Monday, February 16, 2009

Faith

This past week I found myself frustrated as I listened to a Christian Sister lecture me about faith. I do not usually like to engage in controversial conversations and often hear myself "agreeing" just to avoid conflict, but I had to take a stand this last week. I am increasingly becoming tired of Christian rhetoric and bad advice that's often hurtful from fellow Christians. It's been a pattern I have encountered for 4 years now, that started with strange and hurtful advice during the years I was sick. Thankfully, no one that I know that reads my blog or goes to my home church has ever said these types of things so I can safely share my thoughts here.

My husband will know in a few weeks how "bad it really is" in this economy as the final numbers come in and the plan is put in place that will undoubtedly reduce our income to an unprecedented low. They actually told them at their staff meeting last week, "don't panic yet, as you don't know what to panic about. You will know on Feb 25th."

StudHusband and I aren't ones to panic but we are ones to plan. If we experience the kinds of cuts that are predicted, one of the options to navigate that lack of money would be to make cuts in areas that we currently are spending in. Logical. So, when I shared why my heart felt heavy this last week to this friend, she began to lecture me that I need to have a spirit of Faith and not Fear. Somehow, sharing to her that it is possible that with these potential major cutbacks coming our kids might not be able to continue at their tuition based Christian school was being "fearful" and not "faithful".

I took this hurtful conversation with me on my run today and chatted with God about it. He impressed this very clearly on my heart: you are to have Faith in ME, daughter, and not faith that the outcome of this situation will be what you are wishing it will be. I am not Santa Claus, I am GOD.

Will you still have faith in me if the future is hard because you have to work more than you ever have, to have the same amount of money you currently have? Will you still have faith in me if you have to cut back in ways you never dreamed you'd have to? Will you still have faith in me if your tomorrows, for a time, are truly challenging?

Or is your faith one where you tell friends, "I have faith that even though these major financial cutbacks are happening, I believe that God is a God of miracles therefore, we will get to continue on as normal because God will do a miracle..."

I absolutely believe with all my heart that if StudHusband's salary cuts are as bad as predicted that one of the potential futures could include miracles that keep things as they are (we keep our house, our kids get to stay in their Christian school, we get to do things we want to do)...but my faith is not going to be proclaiming that I have faith in that particular outcome...I will proclaim a Faith in God...period. Come what may, we will still Love Him and strive to Give Him Glory even if the future that I want is not what future I am going to get.

This "name it and claim it" stuff is turning God into Santa. Instead, I choose to simply proclaim, that :

Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death, a]">[a]
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
-Psalm 23

Come what may, we know that we will be walking this valley with God, and that's the Faith that I will talk about.

Does that make any sense?

7 comments:

runninggal said...

I really liked what you had to say in your blog. I have over the course of my life come accross Christian's that treat God as Santa Claus as you have experienced. The whole ask and he will give syndrom doesn't really work that way.

I have been doing a lot of research of the pholosyphy of "The Secret." The basic concept is what you think and pray for will transpire. Think negative thoughts and negitive things will happen, think positive thoughts and positive things will happen.

In some aspects I agree with the secrect and in others I do not. I agree that the Santa Claus version of God doesn't exist nore should it. Though I have experienced that when I keep my chin up, believe that God will protect me, I will be ok. Nothing ever goes occording to my plan....EVER It was not my idea to start a business, it's what God said I needed to do during a prayer retreat in September. One by one all the pieces are coming together. I am dealing with it one day at a time and God keeps helping me today with what I need.

I friend once told me that God will never gives us a situation that is too much to handle. I find that comforting when facing difficult times.

This whole economic downturn has gotten a lot of people running around worried of what's going to happen tommorow. I know you aren't worried, just not sure where this situation will take you. So, it is my hope for you that whatever happens on Feb 26th that you will be better for it. If that means budget cuts then I beleive that God does have something around the corner that's better. At the moment your not looking around the corner because you don't need to.

You're on the right track!
Loves
Katie May

runninggal said...

Julie

I visited your blog just now and it is very well done. It's nice to find someone in the internet that can spell and put together a sentence. I liked the recipe for the muffin. My secret passion is muffins. Since I do most of the cooking I will throw a batch in the oven.

runninggal said...

Hi,
This is from Julie, a friend from when we went to New Hope Foursquare Church here in Corvallis. She is gifted in worship and a beautiful person inside and out. Her writing today spoke to me profoundly as I am asking God some questions about Women's ministry in our church--what am I to do, what is my part? I think I have been looking through the keyhole and don't need to know all that God knows, just see the part He is asking me to do now and HE will fill in the rest.
Kelly, good recipes here too.
Bless your day everyone. Love Trudy

Kristin said...

Julie, thank you for blogging about this. Just recently Michael and I have been talking to the kids about cutting back and making those sacrifices that are hard but necessary to do. It may involve school also. I do believe God is going to meet all our needs but He may not see the same things we think are needs as needs. On the other hand I am praying about faith and asking Him if He does want us to step out in faith. I don't know. I just know that He is Good and this time is a time to listen intently for His voice. I just pray that I hear it right.

I am sorry that things are getting so tough and will be praying for you as you find out the financial news. Above all and no matter what happens God wants our worship and praise and most definitely our faith. Not that Santa faith like you wrote but faith that He will be God no matter what. Thanks for this blog. It made me think about my own thoughts on this subject.

Becca said...

You and your family are in my prayers at this difficult time. Unfortunately, there are so many who are facing similar uncertainty. The important difference is that you have hope in your Lord. My heart aches for those who face such dark times without the Light of the world.

Take comfort in one of my favorite verses: Jeremiah 29:11 "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" This was written during the Babylonian captivity, when the Israelites truly were at their lowest point. It must have been encouraging to them to know that God had not abandoned them, but even promised to take care of them and to give them a future.

I have been clinging to this promise for years, trying to learn how to fully trust the One who has such an awesome and beautiful plan for my life, even though I can't see it right now. It strengthens my feeble heart to trust in my Almighty God, knowing that He holds my life in His hands...and they are very, very strong hands!

John in FL said...

Hi Julie

Thanks for sharing your circumstance with your readers. My thoughts (not preaching) are that Scripture teaches that faith is a gift from God and not something we conjure up within. Nor is faith the opposite of fear. Fear is normal and sometimes even appropriate.

I prefer the biblical notion of trust. We can be afraid while simultaneously trusting that God is still GOD and sees the beginning and the end. I've learned in my walk with Christ that I will have many ups and downs. The Christian life is not a formula: daily devotions + regular church attendance – serious sins = abundant living. Hah! I wish that were so! The idea that God will not give me more that I can handle rings hollow for me. The day that my daughter was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis I was told that “God will not give me more that I handle”. Ugh, not much comfort. God says that His “grace is sufficient” which (I think) puts the emphasis on God’s providence and off of our abilities and human ingenuity.

Focus on your relationships, trust God, pray for wisdom, seek wise counsel, and then take action. I will pray for you and your family.

P.S. Sorry for the ramble, I should probably rethink and edit this post but it is late here in Florida!

Suzanne's Blog said...

Very true of faith. Thanks for the reminder and encouragement in these interesting times. God is always speaking through your heart to encourage so many others in their walk with God. Thank you for your courage to write these deep things that many other people choose not to talk about!! Your blog is truly becoming a book, filled with Biblical truth. It's always fun to read!