Archive - July, 2010

Faith & Doubt

It’s the title of one of John Ortberg’s recent books (Faith & Doubt). It’s also the story of my life right now.

We’re adopting. That’s no longer a “catch phrase,” “cliche,” or “a big announcement.” Instead, it’s reality. We will jump on a plane in 3 days, to fly to a continent we’ve never set foot on, and we’ll lay eyes on our son for the very first time.

It’s a little different than seeing your kids born.  His skin color is different (he’s Ethiopian), he’s 3 & 1/2, and he talks but doesn’t know English yet.  We really have no idea what we are getting ourselves into.  Will he loves us?  Will he hate us?  Will he understand?  Or some of all of the above?

I go back in forth in my mind subconsciously.  We’re adopting.  It’s no big deal.  We’re just following God.  It was His idea, before it was ours.  This is just the normal Christian life.

Then there are moments when reality hits.  Usually moments when the busyness of children, family, life, church, ministry, small group, counseling, fixing toilets, mowing the yard, preparing another outline for another Bible study, quiet down. Needless to say this isn’t often.

But occasionally life quiets down & subconsciously my mind screams out.  WE’RE DOING WHAT?!?!  WE’RE ADOPTING?!?! REALLY???  THAT’S NOT NORMAL!  THAT’S CRAZY!

And the fact of the matter is, that both realities are true.  It is perfectly normal to adopt.  We are merely following Jesus & loving as He would love.  But it is also crazy!  It will be costly!  This week has been evidence of that fact.  1000’s of dollars on last months credit card for airline fees.  Then randomly on Saturday, Katie’s SUV springs a hinge on the back lift gate.  The entire glass & hardware have to be replace costing $1600?!?!  God what are you up to?

In the middle of all of this I’m growing concerned.  Not as much for today but for the fact that it seems we are leveraging some of our future, our retirement on following God today.  And then i remember my words to our congregation so many times.  God’s call to follow Him is always costly.  It will always require sacrifice.  There will always be a temptation to doubt.  Now we’re living it.

I can remember telling people to give sacrificially to the kingdom.  It’s better to have an empty wallet & joy than to try & gain security in this world and loose your soul.  It’s easier to say than to live.

But in the middle of it all, I wouldn’t change a thing.  Sometimes I wish God would move a little faster.  Sometimes i wish things were more certain.  But then I’m reminded that I wouldn’t depend on God.  I wouldn’t be humble.  I wouldn’t pray, and cry out to God, and ask for help, and be forced to grow in the area of faith.  I’d take credit, grow prideful, and turn away from God.

I had lunch with a buddy today.  His name is Tim (he’s a blogger too – http://searchingforthecross.wordpress.com/).  I was so encouraged by God’s work in His life.  Tim is growing & maturing.  He patiently & confidently told me today about his decision to quit his job and launch out into the unknown to follow God.  I couldn’t tell him he wasn’t being wise.  I couldn’t tell him that it’s better to find a job when you have a job.  All i could do was to sit and listen.  Because i heard the voice of faith in Tim’s life.

I’m realizing more and more that i look for CERTAINTY but God just desires TRUST.  They aren’t the same thing.  Certainty says I can make it on my own.  Trust says, i have no idea how i will make it but i know God has a plan.  Certainty enables me to trust in me.  Trust allows me to grow both in intimacy & dependence upon Jesus, it also keeps me humble and keeps me in the growth process.

So ultimately, I’m learning to be okay with the unknown.  To become comfortable in my own skin.  Even when I’m not sure where God is taking me, exactly.  Because I know at the end of the day, if it weren’t for doubt, there would be no reason to trust.  And if it weren’t for faith, I wouldn’t know the love of an amazing God.

I doubt you’ve gotten this far with me…it’s kind of a long post.  But if you have, listen in to the sermon I’ll be teaching on August 8.  I’ll share some of these ideas & others as we look further into the story of Gideon (Judges 6:36-40).  I’ll be jet lagged from 20 something hours worth of travel the day before.  But i’m already looking forward to sharing this message!  If you don’t have a church home, stop by Green Hills Church – we meet at Cabana in Hillsboro Village at 10AM (www.greenhillschurch.org).