I will lift you up high, my God, the true king. I will bless your name forever and always. – Psalm 145:1
It’s easier to have faith when the sun is shining, birds are singing, and you’re feeling fine. It’s a lot tougher when it’s stormy and you received the lab results.
In other words, it’s easy to add modifiers.
“I will lift you up high, my God, the true king…as long as my family is healthy.”
“I will bless your name forever and always…as long as I have a steady job.”
It’s natural to add “as long as” modifiers. That’s because our default spiritual thermostat is set to bargaining: I’ll believe in you as long as you protect me and meet my needs.
Jesus came to eliminate bargaining. He offered an authentic, intimate relationship with the Father that eliminated “as long as.”
He talked of God being passionately loving, caring, and just. What did such talk get him? The cross. But also the Resurrection.
The stormy times bankrupt a “modifier” faith. But they can also open the door to a more mature one. They put us in a position where we cry out in the silence, not to demand a miracle, but to open our hearts–just as a child opens to a parent.
No answer or resolution comes. But somewhere, in the storm, the Spirit moves. (Perhaps because we’ve moved closer to the Spirit?) And there will be peace.
A model of faith is captured in this verse, written on the wall of a concentration camp in World War Two:
I believe in the sun
even when it is not shining
And I believe in love,
even when there’s no one there.
And I believe in God,
even when he is silent.
If we use a modifier in our faith, let it be “even when.”