“Jesus loves me this I know … ”. For many, the song is ingrained in their soul; we’ve sang it since childhood. We say we believe it. Living faith is a different story.
Sometimes our hearts cry, “THIS is what love feels like?”
The bank sends a foreclosure notice.
The doctor says, “I’m sorry. There is nothing more we can do.”
A child commits suicide.
In those times, trusting in a loving God feels like falling in a bottomless pit. We want to believe in a loving God, but everything we see tells us otherwise. Then, along come our well-meaning friends with those trite truths that either rile us up or deafen our ears:
“God is good all the time.”
“All things work together for good.”
“They’re better off now; no more pain.”
“This, too, will pass.”
I have a love-hate relationship with those sayings. I hate them because they imply simplicity, which is deceitful and destructive to faith. I love them because they remind me of truths I easily forget. And in remembering, God invites me to dig below the shallow words and find the substance that will hold me in the hard times. The God of Hope dwells in the darkness. When I find hope, I enter His presence. Those trite truths serve the purpose of pointing me to God. That is a good beginning.
Really believing God loves me in the face of harsh realities takes more than a trite phrase though. Faith that becomes real, feels pain it cannot bear—and sees His nail-scarred hand holding our own. Faith that becomes real lets go of all that we trust in to take that hand. Real faith is total surrender like Job: “Though He slays me, yet will I trust Him.”
Not everyone will press in; many will succumb to “white-knuckle” Christianity. They will hold on just enough to survive. They will stay in the shallows, resisting the struggle of faith. That kind of life—survival life—is not what Jesus came to give us.
That kind of faith will not survive in the face of terrorism and social pressure to conform. Faith without works (without action) dies. Jesus came to give abundant life–a living faith that rises above earthly realities! In digging deep, we receive treasures of God, for in the depths He transforms us into Christ-likeness. True faith does not just talk; it steps into the unknown because it believes the God of Hope.
We claim to believe a lot, but the reality is we only believe that which we LIVE on a daily basis. Praise God that life forces us to take the “trite but true” sayings we all mouth, and put them to work in our lives.
Can you think of a time that happened in your life–a time when what you knew in your head became real in your life? Won’t you share it to encourage another?
Or perhaps you are facing a time when you know a truth that you can’t seem to put into action. Could we pray with you?