So, the question is faith. I read a post on claywrites.com last week that started with “faith is a weird thing.” I commented that I have full confidence in God, but where my faith fails is with myself and how I participate in that relationship. But I came to question the validity of that statement on Saturday morning.
What happened is I made a mistake. I made a mistake, and it effected me and my boss and her boss. It effected the store, the customers and the staff. My small mistake, one miscommunication, became such a burden and resulted in so much upset. I was on the phone two and a half hours, texting and calling pharmacists, asking for their help. At intervals during that time I thought about God, but I never once asked him for help. I thought, “I can’t keep asking him to bail me out, I can’t be this burden on him again.” Again. But in not making the most important call for help, what was I really saying?
Was it a test of faith?
It’s interesting, because last week, I had no problem sharing my burden with God. It’s my job to find coverage for pharmacist’s vacations and emergencies and whatnot, and I had ten shifts to fill. That’s a lot, and I was worried about it. But I was also looking at it and saying, “You know, God always helps me, and my job is to do as much as I can, work as hard as I can, and leave the rest to him.” To have faith. And so, instead of being filled with anxiety and doubt, and doing it all on my own, I asked him for help. I think it’s important to note that even when I ask for his help, I still feel that panic, that “it can’t be done!” But I made a conscious effort to let go of that this time.
The thing about faith is it requires confidence. If I’m filled with anxiety, then what am I communicating? It’s like saying, “I don’t trust you.” I think I do, I think that’s in my heart, but maybe I’m not living that way. I so often don’t look past the moment. I know that whatever the outcome, it will be designed for my good in the long term, but I don’t act on that knowledge. I act out of a place of fear. “I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24) I truly, truly in my heart have full faith in God. But my actions show that I’m not living as though I believe, on a day-to-day, moment by moment basis.
I never really associated that with my faith before, because I saw my faith in a big way: FAITH.
At the end of those two and a half hours, I had to go to work. I had to get in the shower; I needed to go to work and do my other job. “God I hate to do this to you because I feel it’s trifling and beneath your notice, but I need help; can you please help me? If you say no, that’s okay, too. I’m not asking for me, but for my boss, because this makes her look bad. And for the lead pharmacist, because it’ll reflect poorly on her if her store has to close and she refused to go in. And also for your glory, even though I don’t know who would know about it except for me.” I finally asked for help.
And then I started thinking about faith: what does it mean that I didn’t ask sooner? I don’t know why I would ask him for help on Friday, but not on Saturday. When I finally reached out, I was at the end of my hope.
As the water poured over me, I thought about faith, and I wondered what it says about me and our relationship. Is that what some of the others who commented on that post were talking about? Not the big FAITH, in capital letters, but the living your life and giving fully of yourself into that relationship kind of faith. I thought about not wanting to “burden” him, even though he constantly tells me how important I am to him. If I don’t trust in that, lean on that, and rely on that, is that a lack of faith? I don’t know.
Anyway, I got out of the shower to find a text from my boss: “I covered it.” 12:09. God had answered my prayer even as I was speaking it.
A few minutes later, a second text came in from the pharmacist who opened the store for us: “He’s here, I’m going.” The man I’d crossed wires with had come in to finish the shift. He drove an hour and a half to get there, and so the solution had been on its way long before I saw it coming. God was answering my prayer even before it was spoken. When I called to apologize and say thank you, the pharmacist said, “if it was anybody but you, Michelle, I wouldn’t have come.” He said he had a lot to do that day, but I needed him, so he came. “Because you’re so good to me, I wanted to help you.”
Is that what faith looks like? A pouring out of self on both sides? And, perhaps, a taking in of what we need when it’s offered to us?
In response to my comment on his post, Clay said, “Faith is one of those mysteries that doesn’t fit into human understanding, so it often frustrates us.” It’s interesting that maybe I’m struggling with things I don’t even know yet, that I don’t even realize. Have I been holding out on my faith? I have the big FAITH, that God can do all things. But have I lacked faith in his words, “that in all things God works for the good of those who love him.” (Romans 8:28) Or have I simply lacked the faith that he meant those words even for me?
Maybe my mistake was a lesson in faith.
Items of Interest:
Did God Give You Sucky Faith? by Clay Morgan
Livin’ On A Prayer by Larry the Deuce