Fear the Walking Faith…It’s a journey!

He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20

Oh how our faith can waver sometimes.
It seems that the gusting of a slight breeze of discord or worry can shake our quivering feet of faith.

Have you ever come to a moment of realization that your faith is not as deep as you once thought it was? We all encounter times, while on this journey, where the feel as though we have entered into the desert and we are found lacking in our resolve and fortitude. This journey will take us into places that require us to dig a little deeper and to endure the dry and thirsty places – where we find ourselves questioning everything and reaching further for God…who seems to have gone silent.

Have you been to this place?

I remember when I first learned to swim.
My parents would take me into the deeper part of the waters where my feet couldn’t touch and then let go of me, and as they let go of me they step back out of my reach. I remember there was a momentary panic. The saving hands were no longer on me and I found myself struggling to keep my head above the waters. I remember having to reach out my arms while kicking my feet so that I could reach the safety again. As I did this, without realizing, I began to swim by myself for the first time.

My intentions were not to swim. My intention was to reach the safe arms of my parents who were just out of reach.

There is growth within the tension and fear.
Growth that can only take place when we are left to our own devices.
Growth that can only transpire within the turmoil and desert places of our faith journey.

It is as if God steps back from us, and we are faced with the seemingly terrifying notion that we must step into the deep alone. The truth is that we are most certainly not alone, but rather there is growth that is only found in desert. And so we step out, unsure of ourselves…unsure if we can reach those safe arms of Christ again.

Remember Peter on the waters before Jesus?
He is asked to step out into a turbulent, uncertain space.
Peter takes a couple of steps, loses sight of the arms of Christ and begins to sink.
He takes his eyes off of Jesus.
He considers the impossibilities of such a journey.
He must have recalled his inability to do this feat, and as the doubt sinks in so does Peter.

We often chastise Peter for his lack of faith.
We often sermonize this passage to implicate the lack of resolve that ‘the Rock’ had…
But where were the other disciples?
Do we read about their steps of faith on the waters? No.
They were still in the boat watching it all go down.

We have to get out of our boats.
We will encounter dry and thirsty times in our faith journey.
It will feel as if we are all alone out in the wilderness, but we are not alone.
God steps back and watches us within the tension of deeper waters.
And it is within those deeper spaces that we grow.
It is through perseverance that our character and the very image of Christ becomes clearer in us.

Some have turned back and returned to the safe places.
Some have given up because they have felt abandoned.
Others have persevered and they have grown.
The Lord desires all of us to deepen our faith, and so these times of dryness should be seen as opportunities to grow up into this amazing faith.

Being like Jesus isn’t easy.
It takes determination and desire on our part.
Are you prepared to allow God to deepen your faith?
Is it your desire to get off of spiritual baby formula and begin to feast on more sustainable spiritual nourishment?

Take that next step…don’t be afraid, He’s got you, and He isn’t far from you right now!

Something more to ponder today.

A Pondering On Injustice…

You know what I have trouble with?
injusticeInjustices.

Those moments in life when,
both big and small injustices take place.
It is mind boggling that there are people in our world who
truly do not care about other people at all.
It goes far beyond being inconsiderate.
It’s about self-preservation over anyone else’s needs.
These injustices are fueled by greed.
These injustices are fueled by selfishness, power, anger, covetousness…evilSometimes I get so angry at these injustices…
If I were truly honest
I get more angry at the people who perpetrate these injustices.  revenge
much so that I want to exact my own kind of justice.

So much so that I sometimes imagine watching them regret their decisions
fighting fire with fire
a tooth for a tooth.

Sometimes, in my mind
I take on this role of judge, jury and executioner.
sometimes, I let this fantasy taint how I see other people…
And within that lens
I am better than them.
I am the pious one.
I am the perfect one.
Then I realize that I am a
hypo

I have become a  ——pharisee

So busy looking for
the flaws in others
that I have neglected
to look at my own Heart.

