Mindful Monday: A Faith “Hike”

“Faith never knows where it is being led, but it loves and knows the One who is leading. It is a life of faith, not of intellect and reason, but a life of knowing who makes us ‘go.’ The life of faith is not a life of mounting up with wings, but a life of walking and not fainting.” – Oswald Chambers

I first came across this quote many years ago when I was reading the My Utmost for His Highest devotional. The verse Chambers is referencing in this quote is one from the book of Isaiah:

But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31 NKJV)

In this verse it seems we can do both — we can mount with wings like eagles AND walk and not faint.  So why does Chambers say otherwise?

To me it means we aren’t supposed to live our lives always in the “high” of a spiritual mountaintop experience.  While those times do happen and are wonderful to go through, we don’t stay there forever.  A majority of our faith walk is just that — a WALK!

I like to go hiking in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest where I live and so I can really identify with the metaphor I feel Chambers is referring to in his quote.  While it is exhilarating to get to the final destination on a hike (be it a literal mountaintop or an alpine lake or a rushing waterfall), you usually only spend a small amount of your actual hiking time there.  Which means a majority of your time is instead spent climbing a mountain or hiking along a stream or clambering over rocky, uneven ground.

Also, I have never suddenly sprouted wings and been able to soar effortlessly to the end of a hike — not matter how often I sometimes wished that might happen! Therefore, I can really relate to this idea of needing to walk and not faint as we navigate through life.

And, similar to hiking in new terrain, we really don’t quite know what this faith journey of ours will look like.  We need to have a good set of directions or we need to have a map and a compass or we need to have a guide who has been there before.  In Jesus we have all that and more!

**Here’s an old song for you based on this verse that I used to sing in church as a kid that keeps coming to mind (but we sang it with a little less of a gospel twist!)**

 

 

 

 

Mindful Monday: What To Do About My Worry?

“Worry implies that we don’t quite trust that God is big enough, powerful enough, or loving enough to take care of what’s happening in our lives.” – Francis Chan

I heard an announcer on the Christian radio station share this quote just a couple of days ago.  It is such a good one but I had forgotten about it.  I first become aware of this quote while reading Francis Chan’s book, Crazy Love, quite a few years back.  And it obviously stuck with me enough to want to write it down (as you can see in the image above).

It stuck with me because I do tend toward worry.  And I didn’t always see it as a big sin in my life but then this quote blew that theory out of the water!  It helped me see worry as a trust issue which needed to be dealt with.

After all, did I believe God to be finite, weak and uninterested in my life?  When put in such a way, I knew that wasn’t true.  I do believe God to be omnipotent, mighty and caring.   But I also think my actions and my attitude don’t always reflect this belief.

So why not? I am reminded of Romans:15-16 from The Message which says, “What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise. So if I can’t be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it becomes obvious that God’s command is necessary.”

This section of Romans is dealing with the stronghold that sin has on our lives.  Again, I didn’t always equate worry with sin but I do now.  Therefore, now I can take this passage and look at it from the perspective of a worrier in desperate need of reform!  Which is why the end of this chapter in Romans 7:21-25 offers me such insight and hope:

“It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin (worry) is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they (worries) take charge.

24 I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question?

25 The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin (worry) to do something totally different.” (The Message)

That we live a “life of contradictions” is so true! God desires peace and rest for my mind but I often pursue what I think is best instead and don’t trust God to be “big enough, powerful enough, or loving enough to take care of what’s happening.”  And in doing so I worry.  And in my worrying I sin.  And yet in my sin I can turn to the cross for forgiveness.

So maybe my worry isn’t such a bad thing after all as long as I recognize it for what it is and let this realization point me to the saving grace of Jesus.  So then, what should I do about my worry?  Allow it to turn me toward God and then lay my worries down at His feet.

After all, He’s big enough, powerful enough and loving enough to take care of them!