Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Leap of Faith

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. -Hebrews 11:1

I know the theme of this blog carnival is 'trust', but I can't think of trust without thinking about faith. Faith is more than just believing 'in', it also includes believing 'on' (or unto, for you King James fans). The former is intellectual, the second results in action. It's like believing in Santa Claus- you may believe he lives at the North Pole and keeps a list (and is checking it twice!), but you trust that if you're good he'll bring you lots of presents.

Unfortunately, for many our faith in God is like our children's faith in Santa Claus. We behave a certain way 'trusting' that we'll get something good in return. Even though "in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28), what is 'good' for God isn't necessarily good for us. After all, Jesus still suffered and died, but we insist that was good.

So we have to trust when whatever we're going through, God is in control. Easier said than done.

"As they were walking along the road, a man said to [Jesus], 'I will follow you wherever you go.'

Jesus replied, 'Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.'

He said to another man, 'Follow me.'

But the man replied, 'Lord, first let me go and bury my father.'

Jesus said to him, 'Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.'

Still another said, 'I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-by to my family.'

Jesus replied, 'No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.'" (Luke 9:57-62)

Interestingly, right after this passage in Matthew 8, we are told the story of Jesus' disciples being afraid while caught in a storm on the Sea of Galilee. What was Jesus doing at the time? Sleeping. After they woke him up, his response was simple, "You of little faith, why are you so afraid?" (Matthew 8:26)

Nowhere is trust and faith more evident than in the addiction ministry in which I serve. The biggest challenge for any addict is to resign control and trust in God. (In AA, the first 3 steps are based on this truth.) Recently we told one young man that he needed to make a very specific, and challenging, lifestyle change. He balked at the suggestion. Instead of beating him over his head with 'why', we simply encouraged him to go home and pray about it. Reminding him that God knows what he needs better than he does or we do.

The brother who leads that ministry likes to use his own personal example. Before he became a disciple of Jesus and committed to carrying his cross daily, he was afraid of the implications of such trust. (In fact, this was when he was struggling with the third step in AA.) He thought, "If I commit to God, he'll send me someplace like China and I don't want to go to China." A few years later, he was in China to adopt his daughter. He says, "not only did I want to go, I was praying to get there sooner!"

Who knows where our next step will take us? Who knows what God has in store? But that's trust. Stepping out on trust requires a leap of faith.


Helen said...

I never saw that movie. I never thought of a step of faith being like that.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed this.

I completely believe that you can't have faith without trust, or trust without faith.

Thanks for posting!

R. Holloway said...

Thank you so much for your addictions ministry. I'm sure you get a lot of opportunity to witness trust in action.

katdish said...

Okay first of all - I love that clip. We've used that same clip to illustrate faith. Loved this post. You're in a challenging ministry, and I will pray for continued strength and endurance.

jasonS said...

I can't see the clip, but this is a great post. Thanks.

Peter P said...

Great post!

I would never have thought of using an Indiana Jones clip for a post about trust!