Sometimes this faith journey goes pretty smoothly and it is easy to express your trust and dependence on God.
At other times it feels lonely, frightening and sad. I have been navigating the latter reality of late.
I give grace and it is not returned. Every street feels like it is one-way. Dear friends are deeply wounded by people who claim to be following Jesus. I agonize over how these believers can wound so deeply and still say they know Christ? Marriage vows are abandoned at the altar of self. Illness ravages families and friends. I question my ability to have any impact for Christ as I stumble clumsily through my own journey.
It is at these crossroads that we realize how much we are really trusting God. A song by Jason Gray resonated with me. Most of Jason’s songs do resonate with me and I am beginning to suspect he has a spy camera on my faith walk. The song is titled “A Way To See In The Dark” and it captures my recent experience.
Here I am
Begging for certainty again
But simple trust
Is what you're asking me to give
If I am saved
You tell me it will not be by sight
Simple trust. A simple concept that is anything but simple to live out. And yet I am convinced that the simple act of trust and faith pleases God more than any blog I can write, good deed I can perform or gift I can offer. The truth is that all of those things flow naturally out of trust anyway. I try to reverse the order by doing, giving and performing to try and “beef” up my trust. I think God is saying during these days to quit flailing and start trusting.
The question mark
Hung at the end of every fear
Is answered by
The promise that you are with me here
And that's all I've got
I believe God’s promises intellectually. During times like these He is asking me to believe them in my heart. The key is to keep my eyes on Jesus and His grace. Peter learned that lesson during a literal storm.
Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from land, for a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting heavy waves. About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. In their fear, they cried out, “It’s a ghost!” But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here!” Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.”
“Yes, come,” Jesus said.
So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted.
Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?” (Matthew 14, NLT)
It is so easy to judge Peter while I am busy doing the same thing. Hypocrisy is really annoying. Peter made the same mistake that I made recently. He took his eyes off of Jesus and looked at the storm. The waves and wind are terrifying when you face them alone. But I don’t have to. And neither do you. I write a lot about community and the need for others. There are times when all of us need to focus on Jesus and Jesus alone. Grace reminds me that when I fail Jesus will immediately reach out and grab me at the instant I call out to Him. So I find myself at peace today. Circumstances are only marginally better but my focus is back where it should be. There is a way to see in the dark. Jason Gray says it well.
As I reach for your hand in the night
When the shadows swallow the light
'Cause I'm giving up, giving in
Once again a childlike faith
Is my only way
To see in the dark
Dave Burchett is the author of “When Bad Christians Happen to Good People”.