Friday, April 14, 2023

A Question of Faith

At this point, I promise you that there are many who are upset with the conversation we have been having this week. They want to stop me, to pull me aside, and to tell me, "If you don't live in expectant hope every single day of your life, then there's a big problem with your faith. Especially if you feel like it's always Saturday." 

I appreciate the sentiment; I really do. This is what the church taught for many, many years. Too many years, really. This is the kind of faith heritage that was passed on to several of the generations that are still living (and to several before them). We have been told that if we ever have questions, if we ever have doubts, if we ever forget, if we ever don't believe, even for a second, then the problem is our faith. 

But that's not really faith. That's superstition. That's fingers crossed, not hands folded. 

It's a faith whose God can't stand up to questioning. It's a faith whose hope cannot bear the real world. It's a faith that has to live in a small box painted with pretty pictures or else, it feels fragile and there's the fear that it might all come crumbling down. Or worse, that God Himself might be disappointed in you and condemn you to Hell for your "unbelief." 

It's not, however, the kind of faith that we see in the Bible. 

See, the days of the Bible are filled with average days. Regular days. Days that don't require a particularly large measure of faith. Days when, yes, even guys like David didn't pray all day. Days when they went about their business, knowing God but not entirely focused on Him. 

Adam and Eve walked around the garden in the cool of the day. They picked fruits (not forbidden fruits). They ate them. They hung out together. They hung out with God. They were not bowed down in perpetual worship all the time, spending their entire lives on their knees in deference. David was not constantly in prayer. Solomon wasn't begging for wisdom every day. 

There comes a point where our faith must be living, and as we've talked about this week, if we're constantly focused on a tomorrow-hope, we aren't living today. We're not. We're always living in some time that is not real to us, some place that is disconnected from our own space. We're not living our real life, and if we're not living our real life, then we aren't practicing our real faith, no matter how much hope it is that we think we're clinging to. No matter how much faith-sounding talk we fill our mouths with. No matter how much time we spend on our knees.

God isn't the God of the unreal; He's the God of the here and now. The actual stuff we have. The actual lives we're living. And He wants us to live them. 

Some days, that means we stop waiting for Sunday and start living the Saturday that we have. That's not unfaithful; it's real faith. 

It's faith that lives not only with the questions, but in them. It's faith that isn't demolished by doubt, even if it shakes a little bit. It's faith that knows even what it does not see, and knows it so well that it doesn't have to cling desperately to it; it can simply trust in the goodness of God because even on Saturday, it is so, so real. That's faith. 

So don't let yourself think that "giving in" to Saturday means you're giving up your faith. Quite the opposite, actually. You're taking hold of the kind of faith that God has desired for you from the start. Real faith isn't afraid of Saturday. 

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