Friday, December 31, 2010

PART 2 Faith: Wring Out The Old, In With the New

In my last post, we found that faith is defined as “complete trust or confidence in someone or something.” Trust is the cornerstone of all healthy relationships. Think about it: every healthy marriage, every healthy friendship, every healthy parent and child relationship... what is it built and hinged on? Love would probably be your first answer, but dig a little deeper than that... it’s trust isn’t it? Trust is the ultimate expression of love, the bond that holds two hearts together.

Hebrews 11:6 tells us that it is literally impossible to please God without faith... or, in other words, without the actions our trust in Him causes us to make. Faith is trust in action. It’s the ‘why’ and ‘how’ we express our love for God. It’s the express train, so to speak, that gets us to our destination.

So, just what does this ‘trust in action,’ or ‘faith,’ look like? Well, in my experience, it looks rather bleak initially. It means putting my neck on the line or putting myself in impossible situations where I think to myself, “God help me!” The end result, however, is glorious... not because of what I have done, but because of what He does.

Trust takes time to be established. It is a constant ebb and flow of time mingled with the experiences in our relationships. To place confidence or trust in someone, you generally want to know their character and track record, which are both equally established over time as well. Thankfully, our Creator and Redeemer God has had plenty of time to establish both.

Why in the world do we struggle so much to trust Him then? Not only that, but to trust Him enough to put that trust into action? I think the problem has more to do with us than Him. Time and again He has clearly proven His worthiness of that trust... Time and again, He has proven His capabilities, His character, His power, His love.

I think we’d agree that the most obvious problems we seem to have that hinder our faith are forgetfulness and fear. We are not far off from the Israelites in their journey from captivity to the glorious Promised Land... with the Lord constantly reminding them ‘do not forget’ and ‘do not fear.’ However, there is a bigger problem I think we can have: the problem of being so stuck in our past, being so caught up in our old stories of faith and favor... that we neglect to take the steps to create new ones.
“This is what the Lord says— he who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” 
{Isaiah 43:16, 18-19}

I’ll be the first to admit that I am guilty of it. I’ve held onto and dwelled on so many of the things that God has brought me through in my past that I’ve yet to take steps into a new chapter in my life. I’ve been so guilty of this, in fact, that my blog has actually sat dormant while I’ve tried to figure out better and more creative ways to tell the stories of my past, instead of focusing on the work God is doing in me right now... How ridiculously pathetic that is!

While trust is indeed established over time, God is not bound by time and doesn’t want us to try to bind Him to it. He’s a God who was not only with us in our past, but He’s with us in our present and will be with us in the time to come. He was with us in the stories headlining our history, but He’s also with us in what’s fresh, what’s new, and what’s happening right now. He’s the Leader in breaking news. And, you know what? Nothing comes as a surprise to Him; He already knows what’s just around the bend.

Don't ever believe that God must remain confined to the stories of your past. When we limit Him to the past, we limit Him in our present and our future. Instead, we need to choose to use our past, rather, to boost our confidence and trust in Him to guide us in the present and to fuel us to actively pursue new things in the future. Allow limited mindsets to be dissolved so that there might be room to dream bigger dreams and imagine more impossibilities. God loves to do the unimaginable, the impossible, the unthinkable. He is just waiting for the opportunity to prove it.

This New Year’s Eve, may you wring out the old year for all it’s worth and prepare to ring in the new works and the new things which God has planned for you. Let today be a day in which you savor and celebrate the goodness and faithfulness of God in your past and acknowledge His presence guiding you in the present toward the triumphs of tomorrow. May your new year be a year for creating fresh and new stories of faith and triumph as you walk confidently and assuredly of Who is with you.