The last time things did not go as planned, I retrieved my trampled faith from the ground, dusted it off, and tucked it deep in my heart for safekeeping. Imagine my surprise when it reemerged, resilient as ever, ready to believe again.
Lately I’ve been envious of less hopeful people. You know, the kind of realists who are borderline pessimists. They keep their expectations low so as not to be disappointed. They do not hope for or desire anything beyond their limited control. So when it comes to grand dreams, high stakes, and matters of the heart, they aim low or tell themselves and everyone within earshot that they don’t care.
Oh, what it must be like to live life void of sentiment, never caring enough to intimately know defeat. Why couldn’t I be one of those people who proclaimed blessings and love would have to knock me over the head and carry me away caveman style? Why did my defeated hope always rise again?
Then I saw the latest episode of Private Practice. (Spoiler alert!) One of the characters, Amelia, is asked by her boyfriend if she is open to having children. Since her first child was born without a brain, he understands that she may not be eager to give motherhood another shot. Her initial response to the thought of more children is negative; what if she’s destined to only birth brainless babies? But soon after, she witnesses a friend giving birth and decides she wants kids. “I told myself I don’t,” she said. “But I do. Because it’s a miracle – and I really need a miracle.”
Every spirit needs an occasional miracle in order to endure this human predicament. It is for this reason that I believe God sent the Ultimate Miracle to Earth – to save us, to give us life more abundantly, and to show us how to believe.
How many miracles in The Bible are attributed to the recipients’ belief? When the woman with the issue of blood touched Jesus, He told her “your faith has healed you.” (Matthew 9: 18-22) When two blind men begged Jesus for mercy, He asked if they believed He could restore their sight, and then said “according to your faith let it be done to you.” (Matthew 9:27-30) When a centurion approached Jesus to heal his paralyzed servant, Jesus said “let it be done just as you believed it would.” (Matthew 8: 5-13)
How many of us need a miracle and are simply too afraid or too lazy to believe? What if the first step to getting what you want is actually admitting you want it? How dare we desire God’s miracles without demonstrating the faith that He requires. Why should I be able to give Him only a portion of my heart and hope, putting the remainder on reserve in case things don’t work out? Do I really believe in Him if I have a back-up plan?
God requires that we believe. That we lay it all on the table – heart, hopes, dreams. That we hold nothing back. That we believe He brings possibility to the impossible circumstances of our lives. Perhaps the best way to honor him is with our belief.
The other part of this faith issue is deciding what, exactly, to hope for. Lately I’ve been wishing God would outline His will in detail. I just need Him to tell me that I should pray for either A or B, and I’ll put all my faith on the situation of His choosing. But I need Him to be specific because I would hate to hope for the wrong thing.
As I awaited some mythical sign, I realized the error of my ways. It is not always necessary to believe God for a specific blessing or outcome. He need not be confined to my A or B; maybe He’ll choose C. My faith should be in Him and not in any particular option. Rather than clinging to hope that He’ll do A or B, how much more comforting is it to believe He’ll do what’s best?
Does the fear of disappointment make you wish you were less hopeful? Remember that hope is a benefit, and not a burden, of Christianity. It will sustain you in the hard times.
Are you hesitant to put all your faith on the line for fear that you’ll be let down? God is telling us the same thing He did His children a couple of millenniums ago through Christ: “Believe in Me.”
Do you wish you had a specific outcome to put your hope behind? Does it seem like God should lay out exactly what to believe Him for before you set out on your latest faith journey? In your moments of uncertainty, God’s command is still the same: “believe in Me.”
SheryLeigh is a woman who loves God, words, and people. She is currently living and loving as an author, blogger, poet, and spoken word artist in the Washington, D.C., area.
A communicator by education and trade, SheryLeigh holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Howard University and a Master of Arts in Management from Webster University.