When Faith Becomes Real

 Prayers with no words....

When life comes crashing down or you come crashing into it, you have to decide that ultimately, Christianity is much more than raising your hand in church “with every eye closed and every head bowed.” It’s much more than inviting Jesus to live in your heart, more than flannel board stories you learned in Sunday School.

Sometimes, the truth is: Jesus is not warm and fuzzy. He is gritty, hard and real, and so is the path He invites us to tread. When you have no strength left and the sun is blocked by a pile of problems that feel like they are stacked as tall as Everest, it is then that your faith becomes real.

Ultimately, you come to the realization that while you did say yes to Him at one point, long before that He made the first move at the dawn of creation when the Trinity formed a huddle and talked about the cross. We didn’t choose Him, He chose us when He decided to come and redeem us.“You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name.” John 15:16

If you are like me, you spend lots of time life mulling that over. The rest of your life, really. And hopefully it’s when the light starts to dawn and your life begins to look different. You realize just a little bit of what it really cost Jesus. Just enough that it’s almost paralyzing.

You realize that how you treat people becomes how you treat Jesus and that’s really scary because you, like me, realize how far you still have to go. Sometimes, when I lay awake at night I think that maybe I don’t have what it takes to follow Him, to do whatever He asks.

I wonder why I get to lay in a warm bed when there are people shivering in the streets. The wondering makes me think how sad God must feel to see all the suffering He sees, while He waits to see which one of His kids will step up. I pray, “Bless those that go…..” while being thankful He’s not calling me, or is He?

Far too many times I belly up to the altar of comfort and security. I mix up my own custom batch of pre-packaged Christianity which doesn’t always line up with the Biblical version and hope it’s enough.

Thankfully, He is big enough to handle my cowardly times, which are many. Those times I keep silent when I should speak up. And He’s there for those two in the morning times when I can’t sleep and the cats know I’m restless so they gather close around me and purr. TImes like this morning when for the life of me, I couldn’t remember the next line of the 23rd Psalm, even though I know it by heart.

His love is big enough to handle a person like me who can have a mini crisis of faith at 2 in the morning and forget all about it the next day.

He gets me, because He made me. And nothing I do surprises Him. And He loves me anyway.

Today, I remembered this song we used to sing in church and it fit what I was struggling to put into words today. Maybe you identify with it too. Because it amazes me how His love is big enough to cover everything. Every little part of you and me.

His love is deep, His love is wide
And it covers us
His love is fierce, His love is strong
It’s furious
His love is sweet, His love is wild
And it’s waking hearts to life…….

“Furious” Jeremy Riddle

In the early morning hours

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I thank you God for still loving me despite the crazy thoughts, those prayers wrapped in fear that I whisper in the dark. Thank you for enfolding me in your love after I have dumped all my garbage in your lap.

Thank you for always meeting me, no matter what time it is. Bound up as we are in these hours between day and night we sometimes forget that you are outside the constraints of it. You’re always awake, nothing slips your notice, Lord.

Time and time again I am surprised when you don’t reject me. Instead you throw Your arms open wide as you nudge me towards your Word, which is the source of all comfort.

This morning, when I knew I wouldn’t go back to sleep, I started the coffee and grabbed the big heavy robe. The one I always reach for when I just can’t seem to get warm. I went outside under the canopy of stars, my fingers wrapped around my coffee mug, and I looked at the constellations and saw that they were all still there and saw it again for the miracle it is.

I went back inside and opened my devotional book to this:

You can live as close to me as you choose, I set up no barriers between us; neither do I tear down barriers that you erect……Sarah Young, “Jesus Calling”

And then towards the bottom,

I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, I will meet all your needs according to my glorious riches. Nothing in all creation will be able to separate you from My love.

Beautiful lines of Scripture from Genesis, Philippians, and Romans. It was all the confirmation I needed.

Big Red