Discover more from Trinity Forge
We are to walk by faith...
What in the world does that mean?
I’m a follower of Christ, a Christian. But… I’m not a very good one for the most part. I can be short tempered, arrogant, and stubborn and sometimes I can be all three at the same time… I don’t understand christianese and church language and can become very frustrated very quickly with others when I don’t understand what they are saying and they can’t explain, in normal language, the point that they are trying to get across.
One of the traits that I have is that I am very analytical in my thinking and as a result it has made following Christ harder than what it probably needs to be. I don’t trust very easily and I don’t follow very easily. I have to understand the “why” before I agree to something and before I am able to follow. Part of the problem is stubbornness and pride on my part. Part is from past wounds from others where trust has been compromised. Yet another part of my problem is the seemingly unending way that I analyze EVERY FREAKIN’ thing and there doesn’t seem to be any way that I can overcome that personality trait.
I have been envious of others in the past, those faithful followers that just seem to believe without much effort. They just follow. Perhaps God worked on them differently than he did with me or perhaps they’re just putting on a show of believing and don’t really have the faith they portray to others. I don’t know and it really doesn’t matter to me other than there have been times that I have wanted the level of faith that they appear to have.
But… what is faith? Why is it that I want what they appear to have and what the Bible tells me that I need to have? Turns out that faith is not as simple as the current atheistic/humanist/marxist worldview, which is prevalent in the west, would lead us to believe. The atheist thinks that faith means believing in something that you can’t see or prove and that’s a pretty shallow definition in my opinion. The typical atheist believes in Darwinian evolution, even though there is not any proof that it has happened or is happeneing. There isn’t even a working theory on how it happens or has happened. They just believe because someone told them so and told them that there is proof. Turns out that the atheist has faith in something that can’t be proven or can’t be seen. That’s not how the word “faith” is used in Christianity.
Faith as used in the Christian context is interchangeable with the word “trust”. You see, we can believe anything that we want to believe. We can believe that a man can decide to be a woman because that’s how the man feels (even though the man can’t define what a woman is), or that the earth is flat (yes there are people that are convinced that the earth is flat), or that Islam is a religion of peace. We can believe whatever we want and we can convince ourselves of our beliefs based on the information that we decide to trust. Faith is based on choices that we make and the choices that we make are based on the information that we deem to be true. The information that we deem to be true is based on how honest we are with regards to whether we are seeking truth or whether we are only looking to confirm our own ideas and theories. At some point, we begin to place our faith(trust) in what we believe to be the truth.
As mentioned before, I (over) analyze things and don’t arrive at belief or trust very easily. That has caused me problems in church because I get bored with typical boilerplate sermons and conversations. I need depth. I need understanding. I brought this frustration up to a friend of mine, who happens to be a preacher, and he gave me the perfect response. He told me “the pastor has to put the cookie jar where everyone could get a cookie” It was then that I understood church a little better. Not everyone is an over thinking nerd like me. Not everyone understands as I understand. Not everyone needs to be convinced as I need to be convinced. Some folks just trust easier that I do. It was a moment of clarity that I am grateful for but it is also one that took me to task.
Because I am able to understand to a little deeper level and because I have the ability to share what I understand, I have the responsibility to share what I know and understand with those who maybe struggling in the same way that I struggle. So with that being said, or typed as it were, I want to share a realization that I’ve had or perhaps a revelation that I was given.
One of the frustrating (for me anyways) sayings that we have in the American Christian world is “walk by faith”. Essentially meaning, move through life with a trust that God will be there and lead the way. I have had a hard time understanding what this means in a real way. I understand what the phrase means. But, I don’t understand how that applies to life in a real and practical way.
Being at sea has been a spiritual experience for me. There have been times when I would yell out in anger to God, only to come back and apologize and ask for forgiveness and there have been interesting times when God has revealed Himself to me in some unique way. I know God exists and I trust in Him to the best of my limited ability because He has shown me enough for me to believe in Him.
I like to go up on the bow of the vessel at night. It’s usually peaceful and is a good place to be alone. On one particular night, I was thinking through the phrase “walk by faith”. For whatever the reason, that was something that was running through my mind. This particular night was darker than the usual night time. The sky was overcast and there was no moon. It was dark. Like being in a closet kinda dark. Walking around the deck in that kind of darkness is dangerous. There are many trip hazards, there are plenty of things to run into, and its possible to get hurt badly and no one would know anything about it for a while. Plus… it can be a little scary. I mean… it feels like there is something just waiting to grab you, like some kind of monster or pirate or something. Your imagination can play games on you in that kind of darkness. But I really wanted to go up to the bow because there was a thunderstorm in front of the vessel and I really wanted to watch it. A nighttime thunderstorm at sea is something impressive and is really something to see if you get the chance.
Then the revelation/realization happened… I was really nervous walking in the dark because I knew there were dangers. I knew roughly where those dangers were located but not exactly and I didn’t want to find them the hard way, plus there was the monster/pirate/something that my mind had convinced me was out there in the dark, just waiting to grab me and do something like throw me overboard, or tickle me, or I don’t know what, but my imagination had worked overtime to convince me it was there. But I slowly took a couple of steps anyway, determined to feel my way to the bow. Then after a couple of baby steps, a flash of lighting revealed what was right in my way and helped me get oriented to my surroundings. Some of the nervousness went away. Then it was dark again but I was less nervous. Then another couple of steps and another flash of lightning. This time I was convinced that the monster/pirate/something was just a mind game and the fear of the unknown was gone. This when on a couple more times and I was able to find my way to the pointy end of the vessel, where I could watch the thunderstorm off in the distance.
The revelation/realization is this: when we walk in faith, we have to step out on our own in this crazy, scary thing known as life. We have to step off knowing that there are dangers and hazards, which we know about but don’t know where they are. We step off trusting that God will reveal the way and that He will help us to avoid the dangers so that we can get to where He wants us to go in order to experience life abundantly. All we have to do is step into the dark, knowing that God will send us a brief flash of light to show the way, but only a brief flash light and not a completely illuminated route for us to take. Each individual step has to be a step in faith and we have to choose whether or not we are going to trust Him or trust ourselves. If we trust in Him, we will get to see something pretty awesome but if we only trust ourselves, then we will only stay in safety and spend our days on social media, video games, and YouTube just simply watching our lives go by.
Now you may be saying, “I would’ve just grabbed a flashlight and walked where I wanted to walk”. That would be one way of doing it but it would’ve watered down the experience. The journey wouldn’t have mattered and the result would’ve been less fulfilling. I always carry a flashlight when I’m at sea and could’ve used the one that I had but I didn’t want too. Flashlights ruin night vision and limit what you can see to only where the light is shown. Truth is, I wouldn’t have this little story to tell and this realization never would’ve happened had I did things my own way. Really, I don’t remember the thunderstorm, I’ve seen lots of them, but I do remember the lesson of walking by faith and I do remember the emotions created while walking in the dark. By stepping out in faith, I experienced something amazing where as by following my own means, I wouldn’t have anything remarkable to talk about. The journey is most always an important part of the experience, sometimes the journey is more importanter.
In conclusion, this concludes this post. I’m really not sure what to call these. Is this a post, or a blog, or an essay? I’m not real sure… but, I do thank you for reading whatever this is to the end. Please share, subscribe, and/or comment if you’d like or don’t if you don’t want to. Whatever… I hope that you have a blessed day.
Fair Winds and Following Seas,