Beautiful verb, "to believe, to trust, to hope!"
Beautiful that faith is so uncomplicated! I can know it with the good five senses God gave me. It's evidence; daily substance, and I wonder if God means for each sense to be used for the sake of faith as much as for any other reason.
Isn't He the practical God who formed flesh with clay and then breathed life into it so that the five senses would work? He is.
Isn't it worth slowing down to use them like this? It is.
For me, it's worth it to slow down, because slow is the only way I know to live full. I want to live full of faith, full of thanks, full of grace, and full of hope. And I've been given five senses for that purpose. May I use them for nothing less than to live in full awareness of the evidence for hope that is not yet seen, because isn't a hope full life a faith full life?
Use the five senses God gives for anything less and become short-sighted; and feel less, hear just tid-bits of truth, and be just partially aware. I practice using my senses to live full. If that means slowing down, and it does, then I will. I am. And I find myself wondering why I've been so bent to race against time?
I know why. I've been the "Let's get 'em turtles racing!" mom who also has experienced some success in her younger days herding cats. But frankly, I can't race time and gather faith; and I doubt anyone can. Time can seem slow and faith can seem scattered, and gathering faith takes time. Sometimes it takes a lot of time. A lot of looking long, feeling long, listening long.
Seems hope growns bigger in the lengths taken to find faith.
I used to whip out my spiritual binoculars to see as far past the present as possible. But not anymore. No; because the more I practice focusing on the moment, the less I want to race beyond it. It's true. Even when the moment is hard. There is beautiful grace for great hope when I feel long the hard, and feel it slow.
Hard things have a great presence in very beautiful hope. May I not pull back, but feel even the hard things, slow. I don't feel that courageous. I know I'm not; but somehow I'm doing it. And somehow I don't want it any other way; because somehow hope is getting big. Just very big.
So I gather evidence. On purpose. With my senses.
Beautiful that the first face the first man saw was his Father's bent expectantly over him!
Beautiful that the first voice he heard was his Father's!
Beautiful that the first touch he felt was by the hand that created him!
I wonder what the Father's first words were when Adam inhaled and opened his eyes? I wonder what Adam's first words were? Surely they had everything to do with this moment so much in this world that Adam probably still smelled like dust.
When did faith became, for me, other worldly? Too spiritual for much earthly good? When did I start confusing faith with hope? I wonder these things, too, because yeah, hope is unseen; but faith isn't. It isn't! Faith is very much seen!
I need to see, taste, hear, smell, and touch faith. And the beautiful thing is, I can. It's how God made me to know Him by this faith, and to please Him with it, and to gain a testimony because of it. And this happens nowhere else but here. Today. Now. In this skin. On this ground.
My testimony of faith is going to happen on suburban pavement that sometimes gets cracked and mended with tar.
It's going to be gained at the cutting board in a kitchen where the dishwasher hasn't been unloaded and the clean knife I need isn't in the knife drawer.
My testimony of faith is gained while I lean over a heaping basket of laundry and extend my leg behind me for balance because I have to stretch the length of the laundry room to pull clean clothes from the dryer. I gain testimonies of faith like that more times than I'd like to admit.
And I gain a testimony of faith when I've forgetten what I came to Kroger to purchase because the rasberries are on a 10 for $10 sale and no matter that it's November and rasberries are out of season. Part of my testimony of faith is that I live a tad out of season. I'm like the neighbor who is raking september leaves in his red Christmas pajamas. What does this have to do with gaining a testimony of faith? Live out of season, and relate to others who are slow, and find a readiness to give an answer for faith, in and out of season. I don't know how it works, but it does.
I also gain a testimony of faith when I walk this grinning fool of a yellow dog who is, truly, my therapy dog. We walk up and down the neighborhood streets and I shuffle my feet through the raspy dry leaves that cover the sidewalks and say, "Thank You. You remembered my girlhood dream to wade through brightest, crispest autumn leaves and hear them whisper in the scatter, and to watch them romp ahead of me like happy children racing the wind and to feel them chasing me from behind!" And sometimes I glance over my shoulder at them to make sure I'm being followed by leaf feet and none other. Sometimes leaves walk loud behind me.
And I gain testimony beneath the waxing moon on those walks when the stars above testify of the unmatched twinkle in God's eyes as He watches me. I look up and bless Him because faith is so tangible that it seems like the stars are closer than usual.
How else but like this is a testimony of faith gained? And how did I not get this till now? How did I miss that faith is given and not achieved?
I get it, now. I just look for faith, gladly. Oh, gladly! Faith is the gift I look for expectantly as if everyday is the day before Christmas and this lil' bit of girl disguised in the frame of a woman is searching for faith behind closed closet doors and beneath beds before Christmas morning! This one believes she'll find the faith she expects to find every day because she'll turn the house upside down in her search for faith and her watch for hope. Look for one, and just watch for the other. The looking trains the eyes to watch.
I see, touch, peel back the layer of skin, and smell the green seed beneath it. It is one seed hanging in one cluster of many clusters that drape heavy on the backyard tree that leans so heavily against the fence that fence pole is losing to tree trunk. But these emerald clusters bowing because they are heavy, and heavier because it rained last night and the drops of rain cling to the green, and the morning sun and breezy gusts transform the air itself into green glitter drops that split into a million sun shards.
I touch the droplets filled with light and pluck a green berry that holds the hope of spring within. The green will birth purple and the hard seed will become as veil soft as crepe.
Faith defines hope. Clarifies it. And I search out faith for this reason. too. I search for faith so that what I hope for is not vague to me.
I smell the sweet pungency and what can I say except, "Thank You"? It's all I can say, and it's enough, because faith just elicits thanks.
I try to poke my fingernail between green pods. I want to go deeper and see more. But it shoots out slippery from between my thumb and index finger.
I would find it later, this bit of green substance so pungent, at the bottom of my coffee cup. "Ha!" I didn't really say it to God, but still He answered.
And faith flavored my coffee today!
written by: Carolyn-Elizabeth