It was that way when I was trying to get pregnant for the first time. I had no control over the outcome each month. I had these little ,soft ,blue booties in the top drawer of my dresser. Every morning, while getting dressed, I would think of them being filled out with chubby little feet and corn kernel toes. But I couldn’t make it happen. then one day , I just stopped striving and it felt good to release that burden. The emotional burden to do and be and have and accomplish. and then all that baggage that follows when it doesn’t go how you planned or hoped, melted away. I remember sitting in the bathroom with a red reminder of another failed attempt. I said, “lord if its not your will that I have children, I’m ok with that.” and then I just knew it would happen, and I rested there on that life raft.
there are snippets in life where faith is a necessary and welcome component of growth for the next season. substances emerge in the form of a dream or a hope or a desperate desire for something, and that something becomes the object which cultivates faith; perhaps, a home, a child or a relationship. faith becomes the solution, it stands as a placeholder until that substance is real and you can hold it and touch it or live in it. in the beginning, it feels like falling onto like a life raft, with relief and thankfulness after struggling in the water to stay afloat. it looks a little like peace and contentment, confidence and acceptance.
there is this beautiful home in Maine that we fell in love with. It has a breathtaking view. We don’t deserve it, we can’t afford it, yet we want it. We want it desperately. and we agree that we want it. It’s worth something for us and to us. So we called the realtor and she showed us the house. And then we called the lender and then the bank. I keep looking at it online. I keep hoping, I don’t want to hope too much, but just enough. I want it but there is no feasible way we could really get it. so I gave it up, but we haven’t given up. I just suddenly have faith. I just believe, something in me just believes. Like with the baby,
“If we don’t get it Lord”, I prayed , “that’s ok. I want your blessing more than I want the house. and I want you more than I want your gifts.” this is the substance which evokes the faith.
“Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.”
Faith is all that’s left, when you get to the end of your resources and abilities. Perhaps when you want something so intensely, and have no muscle for it, you discover, or instinctively know, you have nothing in and of yourselves that could in anyway achieve that one desperate longing, and faith takes over – it gives you wings. It’s beautiful, simple ,easy and powerful. Its costs nothing at all and there are no hidden fees. It has nothing to do with religion or church, listening to sermons or even prayer. It’s has to do with letting go of every encumbrance every chain, every depression and oppression and hopeless thought, futile struggle and often complex emotion. It’s a bedrock of safety and a solid mass of comfort from the shifting sands of tension and indecisiveness, worry and uncertainty. All the destruction that our empty jars of anxiety and dread hold, become a mere memory; and this balmy calm sweeps over you.
A hope emerges like an island from the seascape, where you have been drowning, and you can release the burden of striving and laboring. It’s a little like giving up, but more like surrendering. Not like when captivity follows, no it’s surrendering when freedom is there to greet you, when responsibility and strength and weaknesses are lifted all at the same time. Faith, which is a nontoxic, broken recognition, that you can’t do anything to help promote or obtain your passion and object of affection. An awareness of yourself, which is totally liberating. no longer are you weighed down by false ideas of personal capabilities. no more hope resting on your own strength and hands and bank account. it exposes the weakness of wealth and health and beauty. It’s releasing your sweaty little grip, by choice. “oh well, I guess it’s pointless trying to move this 3000 pound rock, I’ll just rest.” After all, I’d prefer to stand by and watch , Without the pressure of towing the line. Without taking the fall if it doesn’t work out, the fall of self-loathing and disappointment and shame. Its the truth of what we can’t do, which somehow exalts and gives God space to do what he can do.
That is what a faith substance is, perhaps – a desire that you long to occupy, but can’t do anything about it. It is the object, the substance, the place holder, which produces in you the faith, the surrender, the peace of letting go, which accomplishes something satisfying and huge. and you find yourself believing, if it happens it happens, if it doesn’t that’s ok too and somewhere along that road you just trusted God to do it, but more importantly you just trusted God.