Monday, August 21, 2006

Fortune Cookie Faith

I like fortune cookies; anytime I’m at a Chinese restaurant I grab a few. One of these reasons might be because I like the taste of fortune cookies, but the real reason I grab more than one is that I like options with my fortune. If the first one doesn’t suit my liking, then I always have a backup fortune.

The funny thing is that sometimes I wonder if my faith suffers from the same indecisiveness. It seems when life is fine and dandy faith isn’t a problem, I’ve got it in spades. But throw me a curveball and my faith quotient seems to hit the skids and I start grasping for anything around me to keep me standing. This got me thinking about exactly what faith is and where it is placed. Faith in circumstances leaves me on slippery ground because circumstances change every moment. Faith in people is a dangerous place to go, because well, we are all faulted. Faith in me is just plain stupid because I know what a screw up I am.

So what is faith, where does it lie, and what is it all about?

Faith: Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence.

I don’t trust God because of His promises, because of what He says. I trust the promises, I trust what He says, because I first trust Him. Faith looks beyond the temporal, the visual, and the known, to believe not in the whats but in the Who. That way when silence overtakes me, when I succumb to blindness and deafness, I will still have faith in the One who is always there, working, moving, loving, even though I may not see the fingerprints of His hand, hear the echo of His voice, or feel the brush of His movement, I know that He is still there, I know that He is always there, and I wait in faith for my ears to hear, my eyes to see, and my flesh to feel Him. But faith is true, faith is firm, faith is there even when evidence seems to say it should not be.

Faith is not built piece by piece upon experiences, it is not gained in small increments eventually adding up to the whole. Oh it increases, it becomes deeper, but it is never “more” than it was at the beginning. Faith, true faith, is whole at the beginning, it is sufficient at its inception, is all that is warranted as soon as it comes to life. Faith can falter, it can become hidden among the questions, the doubts, the valleys; but faith, true faith, is always there, beating in the deep recesses of our hearts.

Faith isn’t trusting in the promise, but in the promise maker and promise keeper.

Our faith is proven by God’s promises but it is not formed in them. Our faith brings us to the promise; it prepares our hearts to hear the promise and to trust in it. Without faith, the promises are empty words from a powerless god. Without faith, promises are just things we hope will happen but hold no conviction of trust they will come true.

Promises are the place faith goes into action.

Sometimes my faith is in direct opposition to what I feel. Emotions are deceiving, in fact I think my emotions might be my greatest enemy. They lie, they cheat, they manipulate, and their one goal is to drag me into their presence where I can’t see anything outside of them. Often times, I have had to make a choice to have faith when my emotions screamed insanely at me to not have faith, I have had to choose to believe in something that my emotions tell me is not true, is a lie, is a farce, and will not solve any of the problems that I currently find myself stranded in the midst of. Faith is beyond emotions.

Faith is also beyond knowledge. I’ve had to choose to believe things that can’t be true. I've had to choose to believe that a man can rise from the dead, that this world, in all its intricacies and wonders could have been created out of nothing. I’ve had to believe that someone I’ve never met, never spoken to, never seen, could love me and want me even though I am messed up and use to hate Him with every part of my being.

Faith is not definable by man’s terms. It isn’t even a quality we can have in ourselves, because faith takes us out of ourselves. It reaches both inward and outward, somehow existing in this place of divinity and wonder where the impossible and the possible intersect, where love and hatred are reconciled, and where grace and justice co-exist. Faith begins with God. He is the author of faith, He is the creator of it, the perfector of it. Without Him, faith is wishful thinking in something we hope will be proven true. With Him, faith is the absolute assurance that He is true and anything and everything He says and does is also true, so that we REST in knowing Him and everything else revolves around Him.

Phrases and thoughts get stuck in my head. One of these is a statement a friend made, “Lord thank you for giving me the opportunity to show You how faithful I am.” I remember thinking that is should say, “Lord thank you for this opportunity to show your faithfulness.” I wanted the action to be on God. I wanted Him to shoulder the work so I could sit back and accept His faithfulness. But now, I see that wisdom and the humility in thanking God for the opportunity to show Him my faith in action, to worship and honor Him by trusting in Him, by waiting on Him.

That is a hard thing to say to God, because it usually comes in the moment of crisis, in the valley. We don’t thank God for opportunities to prove faithfulness on the mountain tops, no we thank Him for the valleys, for the dark roads we feel we walk alone. Those are the moments when we realize that we must believe not in the promises that aren’t realized, but in the Promise Maker, the Promise Keeper, the one on whom our faith resides.

Re-reading this post reminded me of a quote I carry around in my wallet: "We learn faith by having to walk a road that is much too hard for us."


Blogger steve said...

I love that last quote

That couldnt be more true

8/21/2006 12:06 PM  
Blogger Bobby said...

"Faith isn’t trusting in the promise, but in the promise maker and promise keeper."


8/21/2006 12:43 PM  
Anonymous jes said...

Katie, welcome to your new space on the Interdweeebbbbbbbbbbbbbb.

Yeehaw, cowgirl!

and, before you call me out on it, no, i haven't read the entry, and yes, i will, but tonight, when i get home, not at work, where i need to be ddooiinnngggggg things like not interdweebbbing, but i still wanted to leave commenty love for you.

8/21/2006 2:10 PM  
Blogger Deals On Wheels said...

You didn't get my approval for the new link, by the way...


8/21/2006 4:00 PM  
Blogger jes said...

Katie, another excellent entry. I really think you need to be seeking a book agent. You've been needing to find a new job. And you want to do something about which you are passionate.

You are passionate about God. You write great entries encouraging people in their faith about Him. Maybe this is it.

Just a thought.

8/22/2006 9:25 AM  
Blogger Amstaff Mom said...

Wowza. I loved the quote, and I loved the post. You are a fantastic writer my friend b/c you speak such wisdom.

And now I feel bad for abandoning my fortune cookie last night. Do you want it? Then you can come see me in NY! Hurry though, I'm flying to PA today!

8/22/2006 10:33 AM  
Blogger Bobby said...

Well aren't you moving up in the world, with your own webspace and all ...

8/22/2006 11:37 AM  
Blogger Aim Claim said...

Amazing post.

I love that you are not all head or all heart... you truly let God make them one.

ps. I really freaked out when I couldn't find your site... but I found you!!!! cool!

8/22/2006 7:17 PM  
Blogger Amstaff Mom said...

Wow, you're already off Blogger! that was fast! Am I the only one w/o online real estate?

8/22/2006 9:24 PM  
Blogger MsThang said...

KT, another great post that has left me thinking. I always love reading your profound posts! Always encouraging, & always thought-provoking!

8/23/2006 8:18 AM  
Blogger Susan said...

WOW! Well spoken, heartfelt, truly moved by God. Thanks for the inspiration and revealation.

8/23/2006 11:07 AM  
Blogger Tim Rice said...

As Bobby also wrote, I'm really impressed with the statement "Faith isn’t trusting in the promise, but in the promise maker and promise keeper." It is kind of a pointer to where our hearts should really be. Thanks.

8/23/2006 3:02 PM  

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