Tag: easy

A friend sent me a free trial of one of the food services. They sent us all the ingredients and recipes for three lovely meals for my husband and I. All I had to do was prepare it. The first recipe included a clove of garlic and called for a mortar and pestle. What? Why would I have a mortar and pestle?

Another recipe called for lemon zest which meant grating the peel of the lemon that had been sent with the food. The only grater I have is the big kind and that wasn’t going to work. And why would they want me to grate a lemon when you can buy perfectly good lemon zest in the store?

The recipes were tasty, but I’m not into that much preparation. The garlic clove they wanted me to mash was to make pesto. Another ingredient easy to buy already made. This was getting just silly.

The songs we sang in Sunday School made it sound simple. Jesus loves me, this I know, for the bible tells me so. Jesus loves the little children….ALL the children of the world. We sang about a wee little man who climbed a tree and little boy named David who was a sharp shooter with a slingshot. The songs had happy endings. Jesus loves us. He protects us. He comes to be with us.

Do you see the trend? I’m skeptical of things labeled easy, but I’m fond of an easier way.

I want faith to be as easy as it felt when I was a kid. It seemed prayer was the magic answer but it’s not working anymore and I’m asking, what’s changed?

As Christians, we like to talk about the success and not the failures. The safety and not the risk. When we say our prayers were answered, what we really mean is we got the answer we wanted.

We’ve been good at proclaiming that believing in Jesus as your Savior will keep you from eternal hell but we don’t say you may go through your own hell on earth first.

We have enjoyed decades of Christianity being embraced in this country. Of families attending church together more Sundays than not. Now we’re wearing a badge of entitlement expecting this easy faith to continue.

Faith is risky.

Martin Luther King, Jr. described faith as “taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase”.

We’ve prayed for marriages to be saved that weren’t. We’ve prayed for people to be healed of cancer, of addiction, of depression and they weren’t. We’ve prayed for the pregnancy to go full term or for the the waiting to conceive. Again and again our prayers seemed to fall silent.

We’ve prayed for our will not His.

Faith is the opposite of knowing and yet it is believing.

This is the faith I don’t like, the one I wrestle with. These are the words that get stuck, not wanting to come out but the only words that bring real peace: Thy will be done.

I haven’t said those words much lately. Instead, I’ve had a pity party for the faith that once looked so simple. Refusing to believe the words are still simple to think but saying them, meaning them, requires letting go of my will.

I know faith is risky. Help me believe anyway.
I know the unknown is scary, uncertain. Help me trust anyway.
Help me embrace a faith that doesn’t always make sense; a faith that holds more risks and isn’t safe.
Help me embrace your will, accepting it as a pathway to peace.

faith hope

She carried her tall frame with elegance. The smile she always wore could brighten the darkest of days and warm the coldest of hearts. Her faith in God was as evident as the smile on her face. Her words were uplifting and affirming, a testimony to her abiding faith. Ruth made life look easy.

You wouldn’t know she’d suffered the tragedy of losing a child or the ravages of breast cancer. You wouldn’t know life had dealt her the hard challenges that could only be met with faith and perseverance. In their early 50’s her husband would be diagnosed with manic depression (now called bipolar) and she would be his care taker, watching the weight fall from his frame as he sat in silence, rocking his body back and forth during the depression. It was during this time she came to be my mother-in-law and I saw behind her easy smile.

easy smile

my favorite picture of her
my favorite picture of her
Her first and last grandchildren (cousins)
Her first and last grandchildren (cousins)

Later still, my father-in-law would undergo quadruple by-pass surgery and she would be diagnosed with a tumor on her optic nerve – twice. Both times benign and both times she smiled with grace and faith her easy smile that purposed to comfort us all.

with her great-granddaughter 2011
with her great-granddaughter 2011

Behind her smile, behind her words of encouragement and faith in God, behind it all was this woman firmly rooted in God’s word and in His love. Surely, her life hadn’t been easy, but it had been full of purpose. That’s how Ruth lived her life. We saw her body tire in age, but her spirit held vibrant to an ever present faith in God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

We miss this woman and her smile. Mostly we miss her fierce love and faith. I lived the words of this hymn of our church:

“I’m in his hands, I’m in his hands;
Whate’er the future holds
I’m in his hands,
The days I cannot see
Have all been planned for me;
His way is best, you see;
I’m in his hands.” – I’m In His Hands, Stanley Ditmer

Linking up with Kate Motaung and a host of writers for the weekly Five-Minute Friday. Stop by and add your voice.