This morning, each of us woke to our unique worlds with the same decision before us: who or what will we trust today? Admittedly, I often remain ignorant to such a reality, reaching for that first cup of coffee, floating through the day and its demands, quenching my thirst without taking time to think about its source or what I’m filling it with. But the presence of a certain longing rises with me each morning and the necessity to satisfy it.
This is faith. And doubt.
Apparent opposites, yet completely related. Yes, I have faith. Like every other person on this planet, I make simple decisions daily that reflect the source and strength of my trust in a given object, person, or power—whether it be where I find my thoughts wander on my morning train ride into the city or in the over-scheduling of my week. Even the smallest, unconscious decisions can point to where my trust lies. But then, such decisions also reveal the opposite, that which I obviously am choosing not to trust. That which I doubt. Faith and doubt are by no means exclusive to the religious or so called “faithful.” Rather, they are innate to what it means to be human. To feel, enjoy, breathe, play.
Who or what am I trusting today? And not trusting?
Not long into the day until I again realize how unnatural it is to place my faith in the Lord. It is much easier to trust myself, continuing to believe the illusion that I have everything under my perfectionist control and giving in to fear and anxiety when I’m reminded that I don’t. Like the Israelites, I am quick to forget God’s sovereign power that delivers from Egypt, parts the Red Sea, and provides everything I need for each day. Together with the saints, I must continually cry: I do believe; help my unbelief. Even the faith to utter such words is a gift given by a good Father. This faith that binds me to Himself is only ever a gift.
Earlier this week, I witnessed such a gift. An expression of faith that could not have its source in man. I was with my German small group which includes a young couple who are students at the university. We began to talk about gratitude, consciously choosing to thank God instead of dwelling on the deficits in our lives. Eventually, the couple began to share regarding the tragic loss of her father and the miraculous survival of her brother just weeks before. “Her family’s gratitude for her brother’s life has proven stronger than the sorrow of her father’s death,” explained her husband. She shared how even when God takes away, there is always a reason to praise God. Right there, in the thick of suffering, they were thanking God.
I’ve been reminded of my misplaced faith that keeps me from turning to Him in child-like dependence. My grasp for transcendence in untrustworthy, disappointments. But even in my doubt, I’m assured of His grace that compels me to again acknowledge His faithfulness in spite my faithlessness. This gift of grace which alone is worthy of my trust.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, (Eph. 2:8, ESV)
words by Danielle Germaine and photo by Ivy Hansen