How dare I do such a thing…and yet it’s done every day.
Am I the only one in this —-
boatAm I the only one?
I don’t think so.
Are there injustices in this world?  absolutely_whiteShould we fight against these?
Yes.
but then I am reminded of another verse:
sin

And I am reminded how lost some people are.
I am reminded that despite our hopeless situations
Christ STILL died for us.
Despite our evil ways.
Despite our ignorance and selfishness
He still died for us.

Then another thing strikes me
like being struck across the face.
I.  am. not. the judge.
I am. not. the. one. who. exacts. ultimate. justices.

Can I fight against injustices in this world?
Yes.
But first…I must contend with my own heart.
But first…I must pluck out the board in my own eye.
But first…I must practice sacrificial, Christ-like love for my enemies.

It is here at this cross roads that I continue my journey…journey

How about you?

The Journey (Poem)

The journey is long

the path is caked in dust

and rocks, the donkey 

lumbers on as each rut

and aching stride ushers another

exhale of air in Mary 

as contractions continue.  

There isn’t fan fare 

or folly, 

This. Is. Difficult! 

With gritting teeth and concern

Joseph tries his best to make 

the journey as comfortable as possible

while other along the path 

catch and pass them by…

this is going to take a while.

How humble a journey, 

certainly not an entrance of a king, 

not to mention the King of Kings. 

Yet with this journey 

it brings us new life and hope.

With this journey 

all of nature leans in 

and whispers praises 

as Mary groans with another 

aching mile passing by…

this is going to take a while.  

Image

I’ll Fight!

 

In the years that I have lived, loved and groaned

I have never known the hunger pangs of children

I have never witnessed a child dying from the curable

because resources and money was lacking.

Image

I have never found pleasure in a single morsel of rice

because this was all I would eat in a week.

I have never been witness to the slaughter of my parents

because they believed in Jesus.

Image

I have never had to watch as my brothers and sisters

were sold into slavery on the human trafficking market,

loaded up in boxed trucks by the dozens like animals

heading to market…

Image

Yet I know it exists.

I know that many still today find grace in one ray of sunshine

in the midst of hell and fury of hate.

I know children go hungry as militant leaders steal

their wealth and resources and make child soldiers out of them.

I know Aids has killed and will kill entire generations in Africa

leaving orphans in its wake.

I know human slavery hasn’t been eradicated

but is extricating the innocent still to a shortened life of horror.

Image

I know.

But how can we end this?

How can we bring food to the hungry,

safety to the threatened

and cures to the dying?

My heart yearns to help.

My heart groans to give aid.

I want to fight this.

I want to stand in the gap for those who cannon for themselves.

I want to bring the light of Christ into darkened places.

To be a place of safe harbor to the lives clinging to death.

Lord how?

Image

How can we fight this?

How can we go?

How can we soldier on?

How do we shine when all we want to do cry and weep over

the evils of man?

This fight must begin and end with You!

Your strength.

Your peace.

Your discernment.

Your empowering arms of love.

Father, we cry out to You in a world

sin sick and broken.

Be our salve.

Be our shield.

Our fortress.

Our deliverance.

Our Victory.

I’ll fight!

I’ll fight on!

I’ll fight on into your victory!

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The Path and New Directions (Poem)

pathway

The road drags on

Out into the vast distance

Its dust, blanket enfolded

Stretching out its forked

tongue, sometimes cumbersome

sometimes joy beyond refrain.

Often to the lowly traveler

beckoned  forward out past

horizons never fathomed

snaked upon winding roads

sometimes curved, and sometimes rugged

yet no blame can fall

upon the chosen path.

All devices and illusions

brought together by our choice

from departing consequence

to arriving destination

we, not the path are its creator.

Some, though waylaid, stop

along the trail a time or two

a destination -not the goal

but rather in the journey itself.

What of my journey?

Is there joy?  Fulfillment?

How often have I become consumed?

Overtaken by life’s ebbs and flows?

Can I start again?  Certainly not

from the original beginning…

but I know I must and so I take

the next turn and with the breeze

at my back, I smile and take

in each breath, each moment

a gift and not a curse.

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