When Faith Trips Up

We all have faith in things that will never fail…

IMG_5919As I look at the bolts holding the scaffolding to the face of the cliff at Masada… Much like I have faith that my country will not go through a constitutional upheaval… Well. That’s my faith at work. Engineers constantly affirm that this cable platform is stable, and will work until their review notes safety issues.

Then all bets are off!

Tragedies have happened and we have all lost faith in something we thought of as bedrock. Christian leaders have fallen from grace, and taken many a soul with them as they trundle down the path of failure. Political leaders trip and fall, and people leave the party, or simply quit voting. Entertainers make huge mistakes, and are quickly forgiven (in times past), even when their actions were horrendous.

Oregon 2016 SinkholeNo matter who falls further, our faith in the person, or the system, takes a huge hit. Our bedrock is shaken. It’s almost like that sinkhole in Oregon. Who in their right mind is not thinking that the building is about to be swallowed up just like those two roads? Feel like a drive? Or a shopping excursion?

What’s really bad is not a loss of faith in the system, but a loss of faith in ourselves. Can we ever be lifted back up to that place we were before our faith failed us?

Among the 12 disciples, there was contention on who might be accounted as the greatest. Jesus, knowing their heart and trouble, spoke directly to the one who would eventually become the de facto leader, Peter. Here, just hours before the trial, Jesus gives him an important piece of information that may just keep him faithful when the trial gets huge.

And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”  (Luke 22:31-32 NKJV)

Satan wants you. He wants to run you through the sifter to cull out the pieces of good and magnify this haughty feeling of power. If he can drown out the good in you, then all that’s left are the dregs. The rotten pieces.

But I have prayed for you. Jesus is ever our intercessor (Romans 8:34). When we need something, it is as if he is right there. Waiting on us. Ready to help. In a prayer moment.

What did he pray for? That our faith would not fail us. Oh, but Lord, I am ready to go with you all the way! Even to prison! Even to death! (Luke 22:33) Oh, Peter, before the rooster crows this day you will deny my not once, or twice, but three times! You will deny that you know me! (Luke 22:34)

How can our faith fail us in the night time hours? The Last Supper of covenant was ending. Prayer in Gethsemane was about to happen. Arrest. Scourging. Rooster… And in the middle of that third denial, Peter flees into the night because he remembers this conversation. (Luke 22:54-62) And he flees away from the crowd. Weeping bitterly.

Golgotha. Then first day of the week. Peter is finally coming to himself and when the word comes that Jesus is missing from the tomb, Peter joins others hastening to the sepulcher to check it out. Sure enough. Jesus is gone.

I wonder what ran through his spirit. His mind. Did he remember the teachings? Third day. Rise again. Was there a spark re-igniting that flame of faith that I am sure he lost when he fled in the night? Is this how you maintain the tattered pieces of your faith? Remember his teachings?

Regardless of the in’s and out’s of Peters mind, I am sure that there was a fireball of faith beginning to burn in his heart. Jesus is alive!

What do you do when your faith seems to fizzle?

I remember a horse ride I took when vacationing at the farm of my family in Kentucky. 12 years old, or so. All of a sudden that horse that took off up the side of the hill. That Tennessee Walker could run when stung by a bee! Over boulders, around boulders. Up to the tree line. All awhile I’m screaming (scaring the horse more!), tugging on the reins, and doing everything a 12 year old can do to stop the horse before it’s too late. At the tree line, Dolly turns and heads back down the hill! Jumping over boulders and headed for the fence, ditch and driveway. Stopping suddenly, as if nothing happened. My cousin has run to us, and we walk Dolly through the hole in the fence, through the ditch and back onto the drive.

What do I do? Get right back on that horse and ride her to the barn!

That’s what you do when your faith seemingly fails. Events rocket out of control. You can do nothing right, or get anything to work right. What do you do?

Get right back in-stream and get back into the game of life! Don’t let faith ever get so knocked down it will never get back up… Jesus is praying that your faith fail you not!