My own personal stance against religious hypocrisy - both my own, and any others who seek to hurt people in the name of God.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Sometimes Faith Has a Price

Faith. When do we have it and when don't we? When do we trust God and when do we give up?

Of course, the simple answer is we always trust God and we never give up. But that is what we're supposed to say and do. How do we really behave?

The truth is, we trust God for our salvation, but when it comes to our daily lives we tend to exclude him. How often have you (I) stood and boldly declared our faith in God - when things were well, or we just received some blessing? Then, when things go dry, and emotions fail us for fear, we abandon faith and try to save ourselves?

It is normal to feel fear. It is normal to face doubts. The greatest born of women suffered his doubts and fears. But how did he handle it?

Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, "Are you he who is to come, or shall we look for another?" And Jesus answered them, "Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is he who takes no ofense at me." As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds concerning John: "What did you go out into the wilderness to behold? A reed shaken by the wind? Why then did you go out? To see a man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, those who wear soft raiment are in kings' houses. Why then did you go out? To see a prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is he of whom it is written, 'Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, who sahall prepare thye way before thee.' Truly I say to you, among those born of women there has risen no one greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he." Matthew 11:2-11 Revised Standard Version

"A reed shaken by the wind." What does that mean? I think it means John was not swayed by his emotions. He didn't just trust God when he felt like it. He trusted God when he had doubts, too. Especially when he had doubts and fear. He sent to Jesus when he had fear. Note Jesus' reply. Instead of just saying "yes", he quotes the Prophet Isaiah, using the verses which prove his being the Messiah, the Christ. Jesus began his ministry by quoting Isaiah.

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good tidings to the afflicted; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor. Isaiah 61:1-2a Revised Standard Version

Jesus did not read the second part of verse two. That speaks of God's wrath and judgment, which is yet to come.

What is easy to do is proclaim we have received a message from God. Any fool can do that, whether God has sent them a message or not. What is hard is trusting in that message when everything seems to indicate that the message is not going to happen. That is hard whether God has sent the message or not.

I am in a place now where I am hard-pressed to find anyone who believes God sent me a message. Current indications are that he did not. Why? Because the message I believe God sent me was not to sell my house when I lost my job seven years ago. So I took it off the market. And for nearly seven years we have remained in this house, often by means which had nothing to do with us. Tax rebate checks from the government. An insurance check after a storm. A sister who borrowed money. During these seven years I have had nearly everyone tell me in one form or another that I was crazy to believe I had received a message from God and that I should sell the house before I lost it. My response has always been: God never said I wouldn't lose the house. He just said, "Don't sell it." So I'm not.

Our personal financial collapse happened at the end of August seven years ago. At the end of August this year we are slated to be kicked out of our house for not meeting financial obligations.

It has not always been easy to believe I got a real message from God. Well, that's not true. It has been easy to believe it. What has not been easy is believing God will take care of us. So many days and nights I vented angrily at God in the lowest level. I asked for signs. For miracles. For anything. What I got was silence. Then, at the last minute, things would happen and we would get another year. This occured for six years. Over the last two my rants have become few and further between. This year no miracle occured, and the foreclosure was processed. We are down to eight weeks.

I am still under pressure to give up believing God intends to take care of us. It's hard to resist. It would be easy to just give up believing. But I can't. I may be insane, and maybe I'm living a delusion, but I trust God. He told me not to sell the house. I can no more be convinced that was a lie than I can be convinced it did not rain this morning. (Thunderstormed, actually.) I believe God spoke to me, and I did not sell the house. And no matter what happens, I will still trust God. God has put himself on the line - using me. How can I do anything else but believe?

After this many of his disciples drew back and no longer went about with him. Jesus said to the twelve, "Do you also wish to go away?" Simon Peter answerd him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life; and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God." John 6:66-69 Revised Standard Version

Not everyone who trusts in faith gets what they are trusting for in this life. The book of Hebrews confirms this. In the faith chapter, immediately after telling of the wondrous miracles achieved through faith, we are told of those who got nothing.

Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and scourging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword; they went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, ill-treated - of whom the world was not worthy - wandering over deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. And all these, though well attested by their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God has forseen something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect. Hebrews 11:35-39 Revised Standard Version

You see, what I have learned in the past seven years is that faith isn't about getting what we want, or even being cared for in comfort. Faith is about trusting God, even when horrible things happen. Because they do, you know. But God is still in control. God still loves us. That - you can put your faith in.



Silver said...

I think i do have a case of stubborn faith although i do not necessarily pass all my tests with flying colours every time.

And how are we doing there, Bevie? Family okay ?


Bevie said...

We're hanging in there. We've officially lost the house, but technically we're still inside for eight more weeks.

That family is holding up. More arguments than normal, but otherwise fine.

Silver said...

:( it's a stressful time.. all those uncertainties does get to even the best of anyone.

my love and prayers and warm thoughts,


Bevie said...