Without faith, it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Hebrews 11:6
My husband was in a car accident as a young adult. Someone else was driving while he slept in the back seat. That incident forever etched in his brain, he has trouble giving the wheel over to anyone else today, even me! If he is in the car, he drives. It’s our unspoken agreement. I think he feels that if he is driving, nothing bad will happen. I’ve labeled this a ‘control issue’. Driving from South Central Nebraska to Upstate New York for family gatherings is a grueling trip…even more so with only one driver!
I was listening to a radio talk show the other day in my car. The hosts (who were both parents) were debating the issue of children’s responsibilities, and appropriate ages to start trusting them with more tasks. The “mom” said, “I can’t wait for my son to get old enough to mow the lawn. That is a task I’ll gladly hand over.” Her statement made me cringe.
My kids ARE old enough to mow the lawn…but I still have trouble allowing them to do it. You see, when I was very young, my neighbor’s daughter lost her arm in a lawnmower accident (when she was an infant). Seeing her grow into an all-star athlete in high school and a mature, responsible adult did nothing to erase the disproportionate fear in my mind of such an incident happening to one of my own children.
In both cases, I think you will agree, that our fears are not unreasonable. But, are they necessary? I think this is where the faith part is supposed to kick in.
The book of Hebrews has been labeled “The Faith Book” and is where I’ve been spending my quiet time lately. I may even go so far as to say, “Hebrews is my favorite book of the Bible.” It is loaded with stories of people who had every right to fear, but were asked to have faith in Christ…anyway.
Faith is something that you cannot see; it is not tangible, concrete. It believes without seeing. Having faith means giving up that control, that certainty. It’s hard for a self-sufficient person to submit to someone else’s control, especially one you cannot see. You can’t read their body language, interpret their tone, sense their intent. Should I trust this? Do they really have authority over me? Where is the line drawn? At what point does irrational fear convert to unwavering faith?
I wish the answers were simple. I would type a period at the end and close my laptop…satisfied. I have a big board hanging on my living room wall; it states simply, “BELIEVE”. If I can do this one, simple thing…believe; if I can accept the whole Bible as truth; it will mean that I have faith. I will finally have that assurance that has been so elusive.
Does it mean I’ll never have pain, frustration, fear? No. It just means that I believe God will carry me through those circumstances and that there is good reason for them to occur. Reasons that I may or may not ever fully understand. If I believe, I accept an authority over me. I give up my “jurisdiction”. I have to trust that authority. I have to believe that I am in good hands.
On the other hand, what do I have to lose? What are the stakes…eternal life or eternal damnation? What if I believe my entire life that my faith is important and I serve Christ willingly, gladly; and it turns out that there is no heaven or hell? So, I’ll look stupid for believing…to whom? We’ll all be six feet under. No one will know. If a tree falls in the woods…
But, what if it’s true and I live my entire life for ME, not caring about eternity. What if I painstakingly orchestrate my own instant reward system for every little thing, and demand respect from everyone at every turn; only to find out there are consequences for my actions at the end; that someone else DOES have authority over my life? What if I raise my children to be like me, and they have to pay that price too?
One of my favorite songs by Nicole Nordeman is called, “What If”. You should listen to it. It asks pertinent questions about faith. What if it’s true? They say the cross will only make a fool of you? What if they’re right? -- What if you’re wrong? What if there’s more? What if there’s hope you’ve never dreamed of hoping for?
It boils down to this. You have to choose. Believe or not. Personally, I choose faith. I believe that God is in control and that ultimately He has the final say. I believe that He loves me, and you, and my kids and that He died on a cross so that we could have life…eternal life.
Do you think, after reading today’s devotion, I’ll be able to convince my husband to let me take the wheel once in awhile?
Should I have irrational fears about my kids mowing the lawn? Not if I believe we’re in His hands. Not if I have faith in Him. I do. Besides, what if I’m wrong for believing?
PLEASE ENCOURAGE AUTHOR,
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Sister, I'm amazed every time I read your work by how much we have in common and how the Lord uses you to speak directly to my present circumstances. This "control" issue has been so tough for me! I've learned via some recent, excrutiatingly painful lessons that the fear of lack of control is very real.. and one that I must overcome. And simple "faith" that the Lord is very real and very much in control isn't always enough. I *KNOW* He's got me covered. But the fear is still quite real. For the last couple of months, I've been having some procedures done on my spine that force me to be dependent on others. Understand that I am unmarried and have a house to remodel and an acre of land to take care of... by myself. And yet, my lawn is mowed... for now. That fear boils over into a terrible, TERRIBLE case of motion sickness. I can't even be sedated without motion sickness patches because the fear of lack of control makes me violently ill. In other words, I understand this all too well. But the only way we can overcome our fears is to look them in the face and defy them. I have the same problem as your hubby as well. I was thrown from a pickup as a kid and hit the pavement face first. Riding passenger makes me nauseous every time. I thank God for motion sickness patches!! :) Let those kids mow the lawn!!!