Sometimes giving up is as much an act of faith as asking in the first place. If I stop asking, hoping, watching for You to move, it would be as huge a mile-marker as any. Opening my hand and letting earnest expectation slip through my fingers. Prying my fingers loose from the beliefs and promises I’ve been holding onto. Not because they are not true, but because I am no longer sure about Your will. I believe You are good and faithful and full of mercy to those who call to You…everything You say You are… but there are days I feel to the depths of my soul how very Other You are. And I hear the Prophet Isaiah giving voice to Your words: ” ‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.’ ” (Isaiah 55:8-9) Maybe sometimes even my prayers of faith are drawing lines that limit what You want to do in my world. Maybe there is a faith that just trusts who You are, without understanding the Why.
After all, why should I expect to understand what God has in mind, or think that it would make sense to me? Everything He does is outside the realm of human sensibilities. The Almighty defines love with the bloody death of His Son… greatness as washing the dirty feet of fishermen… joy as facing trials that grow faith stronger. So it is quite possible that God’s goodness and grace to me will look vastly different than I would think, and sometimes I need to have the faith to stop praying for results, stop hoping for the deliverance I long for, and just sit here in silence, say Your will be done, Lord.
Maybe this is the kind of faith Daniel’s friends had when they declared that God could deliver them from the flames, but even if He did not, they would still worship. This sounds like the faith of the prophets who witnessed the destruction of their people and said that although the land should fail beneath them, still they would rejoice in the God who saves. This is a faith that whispers: whatever Your answer looks like, even so, it is well with my soul. Whether the healing comes, or the circumstances change, or I ever understand what you are doing in the world…even so, You are with me and I am not forsaken. Even so, You are worthy of praise and honor. Even so, I believe.
Peter is talking again about living like strangers in this world, which frankly sounds completely unappealing, and kind of lonely. But I understand what he is saying: don’t settle here, don’t invest for the long-term, don’t collect stuff and waste your time on trivialities, because you aren’t going to be here that long anyway, in light of eternity. He wants us to know who we are forever, in Christ, and let that perception change the way we live in the everyday. He keeps it simple and uncomplicated: “For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people.” (1 Peter 2:14) So how does it shape your prayers when you take your eyes off the earth right in front of you? How does an heir of the riches of heaven open his hands in generosity? How does a child of God who has been loved and known since before the foundation of the world serve other people? What does it look like to share in the sufferings of Christ? To wear His holiness? Life looks different from this vantage-point, and maybe Daniel’s friends understood the exact same thing Peter and Paul were writing about, that “our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” (2 Corinthians 4:17) The faith that sets its eyes on the unseen things can say Even so, it is well with my soul, no matter what comes.
“Though you have not seen Him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”1 Peter 1:8-9
“…we trust all that the love of God does; all He gives, and all He does not give; all He says, and all He does not say. To it all we say, by His loving enabling, I trust. Let us be content with the Lord’s will, and tell Him so. The more we understand His love, the more we trust.”Amy Carmichael