Tuesday, September 30, 2008

In Other Words---Faith to Believe


If God said that Jonah was swallowed by a whale, then the whale swallowed Jonah, and we do not need a scientist to measure the gullet of a whale. ~ A. W. Tozer ~

My early theology was built in play dough, Sunday School Songs and building blocks. I cannot remember a time when I wasn't involved at church. That faith of a child came naturally to me. "Aunt" Josie taught it and I believed. Granny sang it to me, and I believed it. Noah took all those animals in the ark. Of course. Moses and the children of Israel crossed on dry land. Uh-huh. Jonah lived three days in the stomach of a big fish. Right. I didn't question. I had faith that the Bible was true and right.

And you want to know something? I still believe it. I never question those things. I believe the Bible to be an accurate picture of the movement of God through His people on the earth. And if He said it in His Word, then I can accept that.

He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 18:2-4

Honestly, the fact that I am able to respond in that kind of faith is a gift of God. I question everything else.
What does the red sunset mean? Why do children have ears when they have no use for them? Does a triangle always have 180 degrees? (aside, non-Euclidean geometry was a favorite, and this was my prof's favorite question to confound non-class members) Can any politician really represent "main street"? How does anyone survive in this world without faith in God? (Actually I ask that one alot!)

I love the quest of knowledge. Logic fascinates me. I want to understand how things work. And I can really drive you mad with my questions sometimes (hmmm...maybe those children come by it honestly). But I find no need to question my faith. That's what makes it faith. It is accepted as truth.
1. confidence or trust in a person or thing: faith in another's ability.
2. belief that is not based on proof: He had faith that the hypothesis would be substantiated by fact.
3. belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion: the firm faith of the Pilgrims.
(according to www.dictionary.com)

I'm thankful that my personality has allowed me to accept God easily, without hours of debating the authenticity of the miracles. That is not the case for everyone. I have a friend who has probably the most brilliant mind that I will ever encounter in day-to-day life. Incredibly logical. Irritatingly logical at times. Yet a few years ago he had a life-changing encounter with Christ. Since he is the type that would know off the top of his head what a cubit is, or how much fish a whale can swallow at a time, or any number of "facts" that could call into question the miracles, I'm sure that reading Scripture is somewhat of an adventure for him. But he comes with the same faith. Whether he knows that a whale's gullet is big enough to swallow a man, so God used an available creature (made by God btw) to teach Jonah a lesson or he knows that there is no way the whale could have swallowed Jonah alive but somehow God made that happen, he still must accept that the story has truth and purpose. His being logical does not stop him from being faithful. Instead it leads him to a point where he has more facts than many of us and he still chooses to believe God! That may be more faith than I can bring because he is coming to a place where all logic says "no" and he still believes "yes."

Whether you come today with child-like faith that says, "you say it I believe it" or you come with faith that encounters your logical mind and still believes or you come as Tozer saying that there is no need to question, the faith you bring is all you need. God only ever asks us to bring our mustard seed of faith. He grows it into what we need to believe Him more and more. Are you bringing Him your faith today? What is stopping you?

I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." Matthew 17:20b

Father God, thank you for giving me people in my young life that would channel that child-like innocence and teach me about you. Thank you for protecting my faith from science and logic teachers that could see it only as something to ridicule. Thank you for giving me friends that show me that the path to faith may be different, but you are always the same. Help me to teach my little ones of You so that their imaginations and hearts may be captured by a faith that will sustain them through life. Amen.

Deborah is our hostess today at Chocolate and Coffee. Please join us for other interpretations of this great quote.


Kristin said...

My faith is strong. It brings me great peace.

Patricia Warren said...

Mipa, wonderful post! My daughter has a young man who she really likes and he really likes her...but the fact of his agnosticism is a huge wall between them.

He is struggling with being abandoned and hurt all his life...he blames God...doesn't understand where God comes from...or why he would create man to worship him (he sees this as self-centeredness as he tries to understand God in human terms).

He is very well-read and questioning. I pray he soon encounters Jesus so his intelligence can be used by God like your friend.

Esthermay Bentley-Goossen said...

I read your post with quite wide eyes. I really enjoyed your insights about playdough and Euclidean geometry & basic logic!

HOWEVER, "Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

Thank you for the SELAH!

Bonnie W said...

Great post MiPa. I love your take on faith. You're right - I don't wuestion that God is. I accept the Bible accounts. I know He can and does do miracles.

Where I have always struggled is with the question - "are those same things for me?" Thankfully I'm learning that more profoundly each day.

Thanks for posting this today.


Thanks for posting today MiPa. I love the playdough analogy. Great insight.

Blessings and hugs!

Betsy Markman said...

"Why do children have ears when they have no use for them?" I laughed out loud at that one!

True faith is a work of the Spirit, and we who have it are so blessed! Thanks for sharing.

(BTW, I've been to your city once, several years ago. Got terribly lost for quite a while, but finally found the wonderful cathedral. A great memory for me now.)

Denise said...

I really enjoyed your post.

Laurie Ann said...

I, too, grew up in church. My mother sang to me of Jesus before I was even a bed-baby in church. I've never not known Him, which is probably one of the reasons my faith is as it is. Awesome post on faith. I loved it.

Kat said...

Thank you for helping those of us with a "childlike faith" not feel ashamed. I grew up in a home without much faith in it and had an Atheist for a step-dad, so the term "childlike" when said about my Christian faith never had a nice connection with it, until today. Thank you for giving it a nice connection and making it a blessing and not shameful :)

PS My Atheist Step Dad for all his ridicule turned to Christ before he died, praise the Lord! :)

Tami Boesiger said...

I can really drive you mad with my questions sometimes

Yep, this confirms it. We ARE twins separated at birth!

And I like what you said about bringing our faith to God and letting Him strengthen it. Good point.

Amy said...

Ok, well this helps me out with an issue I had a couple of years back. I had a friend that was questioning the miracles from God and I'm so ignorant on some of the things I couldn't answer them....the answer is, it wasn't my place to answer the logic behind it. It just happened, that's how it happened...THE END. Thanks, this has quietly been bothering me ever since that conversation occurred and now I don't feel so bad being caught between 'I just believe' and 'Hmmm, I don't really know how He did that'. Makes total sense to me. Apparently children can teach one so many things without meaning too! Thanks!

Danielle Says Hello said...

I was searching for this meme on Tuesday and just couldn't find it anywhere. I will have to bookmark this!!!