I like those large backlit maps in malls and airports that show all the shops and services of the place. The map has no idea where you want to go, but it does know exactly where you are. If you are looking at the map, “You are Here,”
That said, I have often longed for a faith map that is clearly marked with a “X” stating “You Are Here.”
The problem is that we keep changing, moving, living. Life can’t be stopped in place long enough to be imaged and mapped into discrete little moments. In many ways, when we move, the map moves with us; each moment has it’s own map—it’s own context
Perhaps that’s one reason why we have so much difficulty determining the condition of our faith. Just when we’ve bravely stepped out in faith in one situation, another challenge appears and a step backward, and then a rest stop, and soon “out of site—out of mind,” then a whack-up-the-side-of-the-head. Each challenge seems to be infused with its own set of fears and doubts.
So, I’ve taken to redrawing the map; X marks the spot where faith is, “Faith is Here.” This way when I’m searching for the map, I’m looking for faith in my life, not a way out of my current problem. The focus is not on fear and doubt and risk, it’s on trust and the touch of God in the moment.
I may not know where I am, but I always know where faith is. I live for the “touch of God” moments, in fact I look for them.
No, I have not forgotten the times when I stand frozen in fear. But I’ve discovered a faith-secret; it helps to connect. I’ve got “faith-friends.”
It was a terrific day. I got to spend it with grandkids.
My 5 year-old grandson, Garrett, wanted to climb a tree. He had seen the Tarzan movie and he wanted to be Tarzan. So we headed out in search of the “climbing tree.” It was perfect; the limbs were untrimmed and sturdy and low to the ground. It was like a staircase to the sky. He was sure he was ready to climb and I was certainly ready to take the pictures that would record his adventure.
He had a great “Tarzan” plan, but the plan was interrupted by something unexpected—fear of falling. I helped him up to the first layer of limbs, got his feet planted firm and urged him higher. “No,” he said, “I’m scared.”
“I’m right here, buddy,” I assured him, but he refused to turn loose of the trunk. I tried telling him what to do, but he refused to take another step. Words didn’t cut it. “Come on, you can do it;” encouragement didn’t cut it.
We relaxed and looked around a bit, found a tree frog, a caterpillar, and a spider or two; then we tried it again. This time, I was with him in the tree; I showed him each place to climb. We took everything one step at a time: a hand here, a foot there, another hand, another foot and he climbed one level higher, resulting in a spontaneous smile of victory.
He was Tarzan and for a moment so was I. Faith was there, for both of us.
Garrett didn’t conquer all his fear, but he took little steps and he will do it again and again and next time he will get to the next branch and then the next and the next.
He just needed to be shown the way.
There are some things that demand demonstration. More often than not, words are cheap. They can be memorized and repeated without thought. “I love you…” is powerless without demonstration. “I forgive you…” is empty without actions that backup the words. “I believe…” is mumbo jumbo if we refuse to risk.
I need a “faith Friend” to help me see—”Faith is Here.”
Find a friend this week and talk about ________. X that marks the spot.