Story is Conflict. Conflict is Faith.

“Earth’s crammed with heaven, And every common bush afire with God; But only he who sees, takes off his shoes – The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.” –Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Last night as the sun set over James Lake and my little people sat and ate wild raspberries, the God of the Sky  lay his splendor across it, all red, blazing glory. I could almost see Him there, enthroned. Rocks crying out. Sky singing praise. I bowed my head too.

This has always been my story. Seeing God where others see only blackberry bushes. Feeling another world as close as my own heart beat, invisible, ever present.  The pulse of His heart keeping pace with the ocean waves, the rolling thunder. I will tell anyone who asks: I never wanted to be a Christian. In fact, I tried to ‘get over it’ several times in my life. At our house, when I was a girl, we never discussed it, we never churched it, and yet still I sat on my window sill and I prayed to the God in the sky. I prayed for strength and triumph over fears that loomed large in my miniature heart. I prayed for healing to my God that had no name and yet he heard me.

Sometimes faith is easy, delicious, tidy.

Mostly though. It isn’t.

There have been many seasons my faith has born for me now. The ones where prayer faltered, where trust waned and religiosity in all its zeal took over my heart where once love dwelled. I’ve watched it over and over…When Jesus love becomes purely academic, an object to discuss, love wanes and it is only a matter of time before faith burns itself out. The men who would lead strong with courage and then falter and trip over themselves, their own brains forming invisible trip lines. The women who preach fiercest about personal purity are oftentimes on the border of falling off a traumatic cliff of betrayal. The youth judging their brother for attending a party will likely be drunk in a ditch by Thursday. When our faith wanes our zeal runs a muck or we burn out completely.

Your story (as all good stories) is based in the conflict of good and evil, light and dark, without conflict there is no plot. Without your story thickening, the great story weaver cannot be glorified. No one has ever written a great novel about someone sitting on a couch. It is in the story that your faith grows feet. It is in the test that character is shown and if I may be so bold…it might also be where you fall in love with Jesus.

“Faith must be tested, because it can be turned into personal possession only through conflict. What is your faith up against just now? The test will either prove that your faith is right, or it will kill it….Believe steadfastly on Him and all you come up against will develop your faith. There is continual testing in the life of faith, and the last great test is death…Faith is unutterable trust in God, trust which never dreams that He will not stand by us”

-Oswald Chambers


Linking with Heather at Extraordinary Ordinary

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