2000-09-27 - Simple Faith
Genesis 1:1 (NIV) In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Have you ever had the dreadful experience of having your car run out of gas or even the spurting of the motor as you try to coast your way to the gas station? Have you noticed that you can only coast for so long unless, of course, you are coasting down a hill? This reminds me of my son on his skateboard. He coasts down the driveway, yet pumps his little feet back up the hill. When we run out of spiritual "gas" and when we quit "pumping," we coast downhill.
As my faith in God grows, I reach plateaus where I coast along. Smugly and complacently, I convince myself all is well in the spiritual department of my life. I will just coast on in from here. Heaven is waiting. But God has effective ways of getting our attention focused back on Him and out of the coasting mode. These moments are the defining moments in our lives -- the types of moments when events happen that change our viewpoint, direction and focus in life. We are going one way and God intercepts us, or uses events to put us back in gear, fill our spiritual gas tank back up with faith and send us on our spiritual growth path which draws us closer to Him.
The older I become and the more I study the Bible, the greater my understanding of faith. Two verses come to mind:
Hebrews 11:1 (NIV) Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
My faith was rocked to the core this summer. It was stripped down to the lowest foundation upon which it is built. My mom was in the hospital, and God and I were having one of our wrestling matches. (God always wins, by the way. He is bigger than I am, but I keep on trying sometimes!) As I was driving home from the hospital, I was crying out "God if you exist, why do Godly people like my mom suffer?" My real question was, "God, are You for real?"
None of the "deep" Bible studies that I have attended nor even taught came to mind. No heated doctrinal debates bubbled up to the surface of my mind. There were no profound sermons replaying in my mind. That simple verse in Genesis popped up. "In the beginning " As I drove my car and looked around at God's creation, I thought, "yes, You are there. I am sorry for doubting. Teach me, God, what You want me to learn. Push me forward."
I am a proponent of serious studies of the Bible, I am passionate about the teaching we can get from both simple and deep studies, and I am a firm believer in attending a local church and hearing what God has placed in that service. But at this time in my life, I did not need a deep theological debate. I just needed simple faith. While in-depth studies strengthen our faith, it is still the basic, simple faith that gets us through when things get rough. Too often we skip over the basics and into the doctrinal issues that are not our anchor points.
But the foundation of our faith must be well-built. We just need to let Him take us to the next level. How about you? What do you need right now? Do you need to push ahead into deeper studies, or simply to get your foundation of faith on solid ground? Whatever you need, God will provide. Everyone should be involved in a Bible study. Whether it is a simple Christianity 101 course or a graduate level course, do something to move along the path God has lain out in front of you. Your simple faith will also become a rock-solid faith.
Father - Thank You for feeding us just what we need, when we need it. Thank You for loving us so much that You never give us more than we can handle. You don't give us milk when we need meat, and You don't give us meat when we need milk. Push us off the plateaus and into a deeper relationship with You. In Christ's name, Amen.