Hebrews 11:1 “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen.”
I am annoyed by the weather reports today. It’s not just that they are predicting bad weather—it’s winter in New England, after all. But they are not specific enough. As I try to decide if I can travel an hour and a half to preach in the morning, all they will say is that in the overnight hours there will be some snow, then will come some “wintry mix,” and then it will turn to rain before freezing up solid tomorrow night. What type of precipitation you get when depends on the exact track of the storm and where you live.
Not enough information. I want to know exactly what the weather is going to do in and around the exact location of my car between the hours of 7 and 9 am. No “maybe” this and “depending on” that. Should I, or should I not get in my car tomorrow morning and drive to Cambridge? They will not tell me.
Unreasonable to expect to turn on the Weather Channel and get the local on the 8s for my specific route? I suspect so. But the fact that I have to deal with the uncertainty and figure it out myself annoys me anyway. And, truth be told, I often get annoyed with God for the same reasons.
With God, actually, it’s even worse. I know that, with current technology, the Weather Channel can’t tell me exactly what will be falling on Route 24 at 7:30 am tomorrow. But God has this know-it-all reputation and is supposed to have my well-being in mind. So, why can’t I get an e-mail from God each morning telling me exactly what to do with my day? Why don’t I get a text alert on my phone when I’m about to do or say something dumb? Why all this uncertainty, even about major life decisions, when God knows what’s best? Annoying, I tell you.
In my less annoyed moments, I have to concede that such practices on God’s part would make life pretty boring. It would also be disheartening. Micromanagement is a sign of disrespect for those being managed, and our God-given freedom to make our own decisions—even when they are tragically wrong—is an indicator of God’s confidence in our abilities. Likewise, our willingness to accept the responsibility of our freedom is a sign of our faith in God’s gifts to us—the gifts of reason, compassion, and goodness.
There are times that I think God might want to re-think that level of confidence in us. But then I realize that without that faith—God’s faith in us and our faith in God—we would no longer have a relationship of love. Love can only exist in an atmosphere of freedom, and freedom cannot be granted unless there is trust that the things hoped for and the things that are not yet seen can become reality. God has an annoying amount of faith in us. Can we, in turn, have faith in God?
Increase our faith, Lord, and increase our love.
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