Monday, November 6, 2023

Wasting Time

What is faith?

It's the question we all want to answer. Whether we've been at this for five hours or fifty years, we all still seem to wrestle with knowing what faith really is. What does it look like?  How does it act? Are we doing it right?

Even in those moments when we're certain that we know what faith is, we still have questions about it. Which seems weird when I say it like that, but here's a scenario for you: 

Imagine that you are facing a big decision in your life. Whatever it might be. You've done all the research. You've agonized over all of the information. You've prayed, but there hasn't been a super-clear answer. You've made your pros and cons lists. You've thought long and hard about what you would like and what you would accept and what is non-negotiable for you. But at the end of the day, you realize that you really can't predict, let alone control, what happens next. So the only reasonable thing to to trust God. 

And this feels like faith. This feels like you're getting it right. You might even pat yourself on the back because you've come to this amazing place of recognition where you are putting God first. 

That's great. 


But what are you trusting God for

That is naturally the next question that we ask ourselves. What's interesting about this question is that it leads us into a sort of circular reasoning. When we ask what we're trusting God for, we go back into our data, into our lists, into our prayer, begging God to show us what we're trusting Him for. Which is...basically the same as what we did in the first place. When He didn't answer us the first time. 

Oh, no, Lord. I'm not asking You to show me what the answer is...I'm asking You to help me trust that the answer is coming, so I just need to know what the answer is so that when it happens, I will know that it was You. 

And we inevitably come back, slowly but surely, to the place where we realize that we can neither predict, let alone control, what happens next, so the only reasonable thing to to trust God. 

But trust God for what

And back we go again. 

See, we understand at the heart level, even at the gut level, that it's not enough to just "trust God." We understand that that is a phrase that has no depth, no meaning to it. It allows us to step back and take a completely hands-off approach to our own life. We'll call it "living in surrender," but very, very few of us have the ability to actually take hold of whatever God gives us because we've so "surrendered" our lives that we're afraid to even touch them any more. What we're actually doing is living a stoic kind of existence where we pretend not to care and pretend to have no legitimate connection to our own lives. 

This not only sucks all of the joy and depth and wonder and meaning out of our lives, but it's a faith-crusher. Yes, you heard me right - we can come to a place in our lives where we decide to "trust God" and it can kill our faith. Because it's all so detached from...everything. Including itself. 

But Aidan, I hear you saying, how am I supposed to trust God if I don't know what the answer is? How am I supposed to trust in the outcome if I don't know what it's supposed to be, what God desires it to be? What God has willed it to be? How am I supposed to trust God without the details? 

Well, let's talk about it. 

Because the way we're doing it now, all we're really doing is wasting time. Wasting holy time. 

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