Eyes of Faith
There have been times in my life when I could hear God’s voice so loudly and clearly that there was no question He was right there next to me. A few years ago, I packed my bags and traveled to India on a fellowship for teachers. This trip fell right in the middle of some deep family turmoil, and I was hesitant to even board the plane, although I had dreamed of this trip for years. I could feel God nudging me to go, so I said goodbye to my husband and two small children for two weeks. India, with her 1.2 billion people, is by far the most spiritual place I’ve ever experienced, and I could feel God everywhere I went.
I saw God’s face in the eyes of a little girl, no more than nine years old, her face covered with dirt and her feet bare. Clutching a tattered doll, she banged with her closed knuckles on the window of our hired car, calling out, “Please, ma’am,” and holding out her hand for money, as we stalled at a red light for what seemed like an eternity. Her face still haunts me, and in it, I see God calling me to action to do something for the poor and victimized children of the world.
I felt God drawing close to me as I visited the Lotus Temple and prayed in the most deafening silence for a solution to the struggle my family was battling. I remember stepping outside the temple, sitting next to the still, blue pool of water, and praying harder, with the utmost faith that God was sitting next to me and listening to every word in my heart. When I returned to my hotel room and called my family on Skype, I found out that my prayer had been answered in the exact hour that I had been praying at the Lotus Temple. God was there.
My journey to faith is filled with moments like these, when I have been certain of what I do not see. Yet these moments, as powerful as they were, have been few, and there have been many times when I felt as if God remained silent as I cried out to Him. Faith has to be more than a few blissful moments of peace. Faith is what happens when we intentionally build a bridge between these moments and invite Jesus into our day to day routines.
To me, true faith means that God is unquestionably first in our lives. He comes before chores and baseball and dance class and electronics and money. Yes, we make a decision to accept Christ, but we must recommit ourselves to this decision over and over again. This requires diligent, consistent work of the mind and of the heart. We have to seek Christ, even when, or perhaps especially when, He feels distant. We must read His word and talk to Him, even if we don’t hear Him talking back. We must serve in our church and our community, as we feel Him calling us to do so. Faith means including Christ in our marriages and our parenting and our careers. Faith means making a constant effort to love all of God’s children, even the ones who look, live, and believe differently than we do. Faith means loving ourselves because we believe that we are made in God’s image. We believe that Jesus will keep His promise and that He will return for us.
Dear Father, I know that faith is hard work. It’s not a fleeting moment in time when we first accept You, but rather a lifelong journey of striving to remain in You and to be more like You. Please help me to reject the things of this world when I need to, so that You are first in my life. Help my children to see and recognize these efforts, however flawed they may be, so that they too will follow You. Keep them close to You throughout all of their days, and surround them with those who hold You near and dear. We give our lives to You, Lord. Amen.
– Shannon Edgar