One From the Heart: Faith

Here is one of my favorite adult education faith lesson illustrations.  Ask for two volunteers.  Cover volunteer #1’s eyes tightly, ensuring that they are entirely unable to see.  Volunteer #2 has to lead their blind cohort across the room, from point A to point B, in a convoluted, curvy path, with many unexpected turns.  Along the route knees get bumped, toes stubbed, chairs knocked over.  But, eventually, by blindly following the hand he has grasped, our blind volunteer arrives safely at his destination.

Voilà!  Faith illustrated. 

Whether we care to admit it or not, none of us is master of our fates.  We have no real control.  For some people, that is a very depressing proposition.  Personally, I am grateful that, ultimately, I don’t call the shots.  Plotting my destiny is way out of my pay grade.  Why do I say that?

Simple: God is God, and I am not.  I am flawed and imperfect.  I cannot see one second in front of me, nor do I – with my limited human cerebral faculties – possess the ability to perceive with absolute 100% accuracy the events of the past or evaluate my present situation.  Lots of pollution clouds my view: emotion, ego, tiredness, background, lack of all facts, bias, acumen…  All these factors make perfect perception impossible for me.

Don’t grin.  You’re onboard the same boat as me.

And I would hate to think that I – or you, or any other human being – was at the helm of the boat.  Guaranteed, at some point in our journey of life, I will blindly run the boat aground, our fall overboard into a frenzy of hungry sharks, or somehow pilot us into some great catastrophe.

No, I am grateful – ever so – that God is in control.  He is not my co-pilot.  I am not even allowed in the cockpit.  And I am fine with that.

Except… I am also human.  There are times when, despite my appalling lack of credentials, I feel the need to wrest control of the wheel from the LORD.  “You’re not working fast enough.  I know how to get there!”




Just call me H.M.S. Titanic.

It is always best to be sure one is following God.  He is the One with the plan.  He is the One Who sees all, knows all, can do all.  He is the Great I AM THAT I AM.  In other words, He is Existence Itself. 

Still, in my limited human view, it can be very tough to blindly follow a deity I know exists, but I cannot see.  When times get tough, clinging to Christ can be tough.  I tend to get in touch in my inner Peter.  “Sure I’ll walk out on the water.  Cool, look at me!  Wait… was that lightning?!  Help, I’m sinking!!”

And Jesus saves.

And I believe.

My point this week is simple: have faith in God through His Son Jesus Christ.  Grab His hand and let Him lead you through this life.  You’ll bump your knees, stub your toes, knock over some chairs… Hey, that’s life.  But don’t look at all your circumstances.  Look to God, keeping your focus squarely on Christ, in faith, knowing that the Lord God Creator and Sustainer of All has you firmly in His grasp.  There is nothing you cannot face, knowing God is in control and has a plan for you.

Rest well tonight, friends.  You are loved – more than you know.

The Repetitious Moment of Clarity (or, How’s Your Listener Working?)

by Chris Courtney

Call it what you want…

An “A-Ha!” moment.

Getting it.

The illumination of understanding.

God whacking me over the head until I get it through my thick skull.  (That would explain the headaches…)

The moment of clarity.

A theme repeated throughout one’s day (or week, or month, or lifetime) that may seem coincidental, even serendipitous.  But… I believe it is one of God’s wonderful ways of getting our attention.  After all, we are His children, and the LORD instructs, directs and corrects His children.  My five year old is a very bright young man.  But… I can tell him five times in the span of as many minutes (or sometimes far less), “Do not throw kitty in the air!  He will not stick to the ceiling!  He’s going to scratch you!”  And, despite my repeated warnings, guess what he keeps on doing… And, guess what the cat does when he lands on my son…

(NOTE: My son has never actually thrown any of our animals in the air, or even attempted such a stunt.  I use this merely as a fictitious, humorous illustration.  Writing about my boy taking daring leaps off the sofa in his Batman cape isn’t nearly as funny.  No animals or children were harmed in the writing of this post.)

Jen and I’s running joke about our son is that his listener is broken.  He hears… but he doesn’t always take heed to what he hears.  He doesn’t apply the lessons he is hearing.  The moment of clarity comes when the cat is hurdling downward toward his upturned head, legs sprawled out and claws at the ready for whatever – or whoever – he may land upon.

My simple point is this: if you keep hearing the same Scripture (or Scriptural theme) repeated over and over (and over) from disparate sources, and you feel it is confirming a suspicion you’ve had about yourself for awhile, and – this is the most important part by far – it all lines up with the Word of God, you may want to stop and listen. 

And prayerfully take heed of God’s Word, lest your upturned face become a claw-marked feline helipad.