Thinking. Faith and failure
After my post about healing and anger, I was feeling a little bit raw. I slept badly, had angry dreams and woke up cranky as a bear. I headed out the door for my early morning walk still worked up about being angry with God.
I began to think about the thirty years that I've been a Christian, trusting Jesus, and asked myself, 'Has it come to this - that I reach this mountain in my life and it just stops? Is my faith just going to stall here? Will I be stuck in bitterness and anger for the rest of my days? Am I going to fade away and in another 30 years will I look back and say, "Well, I had faith until it got too hard, so I just let it go?"
For years I have almost taken pride in my faith in God. I've been strong, I've been committed, I've been devout. I have gone against the crowd, been different in the choices I've made, been wise, been sensible, been mature. I have enjoyed my faith. It has defined me.
As I stomped along, trying to think this all through, it struck me that the faith I thought I had has been stripped bare. It's been taken off me. I said to myself, 'In the end, my faith is pretty much worthless."
And then the verse about the refiners fire popped into my head. 'See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. Is 48:10' It struck true. I'm being refined in fire, and there's not much of my faith left.
But as I turned into our driveway, I thought, 'It will be ok. At the core, I'm not angry, and God has given me faith, and I have nowhere else to go, and all I have to do is just keep putting one foot in front of the other on God's pathway.'
I've come to the conclusion that just 'being there' is faith as much as good feelings or strength of conviction or enjoyment of the spiritual life. God is burning what I've built up and is replacing it with something that is stronger and purer and more real. The failure of my faith to trust God is not really a failure because my faith can never do it perfectly. Only the faith God gives me will be able to do it.