I find the concept of faith to be intrinsically difficult. I'm not a natural believer, but a person who likes to have proof before she puts confidence in anything. Isn't that what we're taught as kids? That we can't believe everything we see, hear or read? That not everything is truth, but that lies must be weeded out before truth can be seen--and even then, you must be very, very careful?
My mom used to warn me against believing the lies and truths of other people, because I used to be (and still am) such a gullible person. (This is not a trait I am proud of or happy that I possess, and sometimes I work extra-hard to be the opposite. How's that for a little messed up?)
Maybe I'm just a cynical person. (I know I'm a cynical person.)
But even through my ever-present skepticism, I still find myself taking risks with people, which brings out fear and anxiety. Sometimes after I become friends with somebody, I can't believe the things I've shared--and this is the part I hate--even though I warn myself time and time again do not over-share. Do not share your heart. Do not speak out of the comfort zone of the conversation.
But, as fate would have it, every other time I meet someone and get to know them, I let out more than I intended, I share my heart and my pain, and I take the risk that once they get to know me, they may not really want to know me anymore.
Because, see, I used to be a person who didn't know Christ. I knew who He was, I just didn't know Him. I had been churched my whole life, going to Sunday School every Sunday and following (most of) the rules I had been taught. A nice little life, an easy belief system, a fool-proof way to get into Heaven. It was very black-and-white for me. But when my whole world was rocked by the death of my grandfather and then mom, and the subsequent imploding of my family and the world I had known, the easy belief system I had become so accustomed to didn't provide any solid ground to stand on. Going to Sunday School didn't cut it anymore. Following all the rules didn't provide any comfort.
"Come," he said.
Then Peter got out of the boat,
walked on the water
and came toward Jesus.
But what I did discover, and quite by accident, I might add, is that life requires a little more than sitting in a pew and singing a praise song. When God found me, sitting in one of the darkest places I had ever known in my whole life, He showed me faith. And faith isn't easy. Faith means putting confidence in Someone I can't truly see or hear or touch. It means not having solid proof, other than the changes made in my life, of the existence of God. It means reading God's Word and believing it for what it says, and not trying to make it into something it's not.
I did not abandon ship and jump into the vast ocean of faith immediately, just so you know. I asked God for signs, for proof of His existence, daily. (P.S. God loves me, but He doesn't play that game.) But He did begin showing me signs of life beyond my darkness. Peace and calm that doesn't come from Zoloft. Joy that cannot be explained. Passions I didn't know I had. A peek at a freedom I had never experienced. Patience that I knew I didn't possess. A willingness to take risks, to go outside my comfort zone, even though that's a scary place for me.
Relationships are full of give and take. And sometimes I take back all the faith I ever put in God, and I doubt everything. But I know if I stay in that place for long, it will ruin me, and the thought of being ruined is even scarier than the thought of putting my faith in the God of the universe. So we pick up right where we left off, me putting my fears and anxieties and troubles and doubts on His shoulders, right where they belong.
And I can begin to see that regardless of the clouds, it's a beautiful day.
Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in Him,
for he shields him all day long,
and the one the lord loves rests between his shoulders.