Thursday, April 4, 2013

Responding to Easter: Zero Faith

Two messages converged into one; they rattled my faith and clarified my desire—I want to live like I know the resurrection is true. (Thank you to recording artist, Michael Card and my pastor, Mark Bates.)  

“But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away … they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, … He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, … And they remembered his words …” Luke 24:1-8

The women forgot—I identify.
They were perplexed—I understand.
They remembered when they were reminded—I get that too.

During Michael Card's concerts, he often shares the thoughts from scripture that birthed his songs. That night he spoke of the women who went to the tomb early on Sunday morning. When they found it empty, their immediate response was that someone had taken the body of Jesus. They totally forgot Jesus telling about the resurrection. Michael Card named their forgetfulness Zero Faith. He reminded us of several other scenarios of Jesus’ friends who after the resurrection also forgot the many times Jesus prepared them with words before his resurrection.

My mind wandered back to our pastor's sermon on David and Goliath. David was an unlikely candidate to represent the Philistines before Goliath. David, a youth, paled compared to the seasoned warrior Goliath. But David’s faith did not rest in his size, or his armor (or lack thereof), or the size of his enemy; his faith rested in his God. He knew God’s faithfulness from personal experience. Unlike Jesus’ friends, David remembered.

Forged in David’s normal everyday activity while living with and caring for sheep, his faith grew in the solitude and silence of those hills over Bethlehem; the reality of God’s provision and protection happened regularly for him. “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of the Philistine.” I Samuel 17:37.

Solitude and silence—two of the keys for David that locked God's character in his mind and heart; that prepared him for Goliath. Those same keys help lock the character of God in my mind and heart; that help me prepare for my goliaths; that help me believe the reality of the resurrection.

Another Mark comes to mind, our Sunday school teacher from the years when our sons were in elementary school. Mark and his wife have 7 children; their youngest, Paul, is the same age as our oldest, David. Mark had the gift of story-telling and we sat in rapt attention knowing the lessons from his family may well be the encouragement we needed in our family. One Sunday he introduced himself as “doubting Mark” because he identified with doubting Thomas and his need to see in order to believe. John 20:24, 25. He suggested that perhaps we are too hard on Thomas; that we too have a hard time believing. His arrow hit the intended target in my heart.

I know me; I’m human; doubting Sue is an apt descriptor many days but I don’t want to be described as one with zero faith. Like the shepherd David, I want my faith to flourish in my normal everyday activities; I want times of solitude and silence to characterize my life. My “goliaths” are as real as David’s. I want my confidence to rest in God. David was concerned with the glory of God. That's where I want my (and your) confidence and concern to settle.

"The resurrection declares in advance of the event God's total victory over all evil and oppressive forces - such as death, evil, and sin. Their backbone has been broken, and we may begin to live now in the light of that victory ..."           Alister E. McGrath

He is risen; he is risen indeed.

“…if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed… nothing will be impossible for you.”
Matthew 17:20

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