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{Daily Life} What is Faith?


He looked up at me with those ocean deep blue eyes, he knew I was terrified to let him go, but mostly, he was terrified that I wouldn't let him go. I closed my eyes and let out a big sigh -- I could hear my mother in the back of my head, you know we used to let you do it when you were little, paybacks are awful. I opened an eye to see if he had, by some miracle, stopped looking at me and moved on...but I knew better. This little boy of mine could not think of anything better than to ride granddad's tractor, but he had the wrong shoes on, slippery as all get out, and this was granddad's old tractor, not the plush new enclosed one.

My grandfather could tell I was screaming on the inside, as he grabbed Jr's shoulder and said, "c'mon boy, you'll be just fine." It's always better when other people make decisions for me, but the only thing I could do is whisper, "be careful."
You see, it wasn't the fact that I didn't trust my grandfather's ability. It was the simple fact that I was terrified something awful would happen to my one and only baby, and mommy wouldn't be there to save him.

As the engine started and I watched them disappear over the hill, my chest tightened, my heart pounded in my head, and I remember feeling this overwhelming feeling only a very few times in my entire life. I stood on the front porch, grabbed my chest and closed my eyes. I could still hear that engine driving about the farm, and I cringed every time it hit a bump or a dip in the soft summer ground, and the engine dipped into a lull just a little.

I knew that if I didn't get my emotions under control quickly, they would ruin me, and they would ruin the entire experience for my grandfather and son. Another sigh settled deep into my lungs as I whispered to myself, I am helpless, I cannot control this, protect him and give me peace -- I place him completely in Your hands, I trust You.



My eyes opened and I instantly felt peace. I could tell that my human body was still confused, but my spirit literally soared with peace and understanding. And in that moment I realized, this is faith.

It wasn't that I didn't understand faith and how it worked, but I understood it from a human standpoint, not a spiritual one. On that day, and every other day I had felt that way, I realized that there wasn't one single thing I could do to save my child if something were to happen to him. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. And in that weakness, in that brokenness, instead of  praying about it and hoping for the best, I literally knew that I was helpless and that my child's life and fate completely relied on the fact that he rested in the hands of my almighty Jesus.

Did you get that?

I realized that there was absolutely nothing within my own strength and power that I could do to save him...to heal him....to protect him. Even a simple prayer was not the answer. Prayers filled with words are useless, but prayers filled with brokenness and the realization that I am not God, are powerful.

I've heard it said once, that if you think you have enough faith when you're praying, then you probably don't. I never understood that saying until I experienced situations like these. It's funny, because I've actually looked at a mountain and told it to move, knowing I had lots of faith that God could move it, and it didn't. But didn't the Bible say I could do that? Of course, I wouldn't suggest doing that -- besides the fact that there was no reason for the mountain to move, I was simply just "playing around". But what about deeper issues?

I have prayed for people countless amounts of times -- for financial blessing, for redemption, for healing -- and they've never seen the bright end of the tunnel. But I had enough faith, didn't I? I thought I did, I mean, a mustard seed isn't that big at all. It should be pretty easy to have faith, right?

The biggest issue with faith is that we over think it. The moment you wonder, do I have enough faith to heal this person, is the moment when faith simply crumbles. Do I have enough faith to get through this rough patch in my marriage? Do I have enough faith that our needs will be provided? Do I have enough faith that my child will be healed of cancer? Do I have enough faith.....

There's also that feeling of not doubting yourself, and having too much pride. That, I have enough faith because Jesus told me I could heal the sick and raise the dead. And that's totally true, He did say that. But please do not confuse your self righteousness with humble faith. While we're told through out scriptures that we'll do everything Jesus did and more, we must remember that we are not Jesus. Jesus was God in human form. He is all knowing, all powerful, all holy and righteous. We are not, contrary to what you may believe.


So we have two extreme's here -- the person who prays and doubts their faith or is curious about their faith, and the person who prays with pride and self righteousness.

Neither are faith.
faith
n.1. Confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing.2. Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence. See Synonyms at belief, trust.3. Loyalty to a person or thing; allegiance: keeping faith with one's supporters.4. often Faith Christianity The theological virtue defined as secure belief in God and a trusting acceptance of God's will.5. The body of dogma of a religion: the Muslim faith.6. A set of principles or beliefs.

My favorite definition is the first one. The definition that faith isn't a feeling or an action. Faith is the absolute confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing. Faith is the absolute confidence in God...in Christ. Because faith is simply empty words without Him. Faith doesn't resound through the church hallways when it is a prayer that is recited or practiced. Faith isn't something you just "have". Faith is a complete surrendering of yourself, your idea's, your feelings, and your motives...to Christ. Completely.

You can't think about it. You can't over think it. You just do it, because in that moment you realize you are completely helpless. That moment when you realize that medicine isn't making your child any better. That moment when you realize all the natural herbal remedies in the world aren't curing your husbands illnesses. That moment when you realize that your mother isn't going to pull through this cancer no matter how much you pray for her.

Brokenness is beautiful, because when you are broken...when you realize you can't do it. And I mean really truly realize that it is completely out of your control, even the simplest of things....that is where true faith lies. That is where total surrender of your will and your "I can fix this" attitude happen, and without thinking about it, faith happens.


Listen, bad things happen to good people. Does it mean they didn't have faith? No, not always. We have to remember that God is all knowing, and sometimes we suffer the human consequences of our own free will choices. We live in a broken world with broken people where sin is rampant. And we also have to remember that sometimes a journey of illness or death can impact someone else's life for His kingdom. Sometimes, we have to be ok with that.

I've known some pretty incredible people who have fully surrendered to God and haven't seen their family members healed or saved. But, I know I've prayed for people and not had faith. I've put all of my emotion into it, cried out to God almighty, and felt pain in my heart like never before....and nothing happened. I've prayed for people with empty words or words that just came to mind. I've prayed for people the way I think Jesus would have prayed for people.....and absolutely nothing happened.

But when that tractor started back up the hill on its way home, and that little boy gave me the biggest hug....

When that doctor told me that my son had almost completely outgrown asthma and he should be as good as new within the next year.....

When my doctor looked at me and said, "we were scared at first, but it looks like the second biopsy came back perfect"...

When my Ob/Gyn said "his heart beat has dropped tremendously and we have to get him out immediately", and he came out wailing and swinging....

...faith.

Because in every single one of those moments, I didn't pray an elaborate prayer of fancy words and holiness.

Because in every single one of those moments, I barely prayed a prayer at all. In fact, the only words I was ever able to utter were these....

I cannot do this. I cannot control this, not even the smallest of parts. I am broken, and I simply want to curl up in your lap and weep. I trust in You, as I completely place this in your hands.....I am nothing. I can do nothing.  You are God, and I will praise You through it. I TRUST YOU.

But the biggest and hardest part was not picking it back up. Because once you surrender something, it is no longer yours....ever.

Faith isn't a thought, isn't an emotion, isn't a way of living. Faith is the complete and utmost realization that God is God, you are man, and that nothing is possible without placing it in His hands...completely. I know that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, but I cannot do them on my own. I cannot control it. I cannot heal it. I cannot make it happen. That's God's job, not mine. I am simply a vessel that He uses, and sometimes, I'm just a mama who needs to place her control into His hands, and never take it back....

That is faith.


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