Because I feel small.
And though God has not given me a spirit of fear but rather one of power and love, I don't feel that so I don't live that.
So I live small.
So there are days when I accidentally-on-purpose-maybe put God in a box.
And where God is Greater I somehow make Him smaller in my head and fix Him in this somewhat ridiculous box that I made for myself, by myself, because in my small-mindedness I can't fathom something more than the nice, safe, comfortable limits of my box. The walls and the corners of what I see must be all there is.
This must make the enemy overjoyed.
Which makes me sad.
Here's how it happens because there's a method to this madness: Something happens--traumatic in my small little world, but because it's my small world, it's traumatic nonetheless--and because I respond to it according to "Jamie's" way I think that Jesus responds to that the same way. That my hang ups are His hang ups. That my limits are His limits. That my abilities and capabilities are His abilities and capabilities.
I know. I know.
What am I thinking?! But perhaps you're thinking that maybe you do this too. (Or at least I'm hoping one other sweet sister is thinking this so I'm not all alone out on this crazy limb.) I fall into this crazy habit of forgetting how BIG He is when I am living in the nitty-gritty smallness, the humdrum routine of everyday that sometimes makes me start thinking small, believing small.
I think we've grown complacent, accustomed to the tangible nature of our culture. Where things of the spirit are deemed taboo or we're deemed a little bit nuts because we believe in the Holy Spirit and if we believe in the Holy Spirit then there are other less holy spirits. And this spirit realm is a little eerie so people stick with what they know, what they can see, what they can touch, what they can prove. And maybe herein lies the problem.
Faith cannot be proven. Its very nature is based on that which is unseen. God asks us to step off a ledge believing in His perfect love and that His perfect love will not only catch us, but keep us and cast out every fear.
Faith cannot be touched. Sure, perhaps the result of faith can be. But the act of faith is an intrinsically personal one. I can't make you believe. I can't make me believe. I just have to shut my eyes tight and take that really scary step off that really tall cliff and believe that He is right there.
Faith cannot really be understood. It wasn't hugely popular when Noah started building a giant boat in the middle of a field where there wasn't a lick of water. There was no logic in Abraham's obedience when God asked him to sacrifice his only and long-awaited son, Isaac. It didn't really make sense when David, just a boy, obeyed the prompting of the Lord and slayed a giant with a sling shot and a small pebble. Or when Joshua marched around the city of Jericho for seven days. Or when Moses led his people through the Red Sea and into the Promised Land. Or when Esther was given the task of finding favor with her king to save her people. There was little explanation when Mary conceived a child by the Holy Spirit who would be the Savior of the world, the Savior of me.
What God asks of His people rarely makes sense in the moment. In fact, often, it might seem like what He's asking is just a bubble off plumb. But the marvelous awaits just on the other side of that chasm He asks us to jump over.
But there's a flip side.
I think because I sometimes, maybe, put God in a box I get in His way. Not that God couldn't push me out His way, because He's God. But if I'm not praying big, believing big, loving big, why would He go big?
When did we become afraid or forgetful of a Big God? And His really Big stuff?
When did I forget that I love a God who raised people from the dead? Who healed illness and brokenness and cast demons out of the suffering? And this same God loves me.
When did I forget that I believe in a God who has already won the war and is just dying to help us have victory in the battles and skirmishes between here and eternity?
When did I stop looking for the miraculous? Asking if He might do the miraculous? Believing that He wants to do the unbelievable? When did I stop believing that He might answer my really crazy prayer in a way that I can see? That maybe my faith the size of a mustard seed would be just what He was waiting for to move mountains.
When did I forget that faith has to be more than a word that I say, a platitude that I utter, an idea that I agree to, but it must be the concrete that I build my actions on, the impetus to steer my investments of time and energy, the runway that all the other Kingdom stuff can take off from. And the only cure for unbelief, for small complacent faith, is more of Jesus.
My God does not fit in a box. In fact, I'm pretty sure He loves to break them right open.
Chip Brogden wrote "If God will do whatever He wishes, regardless of whether we pray or not, then we do not need to pray at all, and the Lord's instructions on praying for the Kingdom and the Will are superfluous. But the truth is that God waits for a Remnant to rise up and pray in agreement with His Purpose before He does anything--He will do nothing apart from the Church. Apart from HIM, we CAN do nothing; apart from US, He WILL do nothing."The God of the Bible is the same God we serve today. I believe He wants revival. I believe He wants all to come to know Him and none to perish. I believe He wants to make Himself known and use His people to perform miracles for His glory. I believe that He wants to break out of the box that perhaps we have made for Him because it's more comfortable for us because we can see it and touch it and know it. I think He's grieved by our unbelief--by our inability to ask with confidence and belief and agreement for sickness to be healed, for husbands to come to Jesus, for children to turn back to God, for cities to be moved, and for all the other hard stuff that lies between here and forever.
In the face of an enemy who will stop at nothing to break, annihilate, and destroy, we must believe in a God who is bigger or we'll flounder under all this weight. When 9 year old girls are being sold and raped, when 8 year olds are hooked on drugs, when high schoolers are shooting each other, when women are selling their bodies and thus their souls, when men sit in complacency when they should stand for truth, when folks half a world away don't have food to eat or beds to sleep in, when folks are doing unspeakable things to the innocent, and the list of ugly and broken things can go on for days.
And I tell you, my heart is grieved. Broken. Shattered. By the havoc and the hurt that is being wrought. But I have to cling tightly to the Truth and the One who knows every face, every heart, every violation. And He is greater than all of that. He is bigger than all of that. And when I pray, when we pray, the prayers of His people shift the earth a bit, leave ripples with all those prayers we are heaving, by all those prayers that are breaking us right open...you throw one stone in a pond and it makes a ripple, but what if you threw a handful? A bucketful? A truck load? How big is that ripple now? And that ripple goes on rippling through eternity and eternity is changed. And what if those prayers, the hard ones where there are no words just our tears and the loud ones and the quiet one and the grateful ones, were a tsunami, not of destruction, but of God's redemptive love, of His majestic power, of His transforming grace? Rippling the fabric, the very threads of eternity, moving them, changing them, grabbing them, weaving them again, weaving them differently.
When all seems so dark, so hopeless, our prayers light a thousand beacons shouting hope, our prayers set off a wave of ripples that shift the clouds and rend the veil so His light can break through.
I believe we can do all things through Him. I believe that He chooses us to be His hands and feet in a dangerous, lonely, broken world. To be the stuff that others can see and touch and hear and know so taking that leap to the other side of belief is less scary.
But I'm not sure I'm living my life like this. With boldness and reckless abandon to the love and transforming power of Jesus Christ. I'm not sure that I'm being transformed by the message of God's grace and then doing something about it, not because I have to, but because I'm compelled to.
So here's to letting the God of everything transform how I think, how I believe, how I pray, how I live.
Here's to asking God to lovingly and gracefully casting aside my small-mindedness and giving me His eyes to see the limitless and endless possibilities of His Kingdom.
Believing that my Great God will use my small faith to help His Kingdom come.
Grace always Rises,
Hey there, I'm linked up today with some lovely ladies: Holley Gerth at Coffee for your Heart, and Jennifer Dukes Lee at #TellHisStory.