Faith in God
Last year, I studied the word "perhaps/maybe" in the Old Testament. It started with my reading of the chat between Jonathan and his armor-bearer in I Sam 14:
Jonathan said, "Come on now, let's go across to these uncircumcised pagans. Maybe GOD will work for us. There's no rule that says God can only deliver by using a big army. No one can stop GOD from saving when he sets his mind to it."
His armor bearer said, "Go ahead. Do what you think best. I'm with you all the way."
The word "maybe" engages our faith. Faith engages God in the sacrament of the present moment. Hope is like an arrow shot out into the future... drawing the future back through the neck of the hourglass into the faith of the present. Love warms up the vacuous space in-between faith and hope. Another way I put it: Faith believes Him; Hope expects Him; Love embraces Him... all encircling while on this journey, pilgrimage... always on the move. We are moving towards Him as He is moving toward us. When he says he's coming soon... he is always coming... and there are ways that he is always with us and ways that he is coming. I'm not concerned about that final coming... My hope is set on Him in eternity... I've set my mind and heart on things above. Through this kind of hourglass my eschatological hope is shaped.
The bottom line is that faith allows God to be Godself. Faith believes in God's character... God's word. Faith trusts and acknowledges the understanding and wisdom of another. Faith is not stubborn. Faith is not manipulative. Faith can never tell God what to do. Faith can never anticipate what God will do... accept that God will do what is just and right. Faith is the most flexible trusting part of human consciousness... and it's what God targets in us and draws out of us, on the way to making us truly human and fully alive in "their" image... so many layers to God. Can my faith handle all that insurmountable glory funneled into the body, soul, mind and strength of Jesus Christ!? Will I walk obediently with Him over this His earth? Will I love Him as I believe Him? Not to mention will He and I "enjoy" each others presence?? Joy is the relational destination of hope...
The bottom line for me... If He is not leading this armada we're not going anywhere and we're not going to "enjoy" sitting around.
Remember Thomas' words to the disciples when Jesus sets his face on going to Jerusalem (via Bethany to raise Lazarus from the dead) in John 11. The conversation unfolds:
Then he said to his disciples, "Let us go back to Judea."
"But Rabbi," they said, "a short while ago the Jews tried to stone you, and yet you are going back there?"
Jesus answered, "Are there not twelve hours of daylight? A man who walks by day will not stumble, for he sees by this world's light. It is when he walks by night that he stumbles, for he has no light."
After he had said this, he went on to tell them, "Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up."
His disciples replied, "Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better." Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep.
So then he told them plainly, "Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him."
Then Thomas (called Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, "Let us also go, that we may die with him."
Jesus face was set like flint towards Jerusalem. May our faces be set like flint towards our crosses... the bearing in our bodies the marks of Christ. May we already be crucified with Christ. We are already martyrs. Our lives are already hidden with Christ in God. In every way, we take Jesus at his word. We on our way to the same destination. The righteous are as bold as lions.
Jesus and Thomas were fearless. Jonathan and his armor-bearer were fearless. Every Moses has their Joshua. Every Elijah their Elisha. Every Peter their John Mark. Every Paul their Silas... Actually, Paul had a few armor-bearers. I love Band of Brothers.