It turns out that I've been writing this article for many years - at least it feels that way when I consider how all these ideas have come together perfectly at this time. Putting words to this story is simply the next step in the evolution of the process. It is always during the Christmas season when thoughts of faith come to the fore of most Christian's conscience and sometimes there are events that truly make them come alive.
I was out hiking around the forest recently enjoying some quiet time in the woods and marveling at the combination of chaos and order that God created in nature. As I was exploring an old logging trail I came upon the crumbling foundation of what once appeared to have been a house. It fascinated me that a building would have been erected in the middle of the wilderness and I couldn't help but ponder why someone would do that?
Then my thoughts drifted toward matters of faith and I began to recall Jesus' parable about building on a strong foundation. He wasn't talking about building a house but, instead, building one's faith.
24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” --Matthew 7:24-27
As I was pondering these thoughts another idea popped into the gray matter between my ears: faith is a miracle. It's one of the greatest gifts that God gives to us and it is simply our choice whether or not we receive that gift, cherish it, strengthen it... or not.
That's when the context of the whole event I was participating in flooded into my mind. This hiking trip and my discovery of the crumbling foundation was an analogy for my own faith journey. You see, I grew up in a Christian family. I was baptized, received my first communion, served in church services as an alter boy, and was Confirmed. God blessed me with faith all through my youth and with a family that helped me strengthen that faith. My foundation was strong.
faith is a miracle.
During my college years, however, I neglected that foundation. I lived more liberally and failed to maintain the foundation of faith that was given to me. It crumbled away for a few years as I was busy focusing all of my attention on myself and my own wishes. I was wandering through the wilderness of human arrogance and selfishness.
Thank God that during the time period when I was trying to ignore Him, He stayed interested in me and one day, because of the miracle of faith, I awoke from my stupor and came back to studying the Bible and repairing that foundation. Like every Christian alive, I still stumble from time to time, but Jesus is always there to help me get back on my feet to follow His path.
There's a line in one of the Santa Clause movies that claims, "Seeing isn't believing. Believing is seeing." I just love that line! It is so true especially when it comes to faith in Jesus Christ. People will never, ever believe in the truths of the Bible and the resurrection and the life that are found in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ if they don't have faith. Human reason cannot explain it because it doesn't make any sense according to our human understanding. But, with the miracle of faith, God gives us another lens with which to see everything.
Now, as I look at the chaos in nature, I see a brilliantly orchestrated masterpiece conducted by the greatest artist EVER.
When I ponder the steps of my own life I see the hand of God guiding me one way and then another to navigate me to today and into the future when I eventually get to meet Him in Heaven.
I pray this story is a blessing for you in this Christmas season. Merry Christmas!