As long as I live there will be something worth fighting for, worth writing for, and worth dying for.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

It All Comes Back to Faith

"Jessica, do you trust God enough to know that if you are honest, He will take care of you?"

I'd just been shot. I placed the newly-folded shirt, in the dresser drawer and stepped away. I pulled the phone from its perch between my shoulder and ear and collapsed onto my bed.

"Jess, are you still with me?"

"I'm here, I had never really thought of it that way before....WOW."

Abby is probably one of the most respected women in my life. A dear friend for the last 4 years since we were roommates our first year of college. She is one of the few that I know I can always look to for the sound, level, you-may-not-like-what-I-am-about-to-say-but-you-are-going-to-hear-it-anyway advice. Again, she did not disappoint.

This gnawing at my conscience, this grief, this guilt. Was it possible that it was not just conviction over concealing the truth but also a lack of faith?

The situation is a touchy one, to be sure. I am at a point right now that I am fairly certain I will no longer be working here in August. My employer doesn't know yet, and telling could lead to an early, unpaid exit or a couple weeks of vacation that will be time without pay. Frankly, I can't afford either; we need the money. Therein lies my dilemma. As I sit through meetings like I did yesterday and hear co-workers discuss plans for August, guilt probably doesn't begin to describe what washes over me. After that conversation last night, I know now what that emotion is:

It is a broken fellowship.

I thought hard through the rest of our conversation and into the night. I woke this morning and read through Matthew 6. You know, the part about seeking the kingdom of God.

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

We humans like the 'and all these things shall be added unto you' part. We zip through everything else, emphasizing how God will take care of us, how He promises to meet our needs, etc, etc, etc, me, me, me, us, my. We read the 'Seek ye first' but I think we do not understand how that looks. What does that mean? To seek God's kingdom first. Not only His kingdom, but His righteousness. That is the portion that jumped out to me this morning. You know what it said?

Jessica, you do what you know is right. Make that your priority, I will take care of the rest. I have called My people to be honest, to be truthful. Pursue My righteousness.

Why is that so hard for us? Because we humans are too logical. If I tell, I lose my vacation time, which means 2 weeks with no paycheck, which is bad. Therefore, to help God in providing my needs (said with sarcasm) I must not tell. Because, after all, we all know God needs my help (sarcasm, again).

It really does all come back to faith. In any decision there are two options: serving God, or serving self. You can't serve both of them. But, do we trust God enough to do what we know He would have us do, and not worry that He will provide? That's a tall order for a small faith, but it defines the heros of faith.

Read through Hebrews 11. By faith so-and-so, did something that totally defies all human comprehension and, in turn, God did such-and-such which also completely defies all human comprehension and so-and-so was blessed beyond all human comprehension. Our human comprehension and logic doesn't make room for faith, at all. Even the definition of faith blows logic to the moon:

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen

Faith is what hope is made of. Faith is the evidence of the invisible. My faith is the proof of my God. WOAH! My actions, my attitudes, are defined by my faith, by my trust in God. Do I trust God enough, do I have enough faith to do what He has called me to do, even when it makes no sense? I'm not saying to go jump off a bridge and trust God to catch you. That is straight-up stupid. This is about the little things. The choices I make, based on that faith will show my God to the world, will set me apart from those who make decisions based on logic. Everything, all of it, every move I make, every step I take, is not motivated by fear, or doubt, or even adrenaline. It all really does come back to faith.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

The Climb

This weekend, I was privileged to observe 'real' rock climbing for the first time in my life. Around a camp fire, many spritual parallels were drawn from the experience. Neat how God does that :-)

Saturday, a brave team of young women *ahem* excuse me- a brave team of beastly mountain women (lol)-went to climb a rock. Not just any rock, mind you, this was a 40 ft tall moss covered crevice that was nearly smooth. The general idea was to climb up the rock to the top and repel back down. The progression of events was rather comical. Two people made it up the rock, one person made it down and 15 people got drenched in a torrential downpour. Makes for some fun memories.

For me, the most impacting part of the day was a particular climber. She was having the hardest time getting past the first ten feet of rock. She would try one way, slip and fall, would try another way and, again, slip and fall. Blood was literally running down her one leg, but she continued to try. Leaders at the top and the bottom were trying to coach her on where to put her feet and hands, when finally, her belayer said, "Just hold the rope, I'll pull you up so you can get past this part and then go from there."

That's how it is sometimes in this rock climb that we call life. There are those who have gone before who are coaching and encouraging, but sometimes the current struggle is just too hard to bear. Don't give up; keep going. Call out for help and it will come. There are times in life, when despite all of the Christian friends around us, the only one we can hold to is God. He alone becomes our only hope of getting through.

A friend said that pulling on the rope reminded her of the jist of the poem 'Footprints.' It is God who is carrying us. At times, we just have to completely depend on Him and have Him help us through. Our Help, our Fortress, our Rope that will never break.