My journey (and post) takes root in Mark 6:1-6, where Jesus returns home and his reputation precedes him. People wonder who he thinks he is, where he’s getting these ideas; they were utterly baffled by him. “Isn’t this the kid we watched grow up around here?” they ask. With this, Jesus replies, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” And Jesus doesn’t do any miracles there. But it’s verse six that cuts me deep.
“He was amazed at their lack of faith.”
Holy smokes. How often am I the crowd asking why God isn’t doing miracles because God’s reputation precedes him? How often do I realize that the God of the universe has absolute power to make things better, easier, or whole? Most of the time, that’s my response to God, knowing full well that this isn’t how it works. I get angry, upset, or dwell on the current or past, circumstance because God isn’t obeying my pleas. 9.99 times out of 10, I’m the crowd, bashing God for what God isn’t doing. Cue the announcer with his spotlight on me, “Ladies and gentlemen! Here’s her lack of faith.”
Friends, for most of my life, I hardly considered myself faithless. Growing up knowing about God and attending church my entire life, I thought of faithlessness being something that non-believers struggled with. On my pedestal I sat, naive and in denial that being without faith was so far below me. But my twenties have greatly shown my complete and total lack of faith. These past four years have been some of the best and worst times I have ever experienced. It’s during both these seasons that I have realized I am still deeply in that crowd. When things are great, I don’t need God. When things are bad, I try to fix it without anyone’s help. Sound familiar?
As I’m still working through this, I’ve been asking myself, “How did I get here and at what point did I misconstrue one of the most important things in my relationship with God?” I have more questions than I do answers. But what I do know is that I’ve been trying to do this on my own for far too long, and being disappointed, hurt, burned, abused, or taken advantage of has dwindled my faith.
But this is also what I know: God’s sovereignty is not contingent on our level of faith. (Big gulp. Yes, I know I made a big statement). God will always be God (John 1:1). God will always know what’s best (Romans 8:28). God will work all things to completion (Philippians 1:6). Although I do not understand what God’s doing, I’m learning that my faith will continually be tested. It is at that crossroads where I must decide whether I will believe the verses I just typed or continue to attempt to do this life on my own. As easy as it may be to say that I’ll choose “Faith Boulevard” versus “Faithlessness Street”, it won’t be easy. It won’t be something that comes naturally for me. You may be in the same boat. If so, I challenge you to pray that God would give you opportunities to act in faith. I’ll be doing the same thing, because I don’t want to be another face in the crowd.
We serve a powerful God who is at work in the world around us. Although we may not fully comprehend God’s next move, plans, timing, or schedule, it is not for us to know. We must follow, in faith (even with what little faith we have), knowing full well that God’s sovereignty is not determined by our level of faith.
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