jesus said, "Assuredly, I say unto you, whomever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it." Luke 18:17 (KJV) The NIV says: "Unless you come with the faith of a child, you shall not enter the kingdom of Heaven.". This is convicting to me, straight down to the core of me. I swallow the scriptures down, and they splay me out, uncovered and naked, they reveal my true heart before Him, and I am undone.
I know that I can only come this way--like a child--unaware and unashamed of my nakedness, of my vulnerable heart--that is the only way that I can see and be able to follow Him, to please Him.
But what happens when those closest to us--family, our brothers and sisters in the body of Christ--hurt us and cause us to lose trust and faith?
What happens when we lose loved ones, lose our own flesh inside of us--our hope of new life? What happens when death comes knocking? Or chronic illness rears it's ugly monstrous head and threatens to tear us and our home apart?
What happens when the church does not look like or behave like the scriptural body, the God-breathed sacred body of Christ?
What happens when we lose child-like faith because of the depravity, sin, starvation, dying, and injustices of the world while Christians sit back and throw wounding darts at one another?
Well, for me, God has to bring me to this place of breaking over and over. This place where He breaks down the calloused walls of my heart--callouses put there from the inflicted wounds of the labor, fighting and toiling that I must do while I'm in this world.
He rubs his oil in and dissolves the scabs and built up layers, and He cleans out my heart, restores my child-like faith.
The most amazing thing is that I don't have to do it--His grace covers me, and it restores and redeems and reconciles me back to Him. I don't have to do the work--I just have to allow the work to be done by Him, in me--like child, eyes round and wet-rimmed, looking upward, countenace shining trust, looking to Father to take care of everything. Maybe this is faith...the faith of a child.
A song for you...Don't we all, in our severe, lack-of-child-faith depravity, need some soul-nourishing words? If you don't mind, closing out the player's music at the bottom and playing the video? And just ignore the blue dress traipsing around ;) or close your eyes and listen to the words. If you can't play the video, you can go here to watch.