My Belief, My Faith

For a majority of people around this globe, a belief in a “Higher Power” is a shared experience. Whether Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Jew, Buddhist, Shinto, Bahia or any other number of belief systems, a God of some making is at the core of their belief system.

I grew up in the Methodist church. I went to church camp. I attended Sunday School. Sunday night youth group played a key part of my spiritual and social development throughout my school years. While in college, I worked as a youth pastor at a local Methodist church and after college, I attended Seminary and then entered pastoral ministry for a number of years. While no longer affiliated with the Methodist church, I still believe in one God who is my “Higher Power” and Jesus, as God’s son, is who I follow by the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

For those who don’t adhere to this, it might sound a lot like magical mumbo-jumbo. But I’m okay with that. I accept that I don’t know all. And I understand that I might never fully understand. A central tenant of faith is…well…Faith: Believing in things I cannot see.

And this Faith has caused me to think quite a bit about the stories that help shape my belief that God is in control. At least I sure hope he is.

Let’s be honest. If you are reading this in the month of March, in the year 2017, then you have to wonder if ANYONE is in control. You have to question how 20 million people are approaching starvation and death in the famines of central Africa. You have to question how a helicopter can open fire on a refugee ship carrying women and children, how hundreds of thousands of refugees are ignored by the world. How North Korea can continue to exist. How the president of the United States can say and do the things he says and does and still receive applause and praise.

I’ll be honest; my faith in humanity is shaking. My hope in people is wavering. My confidence that leaders will make the best decisions is faltering. It’s this unease and fear that has led me to think about the giants of my faith and how they placed their trust in God in difficult times, rather than men. They believed that God was bigger and could deliver them from their dilemma and I invite you to do the same, no matter your religious belief.

I’ve been thinking of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who trusted that God would protect them from the crazy king who threw them in the hottest furnace fires. I’ve been thinking of Abraham who was willing to leave everything to live out God’s plan. Of Joseph who trusted God even while fleeing from Potiphar’s wife. Of the disciples, who put their trust in Jesus, even though they knew it would mean their death. Of Paul who, while in jail and chains, never let his faith waiver. Of the early church martyrs who were fully confident of God’s power and faithfulness.
This thinking has led me to pray that we will live lives of faithfulness in all that we do, even when life is hard and painful. That we will trust our God is big enough, even when we do not understand the plan and the world around makes very little makes sense. That we will always put our hope in God, even when the fires are hot and the kings are crazy.
That is my prayer for you, and for us all, this week…and in all the weeks to come.

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