It feels like a high wire act. That balance between having Big Faith and Walking Humbly with your God. It’s funny, last Sunday I taught a Sunday school lesson about the faith of Caleb, then heard a sermon about humility. As believers, we’ve got to grab a hold of both. Really, they are not opposing things.
Yet, there are rocky shoals threatening on every side
There’s the “Name it/Claim it” trope, thinking that somehow everything we envision will come to us by some universal law.
Or we could get caught up in a mistrust that God is faithful to keep his promises or a theology of false humility that doesn’t really believe that He is Good and has good intentions towards His children.
What is the thing that advances Christ’s dominion over all things? What is the thing you cannot do in your own strength? What is the thing that you must fully throw yourself on the mercy of God in order to do. That thing is your “by faith”.
I have friends who have, by faith, laid down their desire for marriage in order to better serve the Lord. Others, by faith, raise large, God fearing families. By faith, some men leave certain income for full time ministry. By faith, families raise thousands of dollars for international adoption, leave comfortable homes for the mission field, or plant inner city churches. In those cases, it is not vanity but a Caleb like obedience that says: “Take the next mountain”.
I remember a retreat I was on around the time I was 21. We were told to write down everything we wanted to do and have for our lives. We were then told to cross off anything that we could accomplish in or by our own strength, leaving only the impossible.
At the time, the only things left on my list were this:
- Get married. I figured it would take a miracle to find someone I wanted to marry that also wanted to marry (overweight, independent, outspoken, kinda crazy) me.
- Raise children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (I was supposedly infertile and my family background was all over the map. Would I even be allowed to adopt?)
- Write books that inspire kids to seek the Lord. I didn’t know how to write. I never finished college. I had no self discipline. Writing a book seemed like an impossible thing that I would never accomplish.
Sixteen years later, I am happily married with children by both birth and adoption. We homeschool. We are getting ready to jump back into foster parenting. I write. Not very well, but I’ve finished two books. Mostly tripe. The writing thing WILL take some work and persistence on my part, but the next mountain is in view.
It strikes me that a certain boldness is required for each of these endeavors. I often feel like a grasshopper compared to other wives, other mothers, other writers. Who am I to presume to homeschool my kids? Who am I to think I can take other children into my home? Who am I to think anybody will ever want to read something that I write? I see my failings and the imperfections in my offerings.
The real question is: Who am I to judge or compare myself to another servant?
It doesn’t matter who I am. It matters who He is, and who He has called me to be. I just have to keep moving towards the next mountain.
I write this as I struggle through, as I doubt, as I try to steer clear of the rapids. I write this for you, whoever you are, to encourage you not to shrink back. He is faithful.