A Quiet Trust

Notes from the pastor



O Lord, my heart is not lifted up,
       my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things
       too great and too marvelous for me.
But I have claimed and quieted my soul,
       like a weaned child with its mother;
My soul is like the weaned child
That is with me.
O Israel, hope in the Lord from this time
and forevermore.        –Psalm 131

Dear Front Street Church Family,

As we make our journey through Lent to Easter, I am reminded of an expression my father used when I was growing up.  Whenever he could see that I was discouraged, or when I confided in him that I was losing hope, my dad would ask, “Where is your faith?”  Now, if this came from anyone other than my father I might have dismissed it.  But my dad knew about faith.  He had grown up poor, lived through the “Great Depression,” fought in the South Pacific during World War II, and raised a family, so he could talk about faith.

Sometimes I don’t think we really know the meaning of the word faith.  Some of the difficulty comes, I think from the elastic way in which we use the word.  It’s used to express confidence in many things, from family to automobiles.  Many times we use it to describe great, childlike gulps of faith, when a person swallows the impossible.  Do you remember David, when he strode out to meet Goliath? He exercised this kind of extravagant faith, as did the Roman centurion whom Jesus commended in the gospels.  It is said that Jesus was ‘astonished’ by the man’s unflinching confidence.  But that’s not the only kind of faith.

If you journey through the book of Job, or find yourself in Hebrews 11, you will discover a different kind of faith, the kind that remains although the miracle hasn’t happened.  It’s called “fidelity” or, as one person calls it, that hang-on-at-any-cost faith.   This is the faith my dad was talking about when he saw I was ready to give up.  This is the kind of faith he lived by all of his life.  It’s the kind of faith breathed by all of the saints.

Indeed, life may include both kinds of faith…times when we experience God’s closeness, when he is intimate…and times when God seems to stay silent and nothing seems to work our way, when all our striving seems like “filthy rags,” and the Bible’s promises seem oh so distant.  But fidelity involves learning to trust, that; beyond where the eye can see, God still reigns and has not abandoned us.  It is a quiet and lifelong trust.

Kierkegaard was probably right when he said Christians reminded him of school children who “want to look up the answers to their math problems in the back of the book rather than work them through.”  Unfortunately, life does not work that way.  We grow by striving and overcoming the obstacles in our way.  It is one of the reasons for the spiritual disciplines.  Persistent prayer, and fasting, and study, and meditation are designed primarily for our sakes, not for God’s.  And so here we are on this life long journey that is going to take faith.  Not just any kind of faith.  We will need my dad’s faith, a hang-on-at-any-cost faith.  Surely we can do this.  Remember, when the end of history finally comes, there will be one question that really matters; “When the son of Man Comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

He is not far from each of us-

Grace and Peace,

~ Pastor Ray Wittman

Last Published: February 22, 2017 12:41 PM
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