Seeing What You Can’t.

As I plummeted to earth and toward the Atlantic Ocean at breakneck speed, I pondered this question:

“What is faith?”

Fair question, right?  I mean if you think about it we all put our faith into lots of things everyday.  On the highway today you’ll be putting your faith in the other drivers to stay where they belong.  On that narrow backwoods road, you’ll be putting your faith in that oncoming driver not to drift into your lane when they look down to text a message, change the radio, or light a cigarette.

I’m putting faith in the chair I’m sitting in right now.  You put your faith in the neighbors who live around you not to shoot you when you step out your front door.  (Remind me later to tell you the story of when I got shot by my next door neighbor.)  I put my faith in the dentist when he gives me that injection that its actually Novocaine and not mercury because he’s secretly part of the Taliban and is killing infidels one by one in his suburban dentist office.  You put your faith in your coworkers to give you a heads up when the boss is passing by so that you can stop reading this blog and instead look over that spreadsheet the boss asked you to put together by the end of the day.

Yup.  Faith surrounds us.

You want to find yourself in an interesting conversation?  Ask the next person you see what they’re definition of faith is.  Go ahead.

faith-road-wallpaper_1920x1200Hebrews 11:1 gives us God’s definition of faith.  Feel free to look it up here, but let me give you the Cliff notes version (or Spark notes for those born after the mid nineties): Faith is trusting the invisible.  Faith isn’t in the chair you’re sitting on, the drivers who surround you on your commute, or your dentist.  Faith isn’t in those things.  Faith is the silent transaction you make that drives fear far enough away for you to operate.

All that is admittedly generic and quite frankly pretty benign.  You might find similar sentiments in a greeting card.

So when we talk about faith and the invisible, we can’t not talk about the spiritual realm you and I are actually swimming in constantly.  The Bible teaches us that the visible is temporary and the invisible is eternal (2 Cor. 4:18).  In other words, if you can see it, it won’t last.  If you can’t see it, it will.  I’m not trying to insult your intelligence here, I’m just trying to re-calibrate our thoughts correctly.

Faith says to fear “You’re not the boss of me.”  Faith allows you to rest when questions are unanswered.  Faith stands you up when your knees want to give way under you.  Faith assures you that despite the present conditions, literally nothing is now as it will be later.  Faith stands on the crazy idea that God is working things out for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28).

So where is fear present in your life?  Where has it elbowed its way in and declared presidency?  Let faith speak up.  Let faith have the floor.  Let faith in the loving God of heaven show you how powerful He is and what depth of peace only He can establish in the midst of chaos.

Faith isn’t blind.  Quite the contrary, actually.  Faith sees clearly.  Not in the present conditions, the tangible, or the visible details we can see; but in what God might be up to for our benefit and how in His good time He is going to prove Himself faithful as long as we hold tight.

To the Grads.

Graduates in Cap and GownHey there Graduates of 2014.  I’ve got some advice for you while you celebrate this milestone.  I know you’re busy so I’ll make it quick.

1.  Move on.

Your education thus far has been like a water balloon.  Your school is the balloon and the people you’ve gone to school with have been the water.  On graduation day, that balloon pops and nothing at all is holding you all together any longer.  The majority of those people you perhaps tried hard to impress and fit in with are people you’ll have no further interaction with.  Likewise, there are those who have squirmed their way into your heart and you cherish them.  Keep hold of those friends and move on.

2.  Stay hungry, yet humble.

Over the next year or two you’re going to have your mind blown finding out that you’re not nearly as smart as you thought.  Keep an insatiable hunger to learn, grow, and stretch.  But keep in mind that the older you get, the more you’re going to realize that you have so much more to learn.  Let that reality keep you humble as you hunger for more life experiences that will teach you valuable lessons.

3.  Never ever settle.

I’m not advocating workaholism.  I’m not advocating greed.  I’m not advocating discontentedness.  I’m saying always be on the lookout around you for what else can be bettered, who else can be loved, where else can you serve.  Don’t settle for a life that has its focus on your own comfort.  If you do, I promise you you’ll reach the end of it all and kick yourself for being so shallow.

4.  Eat the termite.

I was once on a boat in the mangroves of Costa Rica.  The driver of the boat pulled it up to a tree with an enormous termite nest on it.  He took out his knife and sliced off a slab of that nest while termites crawled all over his hand.  He lifted his hand to his mouth and licked several termites off.  He then offered anyone who was willing to join him in his little feast.  I jumped at the chance to eat termites with Raffa in a boat in the jungles of Costa Rica.  Whenever you get a chance to do something, do that something.

5.  Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.

Make your life about Him and He’ll make your life matter in ways you never saw coming.  It really is as simple as that.  Whether you know it or not (and whether you like it or not), this man died to purchase you.  Until you embrace that, living your life will be like driving a stolen car.  Your life isn’t yours.  It’s His.  Turn it over to Him and see what happens.

Congratulations graduates.  Stand still for a minute, soak in the sun of this milestone, then get moving.