One day something finally clicked for me. In the basement of the church, down the hallway and in the library/classroom through the last door on the left, I put my children’s Bible on the ground and proceeded to stand on it in front of my Sunday School teacher. “God’s promises are real! And I can really stand on them!!” The realisation seemed to fly through me. It was still the remnants of the era where people talked about standing on the promises of God .. and sang the hymn. I’m not sure how my teacher felt about me disrespecting the Word of God by putting it on the ground and squishing it under my dirty shoes. That physical act declaring faith in that truth set me on a trajectory of putting my true weight on the words of that book. It was one thing to say, “Jesus, forgive me,” and quite another to act as if the breath of God was living in the words copied over and over again until they reached my hands.
It was on the road up the Oregon coast a couple years later that I let it slip that I’d started to believe in a faith that was beyond me. Our family was driving back to BC after a dream trip to Disneyland. As we made our way up the coast each campsite was marked no vacancy. We knew we would have to find a place soon to set up camp. There was one site that we were hoping to stop off at – the perfect place along the coast. As we neared I asked that God would find us a space, not just that but the perfect spot. A child’s prayer in faith, really, after having heard the story of Jesus speaking about faith the size of a mustard seed. We neared and saw a line of cars leading out of the campsite – a sure sign that if there were any spots, they’d be well gone by the time we pulled up. I begged my parents repeatedly to just join the line and see if there was a vacancy. It was completely illogical for there to be one so we carried on into the nearest town where dad was going to call ahead to a few places. I kept asking if we could go back. Finally my parents asked why I was so adamant about going there. I hesitantly revealed my secret, “I prayed that God would give us the perfect camping site there.” We turned around and went back. I couldn’t tell you how long we waited in line until we finally pulled up to the registration booth. Every car in front of us had to turn around and leave. It seemed completely illogical and foolish to believe that our story would be any different. The woman in the booth was on the phone when we pulled up. Fair play to my dad, when she got off the phone he asked the question destined to failure – was there any chance that there was a campsite available? She told us that she had just been on the phone with someone who cancelled their reservation. There was, indeed, a campsite available for us!
The words of God still taunt me to test them, stand on them, put my full weight there. The faith that I need is for so much more than a campsite – I need faith to believe that God really does long to restore all creation to himself. I need faith as I place my hands on people and ask God to work miracles in their lives. I need faith to step courageously into the small things that I know to do each day, believing that by living in obedience despair will truly be replaced with hope. That darkness of loneliness, hurt, anger … will be broken and freedom will be found in whole communities in the visible signs of peace, community, joy … Logic would tell me that these are impossible.
But these are God’s promises.
I rise to stand, setting both feet firmly on the truth of them. I strap them to my soles and let his promises leave their imprint as obedience and knowledge rise from the faith that seeps every fiber of me.
Your promises have been thoroughly tested, and your servant loves them. ~ Psalm 119:140