Friday, May 16, 2014

The Storms Come....


There is a widespread notion among the followers of Jesus that if one has faith, all will be well and nothing will impede or threaten one's journey.  If you have faith enough, life will be smooth sailing (without any crucifixions).  If you have faith enough, God will cure all your ills (drive out the cancer or whatever) and guard you from all the dangers and pitfalls of life.  If you have faith enough, you will avoid the storms.

This notion I believe to be false.  Jesus never promised any of his followers a "rose garden" or an easy time.  What he did promise was that those who followed him would have to dance to the same tune that he danced.  A pupil, he said, does not rank above the teacher....the pupil should be content to share his or her teacher's lot.

What Jesus did ask of his disciples was that we should give up our fear and take on faith.  We all live in some degree of fear.  Faith reduces this level of fear.  Life can be paralyzed and restricted by fear.  Life is expanded and enhanced by faith.

Whatever life's vicissitudes may be, we can live in and through them victoriously (withstanding the storms that come) when our fear of them is reduced by a greater degree of faith.  In the biblical sense, faith is a belonging to a Person, the person of the resurrected Christ.  Faith is the assurance that he will never for a moment leave us.  In him we are safe and secure.  The Apostle Paul says, "Nothing--absolutely nothing at all," can separate us from this Love that has invaded us, from this One in whom we put our complete trust.

The purpose of faith then, is to reduce our level of fear, not to get rid of, or avoid, the troubles and the storms of life.  Faith frees us to face whatever comes our way.  "In the world you will have trouble.  But courage!  The victory is mine; I have conquered the world" (John 16:33).  If Jesus has conquered the world, why fear what the world may dish up for us?