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Faith of the Young

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I envision a crisp day, similar to the 39 that had come before it. A day that was ripe with repetition. A day that impressed on all who lived through it a sense of impending doom. A time when men lived in fear of a giant spewing forth taunts, who imposed his will with brute force and fear. But I can also envision a very young man, who has firmly placed his life in the hands of his God. A young man who was very aware of the blessings he had received. A young man who chose to fight against the seemingly impossible, because of his faith.

The story of David and Goliath is one that is probably familiar with most people in America today, regardless of background. We are drawn to the tale of the underdog  time and time again. It is seemingly weaved into our DNA. But what I think is often missed within the essence of the story is that David’s faith is what wins the day. His trust in God sustains him. There are no attributes, with the exception of his faith, that would see him live through this ordeal. This is not so much an underdog story, as it is a suicide mission. So why are we, as a people, so drawn to it?

I remember as a child hearing the story of David and Goliath on a fairly regular basis. It was always told in such a way that it was easy to mistake David’s faith for bravery. In the land of individualism a man could always succeed if he was at least brave. The idea that the young man’s actions were centered  in his trust in God came much later in life. To be honest, I think that is how we see things most of the time. We admire character and integrity, bravery and wisdom in others or ourselves, often forgetting to attribute these blessings to God.

It has always struck me in this story that David chose not to wear the armor of the king. It didn’t fit. It was not his wear. So he moved forward as God had prepared him. He did not try to be something he was not, but instead trusted that God would protect him as he was.  I believe we often try on different armors to present ourselves to the world. These armors often don’t fit, but when we shed them, give thanks to God for making us as he has, entrust our lives with him, and move forward to bless those around us, we thrive. We seek to live as God has always intended for us to live.

It is at this moment in David’s story that we marvel at his faith. We pray that we would have a faith like his that would allow us to conquer fear and bless others in the name of God. But his story doesn’t end here. In fact it is just the beginning. God continues to bless David throughout his life. David sins but he repents and returns to God. It is in his repentance that we see just how deeply his life is intertwined with God. And we marvel still.

I struggle sometimes teaching my daughter about these topics. Pride makes it very easy to take credit for work ethic rather than explaining the why of blessing. In trying to explain these sometimes extremely complicated ideas to a six-year-old I always fall back on the truth that everything we are blessed with is from God. He has blessed us with these things to in turn be a blessing to others. We entrust God with our life because he has given us life in Jesus. She often reminds me that she knows these things with her words and actions, while it is I who tends to forget.

Posted by Chris Taylor with

Where we are meant to be

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In Christ there is no east or west, in Him no south or north, but one great fellowship of love throughout the whole wide earth.

 John Oxenham

 It’s a wonderful thought isn’t it?

This great fellowship of love stretching itself around the world, making loops and crisscrossing the globe, touching everyone.

It’s true. This is the way of Jesus, his love finding us wherever we are, there being no place where he is not. His red blood dripping down on us, into us. We embracing it and saying, “Hallelujah! I’m saved!”

And then what?

Because Christ restores the peace between God and us, we now go and, “…are Christ’s ambassadors…” to this message of reconciliation and peace, (2 Corinthians 5:20).

And some of us will go and tell, unable to hold back such a beautiful ministry of reconciliation. But for others, it will be uneven road, because while we are forgiven and reconciled, we have much to forgive and reconcile with each other. This world is filled with high rocked walls of entitled rights and petty preferences, abuse and forgotten-ness. Yes, even the church looks like this.

What can we do? Perhaps pick up a sledgehammer and destroy it? That would do it, a glorious rubble at our feet.

But just as we know what will happen when we swing that heavy handled, forged metal overhead, letting it fall, we also know what will happen to us.

We’ll be exposed. Our truth we be told, that we hold on to our self-created, small and shallow hearts.

But Jesus sees how deep he’s made us. He sees the capacity he’s given us to love like him, to forgive seventy times seven, to turn the other cheek, to go and tell the world about what he’s done for all of us.
It’s a hard, handled thing to reconcile. It’s pride-draining. It’s red-faced vulnerability. It’s looking past our perceptions, into eyes that Jesus sees and saying, I love you anyway. It’s taking the long way, with shaky knees and sweaty palms to be reconciled in truth, one to another, opening the way to share what Jesus has done.

Jesus restores the peace. He reconciles us back to God. It is where we are meant to be.

It is where we are meant to be with each other, all people, everywhere.

We have miles to go, to the east, west, north and south, making amends with each other and telling how Jesus saved us. But for those who have uttered, “Hallelujah! I’m saved!,” it is our charge, to love and be restored to God’s creation, and be sent to proclaim it across the whole wide earth.

Posted by Janna Lynas with

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