Practicing Faith

I’ve tried to be honest, here in my tiny corner of the blog world; honest with my doubts, honest with my issues, and honest with my faith.  So this won’t come as a surprise to anyone who knows me that I get hung up on Jesus and all Biblical claims of who He is.  Recently, however, I experienced a few circumstances in which the dark clouds of doubt and despair lifted and a few streaks of light broke over the horizon.

The first came during Bible study.  We are working through a little book on Jesus as He is in the Gospel stories.  In one chapter we studied, the author wrote about the story of the woman caught in adultery and how Jesus, while staying primarily silent, scribbled in the sand.  The author points out that after Jesus utters His amazing words If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her everyone leaves except the woman.  She stays with Jesus as he’s bent over writing on the ground.  She could have been long gone.  The author suggests that because she stayed, perhaps Jesus’ mysterious sand writings were for her eyes.  In the discussion questions that followed the chapter, one left me without an answer or even a clue:  “What words would keep you in His [Jesus] presence when everyone else disappears?”  This query led me into sharing with my  dear, tried and true friends, my serious doubts over Jesus identity.  Both friends showed love, kindness and patience with me and spoke words of Truth in a manner and actual sequence that, to me, were not words of their own, but God’s words to my heart.

The second illuminating instance occurred at a weekend retreat.  For three days I worked and worshipped alongside other Christ-followers.  While there, God showed me, through one man in particular, not only what genuine faith looked like lived out, but what Jesus must have been like when He wore skin like us.  This man’s patient, humble, devoted, servant’s heart spoke volumes to me.  He had fun, laughed, enjoyed worship, engaged in both meaningful and seemingly insignificant conversation and all the while had a peace and grace that permeated his being.  Looking at him I thought, ok, well, I guess Jesus could have been real after all…

Since both of these instances, I don’t know if I’m more faith-filled or that the doubts are gone but I know that for the first time in a long time, I want to practice faith.  I’m beginning, slowly, to grasp, on a deeper level that for some, faith isn’t a simple given but a practiced skill.  I want to believe.  I want to explore and search, but not for the purpose of refuting who Jesus is, but to know Him and be known by Him. 

With that in mind, it’s my desire to spend the next four weeks before Christmas preparing my heart and mind for the coming Savior.  I want to celebrate Advent, to expectantly wait and anticipate the momentous.  I hope you’ll join me.

Click the links below to see some of the resources I’ll be using…

Daily Scripture Readings

Explorefaith.org

Daily Advent Prayer

Embracing Hope Ethiopia

Practicing Our Faith

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8 Replies to “Practicing Faith”

  1. I find your authenticity incredibly refreshing. I am reluctant to say “I know how you feel” because that’s never an entirely appropriate thing to say. But I do want to tell you how this one hits close to home. I have felt these same sorts of feelings, and really appreciate when someone else is willing to be open about them.

    You’re a blessing to me, Patty. Looking at you, people would be left with the same impression that you got when you looked at that man to whom you refer.

  2. Dang. And here I thought He was just doodling in the sand. 😉

    Here’s the thing. Back to Thomas. When he doubted, he asked: Jesus, show me your hands. Prove it’s you.

    Jesus didn’t shove his hands in his pockets and tell Thomas to figure it out on his own. He held them out. Dared him to stick his fingers in the holes. Even offered up the gaping hole in his side.

    He wants our hearts. He wants us to know him. He wants us to believe. If we’re honest about it (and dadgum it, you are), he’ll answer the doubt and give reason to believe. Like he did here. In just the way that we’ll pay attention.

    Thanks for your words today at my place out west, Larry. Talking vegetables, too. Sheesh.

  3. Many times I wish God would call me to less than full disclosure, but as long as He does, I have no choice but to be honest. So, I’m glad and humbled He used the honesty to encourage you. Love you!

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