Our family sought to discern God's leading regarding a specific decision recently, and I found myself pondering faith. As I talked with God about my wonderings, I realized that I never want to be "naive" and foolishly call it faith. That would be lacking in self-awareness and wisdom at best... not even sure I want to define what it would be at its worst. But I also do not want to evaluate faith in a formulaic and analytical way that only considers risk that seems "reasonable." That seems to be more about self-reliance than faith. I do not want to be presumptuous in my relationship with God. It would be arrogant to label "presumption" as faith. Real faith is about confidence in God... and it does require trust.
We know from the biblical story that God often works in big and unexpected ways. God is not a genie to grant our every wish... but if we are following God's lead we can be confident that extravagant, immense, expanding faith is appropriate and pleases God. I see God showing up the Biblical story in the impossible...even delighting to allow the obstacles to be overwhelming... so that His glory is displayed. Joseph was released from prison to lead Egypt through years of famine and Daniel was protected in the lion's den when entrapped by jealous rivals. David, a young fellow, defeated Goliath, a seasoned warrior, against all odds because of faith in the God of Israel. Moses' life is saved as a baby when his mother places him in a basket in the water, and God parted the Red Sea to allow his people to escape the Egyptian army. The list goes on... and on. Hebrews 11 tells us clearly that faith sometimes involves a rescue, but in essence faith is confidence in God... whether there is deliverance, or not, victory or martyrdom.
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
Indeed, by faith our ancestors received approval. Hebrews 11:1-2
My parents and grandparents provided a heritage of faith for me. I saw God show up in our story: as a child, a teen, and a young adult. So my conversation with God about faith brings me back to my relationship with God. Isn't it all about God's glory and a deepening relationship with God when we dig down to the bottom of the question? Faith is not primarily about relief or solutions—it is about God. We put our trust and confidence in God, rather than relying upon our own resources and strength. So we seek God's leading, and we take each next step as God provides discernment. May God nurture in us immense, extravagant, and boundless faith, because God is immense, infinite, and without limits. May we ask God to deepen our courage.
The picture in this email is the completed drawing I was working on when I wrote the last email. It reminds me again that as we seek discernment in our relationship with God our prayer will engage the Word of God, and we will seek the Spirit's leading within our hearts and within the community of faith.
"The cautious faith that never saws off a limb on which it is sitting, never learns that unattached limbs may find strange
unaccountable ways of not falling." Dallas Willard
Join me in the courageous journey of faith.
Is God inviting you to take a step of faith?