The Masked Enemy

 

Last Sunday, Marshall walked into the kitchen and, standing at the sink, declared out of nowhere, “Emsy, I want more faith.”

His words were heavy, swollen with desire and frustration, and yet lingered in the air with a lining of hope.

I immediately wanted to throw my arms around him and kiss him, {there is really nothing more attractive than a man who wants more of God} and yet something told me to be still and quiet, to pick up the bowl he had just washed, begin drying… and listen.

He began to speak of how he has recognized that God has given him the gift of intellect, of analyzing details and picking things apart and making decisions slowly and wisely as he considers every person and every element that might be impacted — For a girl who loves to move on an impulse and make things happen, this gift of his both balances me and makes me batty — But truly, this part of him has served us so well in our marriage and life!

He continued to unpack how there must be a line though, of when the analyzing must stop, and a leap must be made – a decision, a diving in, a letting go, a movement of sorts. He lamented how so much analyzing and wrestling has in fact removed faith, trust and adventure from our lives.

Whoa. There was no simple answer, only a blooming realization deep within that for as much faith as I already possess, it is so very very small compared to what could be.

I was quiet.  I began to pray. I wrote on the chalkboard in our kitchen.

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I reflected on my conversations with God and found myself often asking for clarity.That word inserted itself into so many of my prayers.

But was I really after clarity?

A few days later, my friend related a story of Mother Theresa encountering a man on his travels who asked her to pray for clarity for him. And her response? “I will not pray for clarity for you. I will pray for trust.”

There it was again.

Could it be that when I am asking for clarity, I am not so much asking for the wisdom that God promises to pour out in James,  or a greater understanding of God’s character that he promises to reveal whenever I seek after it?  But when I pray for clarity, what I am essentially asking is for God to speak certainty into my heart.

I am hiding behind “clarity” but in essence asking for certainty.

And if I have certainty, whats the one thing I don’t need?

Faith.

Jesus taught that faith is not blind but indeed can be based on evidence. {John 20:27} Contrary to popular belief, faith is not blind or without basis. Faith is in fact a knowledgable trust in something based on research and experience.

And then my dear mentor/counselor/pastor/friend spoke this to me:

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And while it wasn’t exactly what I was asking for, God began to bring clarity.

As I look back, I see where doubt, where uncertainty has driven me deeper into the heart of God. My questions have in fact been the catalyst to a vibrant life of prayer. It was not doubt that ever undermined my faith, but taking doubt for an answer and lazily leaving questions un-asked, rather than recognizing doubt as an invitation to pummel God with my wholehearted uncertainty.

And in so doing he gave me enough in response to trust him and leap.

We think that any level of doubt negates the presence of God.

Could it be that doubt in fact begs the presence of God?

It reveals a great need for a God who knows all, sees all and hears all. It exposes a deep longing  for a God who has told us that the most glorious adventure lies in relinquishing our desire to be all knowing and to just let him be God… so that we do not have to be. It is just too great of a burden.

So doubt?

Let it come.

It is the very chasm that when we jump across, begets more faith.

Certainty, on the other hand?

Let it go.

Clarity, however, {when not masked as certainty} is a beautiful prayer. But let it be for God’s character, his presence, his promises, his love…. so that we might trust and leap and experience an increase of faith.

So that we might take part in the most glorious adventure.

I wonder if that is why we see faith as the only thing that awed Jesus in scripture. After all, it is the one thing he didn’t seem to need considering He was God. It is our faith that heals us, that delights the Father and secures our salvation. A faith that fuels action.

So move. Move on that thing in your heart that you are 51% sure of, and trust that you have a Good Father who will never leave you.

You are loved. And that is enough.


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