I didn’t realize how much I struggle with defining my faith until I was asked to write about faith.
What do I believe in? I’ve procrastinated in answering this age-old question. Seeking the answer means coming to terms with how twisted my belief system has become. My mind is a pit, a dumping ground for memories and experiences that have left me jaded and cynical on matters of the church. I have become wrapped up in theology, missing the simplicity of the Gospel. There are still remnants of legalism, shame, and regret strangling the hope that is supposed to flow from love and grace. Selfish desires and deplorable thoughts rise up to snuff out the Light. Night terrors visit frequently with visions of poverty, injustice and the broken prison system that I saw first hand from full time ministry. My mind is an ugly place. I get lost in there sometimes, raging against things that I can’t change, plummeting deeper into thoughts of ‘what might have been’ or ‘if only’.
Beneath all the filth, there is one constant – a shining light that lifts me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire that fills my mind. When everything feels like it’s slipping away, He gives me a firm place to stand (Psalm 40:2). This firm place – my faith – is not based on anything that I am or can do. My faith is not rooted in the past. It defies the present. And it does not depend on the future. My faith is not found in people, good deeds, or church attendance. My faith is held by my Savior, the One who dares to delve into the mucky abyss.
I am so glad that the foundation of my faith does not depend on me. I am not strong enough to maintain the depth of relationship that God desires with me. My fickle heart pursues and retreats, ruled by emotion, always quick to judgement and easily walled to hurt and vulnerability. The foundation of my faith rests on the love of God. He is ruthless in His pursuit of me. He forgives my faults and breaks down my barriers. He sees me. He knows me. And He still loves me.
Love. God is love. A force so strong that He performed the ultimate act of sacrifice when He sent His only son Jesus Christ, born to die, to the cross as the final atonement for our sin, so that we may walk hand in hand with Him in this life and face to face with Him in eternity (John 3:16). Love. A power that binds us so tightly to our Creator that nothing – neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers in all creation – can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39).
Secure in the love of Christ, I am able to pursue the desires of my heart. I am His beloved, His creation, His daily pursuit. In spite of the depravity of my mind, He gives me hope. He gives me life. He is my Faith.