Most people like things well defined. Workers want clear job descriptions and children want clear rules.
Loop holes are unfair, surprises are sometimes unwelcome, and limbo is an scary word.
The thing I've struggled my whole life with defining is faith. It's like trying to hold onto jello. Just when you think you've got a handful of the stuff, all you really have is the residue all over your sticky hands.
As a child, I boldly grabbed onto faith at every chance. I went forward to pray at a half a dozen Vacation Bible Schools, one church camp, and I even remember praying with a little girl on the back row school bus in third grade. We bowed our heads agains those brown, vinyl seats and I copied her prayer.
Faith was easy, free, and natural.
As a teenager, we finally became part of a church as a family. I was able to learn more about God in Sunday school classes and listening to sermons. Faith was a little less easy because of this knowledge. The knowledge brought more questions, and those answers tricked my teenage brain into thinking I could understand faith.
The fact that a more developed brain and answers to questions would make faith less obtainable is completely irrational.
One night, I finally surrendered. I gave up on trying to figure it out, and I put my trust, heart and soul, into loving and following Jesus.
I grew up in ministry. I spent my most formative college years serving and helping establish Citychurch.
I've taught every age group of humans the Bible from nursery babies to adults. I've sought out Bible knowledge and stuck close to Jesus my whole adult life.
I'm an adult closing in on the end of my 30's, and I still can't define faith. I still feel that wrapping my adult brain around the concept is unattainable.
Part of me wants it clearly defined, because that seems clean and proper. But there is this other part of me that loves the beauty of a concept that breaks all the rules while following the law, that swims through the waves of time and location to connect us to a Holy God.
A mountain can be moved by a mustard seed? Men can walk on water? A hand stretched out can split a sea?
Here's how the book of Hebrews defines faith.
It feels good to have words to put in the spot of the definition, but those words still leave me feeling jello residue on my hands. That is because I'm still leaning on my human understanding. The Bible actually gives me permission to let go of that striving to understand.
My wisdom is like a silly child's toy compared to the power of God.
That must by why irrational faith requires me to act irrationally.
Go on that trip on the other side of the globe. Raise another child. Give your money away, all the while asking for donations. Teach children the irrational concept of faith. Lay down your life and die to yourself. Lose your life to find it.
What about you? Do you struggle with the concept of faith? Is God asking you to act irrationally?
I hope you have a yes to at least one of those questions. Please share so we can be encouraged by one another.
I've said this before, but I'll say it again. I love new music that sounds like an old music. I am always nostalgic for decades that I didn't even live through. Here's a song about faith being difficult to hold onto.