Backwards Faith

Faith in humanity is flawed. We hear people say all the time say phrases like “My faith in humanity is restored” or “I’ve lost my faith in humanity”. Their faith is based on what they see or experience. If you think about it, their faith isn’t faith at all. Their faith is often actually misplaced ideas or failed, preconceived notions of how someone is going to act or how a situation is going to turn out. Their faith is backwards. They have the wrong idea.

People like to throw the word “faith” around. They think it’s a pretty word that belongs on a wall for decoration or put it on t-shirts for inspiration or make it part of a tattoo to show “depth of their mind or heart”. Faith is much more serious than we take it to be. To define faith and know what it is, the Bible is the best place to look. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see”. Faith means that we don’t always know what is going to happen, but we trust that God will do what He says He will do and that it will be for our good even when we can’t see or feel what He’s doing.

In the words of Charlie Dawes, a former professor of mine who’s Christ, Culture, and the University class I was in back in 2013 at Southeastern University, “It’s easier for us to serve a God that we created in our minds, not the God who created our minds.” It’s easier for us as flawed, human beings to live by our own rules and make God out to be something that He is not than to serve God, the One who created us and knows us inside and out. We put our faith and trust in superficial things and superficial people when we need to put our faith in the supernatural God.

I’ve recently had to have a lot of faith when it came to one particular thing: my job. I’m a P.E. coach and I have a couple of great opportunities available and I don’t know what is going to happen. On one hand, I feel really comfortable in a lot of ways in one situation and, on the other hand, a different job opportunity has arisen and has room for me to grow and progress in my career. If you’re anything like me, you like to know what is going on, what is going to happen, and when it is going to happen. I like to be mentally prepared. I’m not too great with faith most of the time. It’s not that I don’t trust God; it’s that I don’t trust myself or other people. I’m a people pleaser. I don’t want to disappoint anyone and I don’t want to be disappointed. But I know that I can’t live my life based on “what ifs”. I know that God knows what He is doing and that gives me confidence. But it’s in the time of waiting that isn’t easy. I get restless and a bit anxious.

A lot of people say that it’s the times when they have the smallest amount of faith that makes them stronger. For me, that isn’t usually true. It’s when my faith is strongest that I’m closest to God. When my trust in God is strong and my trust in myself/other people is weak, that’s when I’m the closest to God. So, when I am going through something hard, I draw closer to Jesus, which makes my faith and my relationship with Him grow stronger. So, even though hard times are terrible, I’m thankful for them. I’m thankful for times of waiting, because through these times, I have no other choice other than to lean on Jesus. Leaning on Jesus means giving up your anxiety and worry and control. It means surrendering the unknown to Him. It’s hard at first, but becomes habit once you do it over and over again and the peace that comes with it doesn’t compare to anything.

I love how Andrew Peterson writes it in his song called No More Faith:

“This is not another song about the mountains
Except about how hard they are to move
Have you ever stood before them
Like a mustard seed who’s waiting for some proof?

I say faith is a burden
It’s a weight to bear
It’s brave and bittersweet
And hope is hard to hold to
Lord, I believe
Only help my unbelief”

 

I love how honest he is in these lyrics. Faith is hard and can feel like a burden at times. We have our strong moments and our weak moments in our faith. But the smallest amount of genuine faith is all you need to begin. Genuine faith is hard and messy and takes bravery and trust. Faith isn’t about not doubting (because, let’s face it, we all doubt at some point or another), but replacing that doubt with courageous trust in the One who is the only One who knows how to deal with that doubt and trust.

So, my goal is to not put my faith in anything that is worldly. My goal is to not seek control in every situation. My goal is to put my faith in the only One who is worthy of any kind of faith and the One who created my soul; Jesus.

*Sidenote: the featured image for this post is a picture that I took a couple of months ago of a drawing from a 4 year old girl named Faith who is in my preschool Sunday school class. She thought she was writing her name correctly, but she wrote it backwards and misspelled it. It’s a perfect fit for this post.