Instant Gratification Faith

I can’t tell you how often I’ve been told that we live in an instant gratification culture. It’s most certainly true. Because of this fact, I should not be surprised to see the effects of living in such a culture imbedded in the way I approach faith (not as a weak, ambiguous, over-spiritualized synonym for religion, but FAITH, a steadfast and patient love for the One who is the answer to all questions and the one who fills every vacuum that plagues us: The assurance of things hoped for). When the Lord, in His mercy, brings His rod of discipline against me, allows me to be attacked and beaten down, allows me to face trials and temptations, I far too quickly jump to the “good” in Romans 8:28 (All things work for the good of those who love him…).

The trials and temptation build within us what we lack, mostly a steadfast love, mostly faith: a love that continues when the way is dark, when His promises seem distant and far off (though that’s only really a trick our mind plays on us), a love that never gives up. I try hard to create and achieve faith so that the trial may end and things may go back to normal. I try to quickly learn whatever lesson I’m supposed to learn so that everything goes away, and so I can finally make the turmoil within my soul stop. When I ‘learn my lesson’, when I learn to surrender my heart more fully to the Lord, when I give up my prideful fight and surrender to faith in Him I expect everything to get better.

So what do you do if a strengthened faith isn’t a quick fix, and the turmoil continues? What if faith doesn’t make everything better?

Faith isn’t formed immediately, and the faith that it takes to accept what God is doing isn’t necessarily an end in of itself (at the very least, it’s not an end that can be actualized in a moment, the whole story has to play out). Although Noah built the ark “by faith”, his faith didn’t make the ark’s completion any faster, didn’t scare away the ridicule of his friends, and didn’t make the sky look any cloudier. With Abraham, God didn’t call the whole thing off when Abraham showed he had the faith to sacrifice Isaac, God still waited until the very end. Although Jesus prayed ‘Your will’ in the garden, the crucifixion still happened, was still as terrible, and the 3 days in between were still 3 days. It is one thing to wait patiently, but it is another thing to wait patiently after you’ve developed patience and are asking, “what, if not this, is the point?”

Faith is not a trade for an easier ride. Faith isn’t formed immediately. God demands every last drop of our blood, demands our full patience, demands our full attention, and demands that His will is carried out whether we follow Him with faith or without.

Oh, but glory hallelujah, when our heart learns to trust. Oh how sweet it is to trust in Jesus!

Hebrews 11:32-36:

32 And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets— 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. 35 Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. 36 Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, [1] they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated— 38 of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.

Psalm 40:1a: “I waited patiently.”

“Love is not a silk flower — always bright, with artificially whitened teeth and a fake tan. No, love is a fight. Love is what happens when you’ve been hurt and you want to quit. Love is what happens when you decide not to. Love is not the beginning of the story but the ending.” -Jon Foreman

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~ by thelastinkling on June 23, 2009.

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