“With an Open Hand”

cropped-change.jpgAll of our possessions, all of our abilities, all of our opportunities as well as the circumstances and people who cross our life path, are there for a reason. Each of them are ingredients in this rolling, boiling cauldron of stew we call life. We are given ample opportunities to use these ingredients, adding and subtracting in any combination we like. With them we can glorify God. We can bless others. We can use them for personal gain. Or, we could even miss them completely. The more we are “in tune” to these circumstances, abilities, and opportunities, the more we come to see and recognize them. I would place our understanding of faith and belief in that boiling cauldron as well, even though this comes with great responsibility, and great risk.

It reminds me of hearing a pastor one time speaking about a posture of holding all that he had been given throughout life with an open hand. That God is the one who provides, and we should feel a response to this provision as being open to the prompting to use, or even lose, what He has graciously given us. I know, it seems like a grandiose version of “the Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away” but I think the analogy stands.

Does that mean I am saying we should hold our faith and beliefs in such a grasp? With an open hand? Willing to risk rejection of them? To risk having them shaped and morphed and changed by age, wisdom, and experience? To risk losing them completely? Yes, I believe we should. And I have to smile a bit as I say that, because even this stance has evoked gasps of righteous indignation from certain circles of faithful believers. “How can you say that you only hold on loosely to your faith in God?” they ask. And the answer is simple: because this stance is something I feel led by the Spirit to embrace. I know that one day I will stand at the foot of the cross and give an account for each direction I chose to take along my path, as well as for what my heart held dear and what it was willing to hold loosely. This includes my faith.

Yes, I believe part of holding our faith with open hands means the possibility of losing it altogether. In fact, this needs to be an option for faith to truly be alive and vital within any of us.

Is it scary? Yes.

Is it unsafe? Definitely.

Faith is not an easy walk. Faith is scary. Faith isn’t safe.

The world isn’t safe. It will certainly try to challenge our beliefs and understandings. And the Lord may often allow these challenges in order to stretch, grow, and strengthen us—and our faith—as we journey further along life’s path in the world. This allowance is not out of some sense of meanness, anger, or indifference. Quite the contrary, and I think this is key. God’s use of these troubling circumstances shows an incredible amount of love and faith on His part. You see, we are called to have faith in Him for the simple reason that He has faith in us! I believe He is actually rooting for us. Encouraging us. Cheering us on surrounded by a vast chorus of angels, singing, shouting, and doing the wave! For us!

Why?

Because He knows we can do it. We can overcome. We can weather through. That this is what we were designed for. Not to be constantly battered by the storms of life, but to show God’s glory within the storm. To rely on Him, and on those He surrounds us with. Within each circumstance, we are the ones who get to choose whether it be a test to strengthen our faith, or a challenge to abandon our faith and walk away.
~ excerpt from These Threads of Faith, pg. 22

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