November 15, 2010

Flaky Faith

Unfeigned faith

Paul mentioned Timothy’s unfeigned faith (2 Timothy 1:2-5) but what KIND of faith is unfeigned faith? The Greek word anupokritos means “sincere”.

A phone call discussion with a dear friend prompted me to begin examining how sincere my faith is. You see, she wondered how I could write so “positively” when much in my life is in upheaval. Was I being phony? Flaky?

It was an interesting conversation and one that I took no offense to at all. In fact, I invite friends to give honest feedback and to hold me accountable.

Faith Unfeigned

Christians have their version of motivational speakers and I definitely do not want to be one. Also, I do not want to oversimplify nor over-spiritualize trials.

So what is it that I attempt to portray in my “penning”? Often the words that I write are my own prayers to Him as I pour out sorrow and pain. Sometimes I sense that my words are also meant for others so I want to point them to Him as He is the only One who gives hope.

Deep within my very soul I am aware that not “all things work together for good for all those that love Him” in this life but it will in the one to come. For some, the price and call of the gospel may be to follow Him along a faith journey that is full of suffering.

It is well with my soul

This is the song written after a tragedy by Horatio Spafford after the drowning death of his beloved daughters. There is beauty in these words even while in the midst of storm and sorrow.

I find myself encouraging my own soul to seek Him and to anchor myself in His word. It is well with my soul only when I come before Him pouring out all that concerns me. I never want to give the impression that I rush through the healing journey as this may be what happened to Horatio Spafford. Further research also finds Spafford’s founding a controversial religious commune that bordered on apostasy.

I may go on to write about other things but believe me when I confess that I still continue to bring my woundedness to Him. In some ways, it is His gift to me because it is those things that drive me to Him for my daily bread (and sanity).

Unrealistic expectation

I pray that my words never leave you with unrealistic expectations. Christianity has a very high price to pay and each of us is called to an individual walk before Him. I take very seriously the admonition Paul gave to Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:16 (NIV)

“Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.”

God works through suffering, sorrow and trials. He proves us, He tests us and He transforms us from the inside out. My faith proclaims that “God is sovereign” and by faith, I take my problems to Him. He is faithful when I am not. He holds on to me when I let go. He lifts me up when I fall. He is my anchor that holds me firm in the midst of howling storms.

There may be a positive outcome here on earth but if not, I bow my knees to Him knowing that my life is in His hands.

Sincere faith not flaky or flat

When my son was in elementary school there was a book series about a character called “Flat Stanley”. He was flat and could slip under doors and even travel by mail. I never want to be a “Flat Stanley” and I pray that my words will be honest, true, gracious and yet with much depth.

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