Monday, August 15, 2011

Who Paints the Morning Glorious


Three days after God called LIGHT out of nothing into the blank space of His new universe, He gathered a handful of it up and rolled it into a fiery, glowing orb and set earth whirling around it. From that day to this one, there has never failed to come a sunrise. We set our lives in whirling motion of our own every day, based consciously or unconsciously, on our confidence that another sunrise will come tomorrow, and the day after that, and the day after that . . .

Our faith in the next sunrise is not something we have to muster up, or exert effort and break a sweat to produce, or even think about most of the time. We have a good long track record to base our faith upon, we've never known the sun to sleep in or call in sick or go on vacation, so we trust that it will continue to be its faithful sunny self for as many bright tomorrows as God allows.

When it is so easy to have faith in something as finite and beyond our control as the sunrise, I wonder why we have such challenges with our faith in God?

Faith is a funny thing.  Christians and Christian writers talk about it all the time, we can quote Scriptures about it, we know it is the key to everything, but it is exactly at the point of our faith that we seem to have the biggest opportunities for disastrous failures . . . or dazzling successes!

Hebrews 11 has been called the "Faith Hall of Fame" chapter, and it, maybe more than any other passage, tells us so much about this essential, but sometimes mercurial thing called faith. This is an extremely well-known chapter, but bear with me, and resist the urge to think you've read it so often you already know everything it says. I'd like to specifically zoom in on two verses that I believe are connected in a way that will put a finely focused point on what faith believes in and what it does as a result. Faith may often be hard for us, but it is truly simple and uncomplicated at its core.

"Now faith is
the assurance of things hoped for,
the conviction of things not seen."
So does that mean that faith is the assurance of anything I hope for, any old conviction I have about what I don't see? That's how some people use this verse--they are hoping for a new car and they have a "conviction" that God wants them to have it, so they "claim" this verse, believing God for that new car.  Is that what the writer of Hebrews was saying? If you've read the rest of the chapter, I don't see how you can get there. As is always true of Scripture, context is EVERYthing! Let's look at one more verse to see what it tells us about "things hoped for" and "things not seen."

"And without faith it is impossible to please God,
because anyone who comes to him must believe
that he exists and
that he rewards those who earnestly seek him."
This is the kind of faith verse 2 tells us "the ancients were commended for." I hope you will read the rest of the chapter and test my thinking, but I really believe there is a direct correlation between verse 1 and verse 6. Is it possible that the most fundamental thing "not seen" is "that He exists?" Could it be that the overarching "thing hoped for" is "that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him?" Clearly verse 1 is not limited in scope to these two aspects of faith, but when you boil it down, these two basics were the foundation for every leap of faith chronicled throughout the rest of the chapter. Every point of obedience, every person who believed the impossible, every step forward into untold peril, was possible, not because they had faith for a certain result, but because they had faith in the God who IS, and knew beyond knowing that He would reward them for putting Him first.

Is it really that simple? Is faith really so easy to grasp?

I believe it is. That is why even very young children can respond in real faith--they believe that God is real, and that He rewards those who want to know and love Him. Why do we "grown ups" make it so hard I wonder? Why do we act like trusting God is so complicated? Why do we struggle and waver when God has proven Himself faithful through just as many days as the sunrise has put in its appointed appearance? When we know Who it is that keeps our planet spinning on its axis and following the orbit He designed, when we know that each day's sunrise is called forth by His faithfulness, how then can we wonder if we can trust Him with our hearts and families and livelihoods and dreams?

If we can so blithely trust the sun to peek over the eastern horizon tomorrow morning,
SURELY we can put our faith in the God who paints the morning glorious with that very same sunrise.

Are there things of earth that you trust more than you trust God?
What, besides the sunrise, shows you the faithfulness of God?

Joining Ann Voskamp in counting His graces for her Multitudes on Mondays
I hope you'll join in if you haven't already!
In the counting of the endless gifts I say with C. S. Lewis,
"This also is Thou!"

686. No traffic on the way to the airport!
687. Feeling so confident in Drummer Boy as he leaves on a great Canadian vacation adventure
688. Waking up with a happier knee
689. Sun-dried tomatoes
690. Street Pitas with Hero Husband and She So Sweet
691. Fun phone call from Drummer Boy
692. Crickets chirping
693. Frogs that sing in the dark
694. The wild, lonesome yip and howl of coyotes (makes this country girl feel right at home!)
695. Cocoa Roast Almonds
696. Clean crisper drawers in the refrigerator, filled with vegetables
697. Making my little girl proud of me (she inspires me!!)
698. Words from Hero Husband that make my spirit soar!
699. Classical music
700. The anticipation of getting our Drummer Boy home again!

Joining Michelle DeRusha for:

Joining L.L. Barkat for:
On In Around button

Joining Laura Boggess for:

and joining Jen and her Sisterhood:

A heartfelt thank you to these generous bloggers
who make these communities available!


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You will find Scripture quotes throughout the posts of Up the Sunbeam. I am careful to note which translation I am using with a 3-letter abbreviation after the reference. Here is a list of the ones I use, for your information:
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