There once was a father desperate for his son to be healed of a condition they didn’t know how to cure. He and his family had tried everything they knew, to no avail…except one. In desperation, in tears, and a plea for compassion, they approached a man whose reputation they’ve only heard of…a miracle worker of sorts…to see if he could do anything for their son. This man replied, “if you can believe, all things are possible to him that believes.” Immediately, the father cries out, “Lord, I believe!” And…I’m sure…in a moment of self-reflection and self-realization…then said, “help my unbelief”. (Mark 9:17-25)
Fast forward to our day… How many of us have listened to the news, seen and experienced the troubles of this day…in our nations, communities, homes, families, and selves…, and have just grown weary of it all? How many of us have lost our belief in any hope that anything will get better in our lifetime? That the next guy who’s got it all figured out and has the solution to it all is really only lying to us…to leave us desperate, crying, exasperated, and empty-handed…over and over again? How many of us have said, “I believe that!”….but really, inside, there’s that part of us that still pleads, “please help that part of me that still doesn’t believe…just yet.”
Crises…storms…tragedies…hard times… These have a way of waking us up…to who we really are inside.
I believe that *we need a reason* to put our trust in the Lord. Sometimes, We need to realize that there’s a storm (or crisis) around us…and that we’re going to have to go through it. However, even though we may not know the intensity of the storm around us, we may still be able to walk through it….seemingly unaffected, like the Lord…as long as we redirect our focus upon the Lord. I just have to remember that we’re inside a storm and not in a sunny, picnic-worthy day.
I guess, for many, they probably don’t need to know that there’s a storm to begin with. I’m sure others are more faithful than me…and that they don’t need the to see the danger to see the need to have faith. They’re just unconditionally faithful. And to them, it’s probably a built-in gift. Faith…built in by design. It’s a gift that I admire in others who automatically and naturally have faith in the Lord. To me, people with faith are natural risk-takers: they are confident enough to step out into unknown, unfamiliar territory. They do so with no assurance other than “we’ll make it”. (Some of my siblings are like this.) However, that’s a gift that’s not built-in-by-design for me. I’m fearful by default. I shrink more readily than I stand. Faith is a gift I have to learn, develop, and earn. That’s probably why I place more value in needing to focus my life on the Lord when I realize that my life is in danger or at risk without Him….than if I see no reason to focus on Him. Maybe I’m “faithful by emergency”. It’s probably not the best reason to be faithful, I’m sure. I probably just need to trust Him…regardless of what’s going on around me. I fear that without being able to see the storms around me, I will just get complacent. A personal weakness…but maybe even a strength as well. Some people need a storm as a reminder that they need Christ….because they tend to forget from time to time. I’m one of those. I don’t have an “auto-faithful” setting.
Maybe that’s why I am this way: ”faithful by need” and not “faithful by design”. It’s to help me improve my faith, to help me understand faith, to learn the value of faith, and to know how to use faith…to help prepare me for one of my roles in this world: To wake people up, and myself, to have faith in the Lord…to rely on Him. Many people just have to be aware and awake first before they realize that faith in the Lord becomes critical. Know the storm you’re dealing with, and you’ll realize why you need faith in the Lord. When I think everything is fine, I feel no need. Opening your eyes to the storm does. At least it does, for me.
To all those who are already aware of the storms around us…and can still live peacefully, faithfully, day to day: Thank you for your faith…because it’s one more stake in the ground to steady the tent of Zion. It’s one more anchor for the sapling of faith still growing in my heart.