Friday, December 2, 2016

On Believing

The other night, deeply troubled as I was in my spirit (over something, I might add, that is so very small in the grand scheme of all things), I laid in my bed and prayed for God to come over me and, without getting into the details, "handle it." A sudden, but complete, sense of peace washed slowly over me, and I fell asleep with a small little smile on my face.

But upon waking the next morning, I began to consider again the plight that I had prayed over the night before, the one that God had so powerfully responded to. I began to consider my options, to investigate potential next steps I might be taking, to make phone calls and start to put some plans in place.

And then I marveled at how quickly, how seamlessly, how easily I went from needing God, to receiving Him, to thanking and praising Him, to dismissing Him and going after it again on my own. And the honest truth is that what I prayed for that night, what I received from God in that very instant, I didn't really think was the kind of thing God actually does. He did it. I mean, He absolutely did it, and still, I fell asleep grateful and still knowing that it's not the kind of thing God does. 

At least not permanently.

To be honest with you, I'm not quite sure where I picked up this theology, this idea that God is able to do things, but He only does them temporarily, to give us a chance to catch our breaths and faithfully, diligently go back after them with fresh energies. He only does things to give us a glimpse into what it will be like, to fuel our desire to make them permanent in our own lives. He only does them, maybe, for show. Or to prove that He can. Then, He turns around and says, "Now, really trust Me, and maybe you can have it forever."

This is not the God I worship, but apparently, it's the one I pray to. This is not the God I read about in the Bible. This is not how I think God works in anyone's life. Except, apparently, mine. 

I don't read the Scriptures, the Gospels, in particular, and think that the blind men probably went home and fell back into darkness after only a short time. I don't think the deaf had their ears closed once more. I don't see the demonaic walking into the city and then figure that later, he returned to the cemetery and chained himself up. I don't see the lame getting halfway home with their mats, then lying down on them again. 

But I see myself waking up and having to do something about the very real problems that God very powerfully responded to just hours before. 

I am well-slept, but ill-kept. 

The funny thing is, I would tell you that I don't have trouble believing in God. I don't have trouble trusting Him. I know who He is. I turn to Him with my troubles routinely. I believe in the things that He's done for me, trust in the ways that He's guided me. I live my life by faith; it's my go-to. And yet, there are still these things, still these moments, when I, too, have to cry out, "Help my unbelief!" But it's not even that I don't believe; it's that I believe only shortly, when what I need is a persistent faith.

What I need is a faith not that goes to sleep praising, but that wakes believing. (Or, you know, both.) That's harder. I don't know why, but that's harder. In that split second before your heart remembers, it forgets, and that's where doubt pounces. 

I'm getting there, I think. At least, I hope and I pray that I am. In the mornings, I pray for persistent faith, for a faith that continues to believe in all of the things I've received at night. And one day, perhaps, in that split second before my heart remembers, it will remember, at least, to not forget. I'm getting there.

I think. 

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