Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Tiny, growing faith

"It was so nice of Jesus to let Peter walk on the water."  That’s what Titus told me, when he was 2 years old.  Still makes me giggle, picturing his little blonde head and the little boy voice speaking the words.  True words, they are, though.  It was so nice of Jesus.  So nice of Him to let us do so many things, and learn, and grow, and live, and breathe, and keep on needing Him, and keep on running to Him.  So true, and Titus’s little heart was beginning to notice His goodness, and it was so kind of our Savior to earn us the standing of brothers and sisters, fellow heirs, heirs together of the grace of God, and all that He is and owns and offers, so that little toddlers can begin to grow up in Him, and learn of Him, and hear His gospel of grace through faith plus nothing else, because nothing else was good enough to erase my sin except His own lifeblood. 

True words, spoken by one who didn’t yet understand them, but does now, and yesterday, when I asked him what he wanted to thank God for, said, “Mom, I’m thankful that God saved those 5000 people when Peter preached that message . . .” Peter again.  Titus again.  Growth.  Truth.  The Gospel, at work, in my family, in my son, in me, as it was in Peter, as it was when he spoke truth to thousands, and thousands believed, because God blessed Peter’s words and blessed his faith and grew his tiny faith into a great big faith. Because the object of the faith didn’t change, and as he fixed his heart on that One, the faith came into clearer focus and grew strong and mature, unbudging, unrelenting, bold, and fearless, no matter the waves, no matter the crowds, no matter the persecution, even in the face of death, he didn’t cry out “I’m sinking!” because Jesus had taken that tiny measure of faith given, and grown it into something rock solid.  Upon this rock I will build my church, He said.  

It was so nice of Jesus to let Peter grow into his big strong grown-up faith, and to let us learn from his example, and to teach us obedience by His own unquestioning obedience to the Father.  

Tiny gifts.  Tiny, unbreakable, ever-growing gifts.  Like a tree, planted by the river of water, bringing forth fruit in its season.  In its season.  From walking on water, gasping out in fear, to preaching to multitudes, to his own execution.  He brought forth fruit in its season, and it started with a tiny faith gift.

There are some big things going in all of our lives, if we're honest.  Some uncomfortable.  Some downright terrifying.  And, though it's cliche, when it rains, it pours.  Sometimes there are so many questions, so much to process all at once. 

And yet, this is the day you gave, and we will rejoice in it.  

The boys were pretending to be Pharaoh this evening.  Such a funny game that they invented.  Titus had made some kind of floppy, Lego-ish looking contraption and decided that it was a head covering.  He declared, "I'm Pharaoh," and his brothers began to serve him strawberries and fan him with giant pillows, and every time they would stop he would use his very best stern voice and shout, "Do you want your daily payment?" and they would hurriedly resume their jobs with great displays of fear and reverence, stifling uproarious giggles as they went.  

When we prayed together this evening, and brought our questions before the throne of God Himself, I thought of Joseph, who served in Pharaoh's house.  Joseph, who had done nothing wrong, yet had been mistreated, and forgotten.  There are some Joseph times in the believer's life, aren't there?  Yet Joseph remained faithful.  So did Job.  Neither of them fought against their circumstances, but yielded fully to the Father.  

And so, as we prayed, and as I reread Genesis 39-41, I ran for Your shelter once again.  My rock, and my defense.  My strong tower.

Father, we will praise you.  In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.  For now, there is still some perceivable order remaining in the chaos.  But, even without it, we could still praise you.  The political realm is nuts right now, and our nation is riddled with tragedy and strife, yet we praise You.  Our lives our messy; we continue to praise You.

We are fearfully and wonderfully made, and we praise you.  Your thoughts toward us are more in number than the sand, so great is the sum of them! My present challenges, undesirable and even offensive as I find them, to You, may be something of great beauty, a symbol of what you are about to accomplish in our lives.  

And so I bow my head, and dry my tears, and thank you for these challenges, and for creating me and my husband, and for making us so different from each other, so that we can work together to grow in unity and in our love for You and in our communication and in our decision making and in our planning and in our prioritizing, that above all You might be praised.

We love you. Where you lead we will follow, no matter what lies ahead.  Because You've promised to complete the work in us that you started.  Because you keep our eyes above the waves when our faith is big, but also, and especially, when it is ever so small. For even the trial of our faith is precious to You.

Right now, I may be the walking-on-the-water, crying-out-lest-I-sink Peter, but one day, I'll be the boldly-proclaiming-the-gospel-to-the-multitudes version.  One day.  I'll be complete in Him.  For now, I'll keep studying His living, breathing, motive-discerning, thought-reading, life changing Word that I may be complete, lacking in nothing.

Bless the Lord, oh my soul.  Worship His holy name!

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