Tag Archive: crisis of faith

and let Him loose in my life…

was end of grade 10 or 11 [or standard 8/9 as we used to call it in the days when we had to trudge 50 miles barefoot in the snow just to get a glass bottle of milk!] when that happened, but let me back track.

i was five years old when i asked Jesus into my heart – looking back now i may have not understood the metaphor – at least i’m hoping not, cos i’m not sure at 38 that i get it now – but i am convinced that i knew enough about what i was doing for it to matter – my parents had taught me well about the love of God and how that was demonstrated through Jesus and more importantly lived that out in loving ‘the least of these’ who constantly seemed to be in and around or near our lives… and so it doesn’t really matter that the terminology may have been a bit off, what happened was important – i believed in God and i did something [asked Jesus into my heart] to demonstrate that belief.

when i was nearing the end of school though i had some youth leaders pray for me to be filled with the Spirit – again, terminology a lot of people may not be happy with or fully get, and again i don’t think it matters… what changed pretty dramatically in me at that time was that i moved from believing in Jesus to following Jesus – instead of just my heart, i invited Jesus to be a part of every part of my life… and my life changed.

i have never looked back. it has gotten bumpier for sure and there were many moments of struggle and wrestling with doubt and confusion and there was a near death moment which coincided with a crisis of faith ‘well do i really believe this stuff or not?’ moment [Malawi, 2000 – nothing like a near death moment to help you figure out the answer to the do you believe this or not? question, by the way] and there have been times of experiencing the Presence of God and seeing Him work in powerful ways and other less fun times of feeling so far away from God and wondering if He really cares cos it doesn’t feel like it so much right now… and yet through it all i have continued because i know that i know [deep, deep inside of me the Truth lives and is real and burning and nothing will put it out]

following is way different to believing
while Jesus was locked in my heart, i was safe to live life as i wanted to, pretty much
but He is not content with that – He wants everything and i needed to give it to Him
and that is a decision i have not regretted no matter how hard it has been at times

i just think it might be helpful for anyone still using the ‘invite Jesus into your heart’ language to consider moving to a more Biblical ‘invitation to follow Jesus’ especially where children are concerned. i think it might be a lot easier to understand. and a lot harder to be unaware that you’re not living it.

one of my favourite freaky stories in the bible [and there’s lots of them – 2 kings 2.23 story of elisha and the baldyhead bear-mauling incident] is the story of elijah found in 1 kings 17.

now a bunch of things happen here – there is elijah being fed miraculously by ravens, there is the miracle of the flour and oil of the widow not running out and then the widow’s son mysteriously dies.

it is one of those crisis of faith moment stories many of us have experienced – having just witnessed this crazy miracle of the continuing food supply, the widow is now accusing the prophet [and God by association] of having it in for her.

what comes next is incredibly dangerous and as with so many bible stories, we have lost the edge of the danger because we know how it ends – shadrach, meshach and abednego risking being tossed in the fiery furnace, daniel risking the lion’s den, david heading out to take on the giant goliath armed with a slingshot, gideon with his muchly reduced army taking on an army whose tents were described as ‘swarms of locusts’ [judges 6.5] armed with torches and musical instruments and peter stepping out of the boat on to the water…

we know how they end so we read them and get excited by God and what He has done, but i think it is important to go back and read this stories as the person really desperately hoping that God is going to make a dramatic appearance…

so you have this widow and her dead son and elijah is taken to the room with the dead son and in 1 kings 17.21 it says this, ‘Then he stretched himself out on the boy three times and cried to the Lord, “O Lord my God, let this boy’s life return to him.”

why is that a cool story? because it worked. God heard elijah’s prayer and resurrects the boy and he lives again. yay God, well done elijah.

but what if he hadn’t? if God didn’t pitch up then you have a grown man, climbing on to and lying on top of the body of a dead boy… now i’m not sure we can tell from the story if he did that twice with no results and then the third time God answered because that would add in a whole other dimension, but from elijah’s point of view it has to be coming from a point of ‘i really believe this is what God wants me to do and i am going to risk reputation and possibly life to be faith-full and obedient to what i have heard God say.’

“yeah, but it’s elijah”

the same elijah who goes on to witness another robe-wetting moment on top of mount carmel where if God doesn’t show up with the sacrifice then he will lose reputation and life for sure… but also the same elijah who shortly after that incident runs away because a woman threatens him and ends up moping to God that he is the only one left [when God secretly has thousands of other faithful followers stashed away in a cave] and so clearly there were times when ‘but it’s elijah’ was not good enough to guarantee success and bravery in the face of consequences.

there are so many others like this – noah builds a giant boat in the desert, Jesus spits into a blind man’s eye, peter and john tell a crippled man to get up and walk… so many miracle stories that only took place because someone was faithful and obedient to what they heard God calling them to do… if you have known me long enuff then you will have probly heard the story of the safe house for kids in cape town that was birthed out of a worship meeting [http://www.uthandolenkosi.co.za] – a lot of people called them crazy, even some pastors took action to try and protect them from the foolish thing they were going to do… and yet because God said it, and because people responded faithfully it happened.

i think it is important to finish off by saying that the point is not to go out and do stupid things… if you go to the local swimming pool and step out on the water you will sink. why? because God did not invite you to. the key here is listening out for what God is saying to you and acting on it regardless of whether it makes sense or not to those around you. [altho seeking good counsel from strong Jesus-following people around you to make sure it is God’s thing He is calling you to and not just a hare-brained scheme is worth doing]

but if God does call you to lie on top of a dead kid and call out to Him three times, and you’re sure it’s God speaking, then you had better act on that and you will only know whether God is going to show up or not the moment it is too late if He doesn’t…

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