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Where is your faith?

Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

I want to be clear from the start about two things: one, this is not a post about money. There are mentions of money, but I promise, I’m not talking about how God is using money or lack thereof to mold me (El IS, but that’s not the main point). Two, I’m not pointing fingers. This is as much as about as it is about others.

corinne-kutz-xWjUC9heffw-unsplashSince October 1st, my family has been without cell phone coverage. We have a fairly large monthly bill, because there are five of us on the plan. That means that if we have one really rough month and can’t cover the whole thing, it snowballs fast and becomes scary big.

Being without cell phones sounds like a first world problem, and it is. But for our ministry, it’s also a fairly big deal; if Clint can’t get calls about people in need, they tend to freak out a bit. Also, a good part of our ministry is funded by the funerals Clint does for a few local funeral homes, and since they can’t get in touch, we’re now missing that income, too.

This is not a world-ending situation. Or at least we are trying not to make it so. We are doing our level-best to keep our eyes on God, God’s plan, God’s promises to us and God’s constant faithfulness.

And yet . . .

Aside from a few very supportive, loving friends, the reaction of others when we explain why we’re not answering texts or phone calls has been jarring and–okay, I’m going to say it. It’s disappointing.

Several souls to whom Clint ministers with no expectation of compensation have openly berated him for ‘letting this happen’. We’re trying to be understanding, but that response is hard and almost crushing in its nature.

Some shake their heads and say, “This is what happens when you don’t have a steady income. How do you expect to live?”

When we respond, “By God’s provision and grace,” too many of these people get a certain look in their eyes. It’s an expression that pities our naivety.

“Well . . .” they will begin. “Is that realistic?”

That’s a great question. I could give you lists of scripture where Jesus promises that if we keep our eyes on God, God will provide all of our needs. But that’s not the point here.

The point is more to those who ask that question skeptically . . . where is their faith?

Is it realistic to have faith in the goodness and mercy of God? I think so. I’ve bet my entire life on that premise.

Where is your faith?

My sweet granddaughter Delia is beginning to walk. She loves to hold onto my thumbs and walk wherever she wants. It’s been fun to feel the difference as she gets older–she used to really hang on my hands, but now I’m there mostly to help with balance. When she reaches for me and holds on, she knows Nana isn’t going to let go. She knows I’m there with her and for her. Her faith is in me, and I would turn myself inside out before I willingly let her down.

Why? Because I love her, of course. And if I am that faithful to Delia, how much more so is God to me? God loves me more than I love Delia–hard for me to believe, but it’s true.

Where is your faith?

My parents worked hard their entire lives. They made a lot of money, and they saved it, putting it away for the time when my dad retired and they could move permanently to Maui. They were very, very comfortable. They were counting on their money keeping them that way. And then my dad was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, and after living with it for five years, he died. A year later, my mother died of leukemia. All of that money in the bank was lovely, but it didn’t save their lives. It didn’t take away the pain of loss or the suffering of illness.

Where is your faith?

I can and do budget us very carefully. But one small issue–a hotel double charges me by accident, which means our other bills aren’t paid, or something goes wrong that we couldn’t anticipate, and that careful accounting comes tumbling down. If my faith is in my own ability, my own care, in the money that’s in that account, I’d be sorely disappointed.

Where is your faith?

God has provided for us spectacularly. God has been ever faithful to El’s promises. God tells me, “I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

God says, “Trust in {me} with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to {me}, and {I} will make your paths straight.”

My faith is not in people, who can disappoint me, or in WiFi or in Sprint or in my bank. My faith is not in my country, the leaders of that country, in the authors who offer the best advice. My faith is not in Amazon or Apple Books. My faith is not even in the Eagles or Army football.

“I lift up my eyes to the mountains– where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.”

Jesus reminded us, “Where your treasure is, your heart will be there also.” I think we can substitute the word faith for heart.

Will my faith be disappointed if I go another month without a cell phone? I hope not. God has a plan. My eyes are lifted up, my treasure is with God, and I will not lean on my own understanding.

There is my faith. Where is yours?

 

 

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