Breaking the Clichés of FaithThursday, November 03, 2016
When things get too tough for me, that still small voice never fails to resound in my heart:
“Just trust God.”
“There is a reason and purpose for this.”
“Just pray about it.”
“Everything will be fine.”
However, it has reached a point where it is no longer coming from a posture of faith but mere familiarity.
It is more of taking the easy way out, of avoiding the struggle and easing my burdens by not facing the problem. And instead of meditating on the reality of God's Word, it has just become merely a feel-good mantra. While there is really nothing wrong with this, I have learned that this attitude is the end-point, the death of a supposed ardent and passionate faith.
Last June, I had an opportunity to join our Ten Days Missions Trip to Sri Lanka leaving for the month of October. With nearly four months to prepare, I had all the confidence. Anyway, I have already mastered the art of packing my luggage an hour before any flight. I postponed, delayed my preps and was pretty chill about it—because…faith.
With three weeks left for me, I needed to raise my support and fund – an amount which I had never earned or saved in my entire existence; I needed to file for my 15-day leave, which I am (officially) no longer entitled to. Basically, I needed a miracle. Those weeks left, suddenly felt like years. I had long days filled with long checklists, lists of partners to contact, letters to write, to-dos and whatnots.
It felt like being in that boat amidst the great windstorm, faced of surging waves and gushing winds – with my Savior Jesus sleeping on the stern, with a soft hand-painted cushion. I am going to drown any moment now. Why did I even sign up for this Trip!!! *fades to black*
And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” 39 And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” 41 And they were astonished and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”
When Jesus invites you to go somewhere, He isn’t solely in any business of getting you across that lake. In the passage, His disciples had been hanging around with Him for quite some time already. They probably got used to Him doing wonders, miracles, healing the sick, etc. This time, Jesus allowed them to see more of Him, more of who He is. So that they grow some more faith. In the same way, He calls you to increase, enlarge and grow your faith. We are not after met goals, completed support and checked lists. Faith, first and foremost, is being enthusiastic in finding opportunities to encounter Him, to recognize Him and to glorify Him!
True faith changes, consumes and moves you. It moves you to depths and heights. It makes you come alive. It compels you to action. In those three weeks, it meant showing up in team meetings with no guarantee if you could ever go. It meant getting that flight to Sri Lanka booked with nothing but peace in your stormy heart, assured that God would come through. It meant sending that support letter even when you had 1000 reasons why this certain person ‘might’ not give. It meant sharing the Gospel as you share why you need to go to the nations even when you feel like they would judge you.
My Ten Days Missions Support was completed on the day of the deadline. I had my leave approved five days before our departure. I was able to go to Sri Lanka! Yet, all of these were just crumbs of bread – a little appetizer, I realized. The main feast happens when you get to moments that allow you to grow deeper in your relationship with Him. When you know more about who He is and who He can be in your life. When you get to hear His voice clearly and you are enabled to do things you have never imagined doing. When your fear and reluctance melt before the love, peace, and assurance He gives you.
Faith does not get tired of God typically doing good things for, in and through you; faith would only expect Him to do even better. It doesn't settle in knowing that there is a purpose, it delights in the thrill of seeking that purpose. Faith leaves you astonished. It is knowing you didn't sign up for meaningless doings (aka religion) but discovering the beauty in becoming. In becoming better. Becoming braver. Becoming closer to Him.
Wherever you are at now, whether you are going through a tough time, or you are having the best time of your life – find it as a precious opportunity to encounter God and to know Him deeper.
Only dead faith has room for clichés. True faith seeks for its Author and delights on His faithfulness -- faithfulness that has been tremendously and undeniably constant.
Yes, not cliché, only constant.