<image courtesy of Mykl Roventine>
My Grandma used to have a little plaque on one of the walls in the room I slept in when visiting her. On it was the cartoon image of a teddy bear riding a rocking horse with the following phrase written out in script:
Faith Isn’t Faith Until It’s All You’re Holding Onto.
How I’ve grown to loath that little plaque.
Mostly because it had some level of truth in it and I find myself wanting the kind of faith that is soft and fluffy and convenient and doesn’t cost anything but gives everything.
But I guess that wouldn’t be ‘faith’ so much as ‘looking to be coddled.’
It’s said that when you read something, you learn more about the person doing the writing than whatever subject presented. If that’s the case, it’s probably pretty obvious by looking at the central theme of my blog posts as of late that my (and Sarah’s!) journey has focused a lot on (re)learning what faith is and how it needs to be playing out in our lives right now.
At the beginning of May, we felt pretty clearly led by God’s Spirit to leave my then-current position as pastor of Carlisle Wesleyan. There were quite a few ways we were led to that decision, but it sure didn’t make it any easier to ‘pull the trigger’ by signing a resignation letter with no ‘next step’ clearly outlined.
Since that time, I’ve been Mr. Applicant—applying to job after job after job in the ‘non-churchy’ world and looking at various potential opportunities in the church world. Long story short: I’m still very unemployed. We’ve received clear “don’t go there” leadings from the Holy Spirit with ministry opportunities, and haven’t garnered a lot of interest with organizations wanting a twenty-something minister to come work for their company in another role.
There have been moments when it’s been tempting to despair, but what I find amazing is the continued sense of God’s presence with us. Though nothing is clear about tomorrow, we have had a deep sense of peace and comfort. I told someone the other day that I know me and how I ‘should be’ reacting to where we are: freaking out in a way that makes “going postal” look like a group of church ladies scrapbooking in the basement on a Thursday night. But I’m not. We’re just trusting.
We have nothing to hold on to but the God who is leading us. We have nothing to cling to but our Father. So, we’re choosing to have the same trust a small child has in their parent–that the parent will do everything they said they would, and that we, as those children, are safe, secure, and able to rest knowing our Father has everything taken care of.
So here we are: without any crown of success or example of personal greatness; humbled and waiting. We’re learning what it is to ‘hold on’ without knowing the length of the wait or what we’re even waiting FOR. We’re learning what faith is in a way that, in the reality of other situations faced by many, isn’t a very big mountain at all… but to us seems huge. We’re learning in this comparatively small way, what it is to live a life that really isn’t our own.
For the record, though, I still hate that stupid plaque.