Part III: Faith
“What are you doing?” I asked my sister, Jill. I saw her filling out a form, hunting for a stamp, and addressing an envelope, all with a gleeful look on her face.
“I’m going to win this t-shirt.” She pointed to a sheet of paper so thin the ink had long since left the creases in the paper. On it was a photo of a t-shirt with some ironic, goofball phrase and the words, WIN THIS T-SHIRT. She confidently licked the envelope, walked through the enclosed porch, and stuck it in our mail slot.
“You know your chances of winning that shirt are next to zero, right?” I said from my lounging position on the couch.
“No, my chances are 100 percent, because I’m going to win it!”
I let my book drop onto my chest. “Jill, don’t be ridiculous, you’re not winning that shirt.”
“Yes I am.”
“No, you’re not, just give up hope now.”
For weeks after our exchange, Jill would run to check the mail every day to see if her shirt came. Each time, I’d yell after her, “You’re not going to win that t-shirt!”
Months later, Jill emerged from a dash to the mail slot with a box. She held it triumphantly up in the air, looked at me and shouted, “O Ye of Little Faith!”
She meant it as a joke, but I think about that story a lot lately. Is my faith puny? It is enough to take on Brad’s health problems? I sometimes wonder if my atrophied faith is holding us back. Then I remember it’s never about me–it’s about God, what He can do, what He’s already done, and what He will do in our lives.
God is faithful. One of the most remarkable things about faith in the Bible is that the majority of mentions refer to God’s faithfulness to us rather than our faith in Him. Not to downplay the importance of having faith, but the bigger story here is the ever-constant truth that God is faithful. Psalm 91 says God’s faithfulness is a shield. I love that.
Faith as a feeling. If we had to depend on feeling faithful to actually be full of faith, we’d be lost. Faith is action taken based on belief in an unseen God and His word. When I’m feeling a lack of faith in God’s sovereignty or His goodness, I remember truths that speak to where I’ve lost faith. For example, when I feel like God is punishing us, I remember God is for me (Psalm 56:9-11). When I think God doesn’t understand the heartache, I remember God has seen and saved each of my tears and written them in His book (Psalm 56:8) and will one day wipe the tears from my face (Revelation 7:17). When I think God doesn’t care about my relatively tiny problems, I remember God is love and He loves my husband way more than I do (Zephaniah 3:17 and 1 John 4:16).
How do you get more faith? If you asked me if I have faith that God is in control of Brad’s illness and will bring it to a glorious resolution, I’d say yes immediately. But there’s a wide gap between knowing that in my head and taking action based on that knowledge. Because I’ll be honest, I’m not a superhero. I have doubts, I have fears. Most of the time I feel pretty desperate, so my daily prayer is that God will change my heart and increase my faith, and He has. And each day I’m reminded that it’s still not about me and how much faith I have, it’s about how eternally faithful God is to me.