Wild Faith is Demanding Faith is Growing Faith

Posted: April 1, 2008 by Matthew Hussey in Discipleship/Sanctification
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

            I once heard a story about a performer, an acrobat actually: a tightrope walker. He was looking for a new and exciting challenge to his usual routine, and so he travels to Niagara Falls for a very special demonstration. The crowd gathers to watch the spectacular feet. He would actually cross the falls on a tightrope! He sets up, slowly and carefully. The crowd then watches in amazement as he confidently walks across. The next day he returns for another showing of this amazing feet, only this time, there would be another added bonus. He would walk a wheelbarrow across, carrying a tiny little kitten inside. He asks the crowd, “How many of you think I can carry this little kitten across?” The crowd cheers in excitement, and he walks it across without the slightest hesitation. The last day of the routine he decided to do something very special. Before walking across the falls, he again asks the crowd “how many of you think I can carry this little kitten across?” The crowd tells him that they’ve already seen that, and they want to see something new. And so he then asks them, “How many of you think I can carry across a person in this wheelbarrow?” The crowd cheers wildly in amazement. What a surprise, what a delight: they would be witness to this most spectacular feat! Seeing the crowd’s excitement, he asks, “Do we have any volunteers?” And then the crowd suddenly goes silent. They start looking around at each other. “Who will go?” they all ask themselves. But no one would go. They all trusted in the acrobat’s abilities, but none of them had the faith to act on it.          

    

  I liken this story to my own faith, much of the time. I am sure you can agree with me, it is easy to say that God is all-powerful and so he will surely take care of all our needs. But it’s quite a different story to actually step out and act on that faith. And it’s not as if we are automatically given this faith when we initially believe in God. The first act of trusting in Jesus’ death to cover our sins is just that: the first step, of a greater journey. It’s not enough to have saving faith, although that is important. Trusting in God as one’s savior doesn’t mean you trust him enough to live as Jesus did. For example, I think of Jonah, who believed in God, but did not truly trust in His wisdom, and so he tried to take matters into his own hands. After he runs away from his calling to preach in Nineveh, God gives Jonah a big time-out to think about his faith (I picture Jonah sitting inside a fish thinking about what went wrong). Jonah eventually realizes his own lack of faith and calls out to God in humility, proclaiming that “Salvation comes from the Lord” -Jonah 2:9.         

       The beautiful thing about faith is that God is always willing to work with us, wherever we’re at in life. God will never of ask us more than we are capable of doing. He might ask us more than we are comfortable doing, and we can always refuse to have faith in God. Even after Jonah repents of his sin and finally decides to preach to Nineveh, we later learn that he becomes angry when God decides to forgive them. In a puff of self-righteousness Jonah gets mad at God for forgiving the wickedness of a truly evil city. Despite Jonah’s lack of faith, we learn from the book of Nahum that God does eventually punish the Ninevites for their evil, but in His great mercy God chose to offer them the chance to repent first. Jonah, just like the rest of mankind, is not able to see all of God’s purposes and plans. But it is by faith and not by sight that we can answer the call to do God’s will.           

       The more I think about it, the more I realize that the only way to make faith grow is to put it to the test. Faith does not grow by reading books or by studying theology. Although studying about God is important because that creates the foundation for your knowledge and your beliefs. But once you have laid down the foundation, the only way to make it grow is to put it “through the fire” of real experiences. Faith in God is really just the same as any other relationship: it begins with knowing and believing in each other, forming friendship and trust. But the strongest relationships are those that stick together even through the hardest of times. Every new challenge is an opportunity for growth.           

       Even as I sit here writing this I am right now in the process of testing my faith the most I’ve ever done before. I’ve never been off the continent before, I’ve never eaten truly foreign food or been without a shower for longer than a week, or had to wash clothes by hand. I’ve never done street evangelism; I’ve never even been on a short-term missionary trip before. I know virtually nothing about the people I will meet, or what I will tell them. I don’t know where God will lead me, or how he’s going to challenge me. I honestly don’t know how safe I will be as I walk the streets of South Africa. All these thoughts are scary thoughts, because they bring me where I’ve never been before. And yet I believe that God will provide all that I need. I trust that I will not always be happy or care free or perfect, but I know God will be using this trip to make me more faithful in Him all the time. All he needs is for us to step out in faith, and he’ll take care of the rest…. Well, “Here I am Lord, send me!”

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s