Tag: terrify

The number one faith question


Faith believes in asking why. In fact, the faith journey is all about discovering the why of life. Ask “why?” and discover God, wisdom, insight, perspective, secrets, danger, surprise, destiny, just to name a few. The spiritual life is all about one question: why?

Looking for the answers to why leads to personal discovery, to growth, to maturity, to new versions of self.

Faith in the unseen is God’s way of teaching us the unknown. You may work in a repetitive job where you perform the same task over and over, and you’re good at it. You may get bored, but your pay check alleviates the boredom. In this environment you tend to avoid the why’s; challenge and discovery are not expected, routine is expected.

You may have gone to church all your life and studied the same verses of the Bible over and over without ever asking “Why?” Someone told you if you believe these verses you will go to heaven, and that was enough. In that environment you never felt the need to ask why. Therefore you don’t expect anything more and in time, you grow uncomfortable even talking about fresh thought or new discoveries.

Faith is not about routine or repetition; it’s about challenge and discovery. It’s all about “WHY?”


During my last year of undergraduate school, Lyn and I were living in a small two-bedroom house on Houston Street in Abilene, Texas. We had just finished our morning Cheerios when Dennis pulled up in front of the house.

By the time I reached the front door, he was already at the doorstep opening a bag of stuff: two old mining hat, some rope, a compass, flashlights, extra batteries, and assorted other things. Then he pulled out a mimeographed map (we are talking circa 1968).

“It’s a map of a cave up toward Throckmorton. It’s on private property, and we’ll need to stop and ask permission, but it’s only an hour away. We could be there by 10 AM.”

“You mean like Carlsbad Caverns?” I quipped.

“No, this is small. I met with the Spelunker Club and got the map, but I need someone to go with me. Thought of you. Can you go?”

“Sure,” I replied with uncertainty.

It took a little longer than expected to get to the ranch house. Dennis got permission and he headed up to the cave. I envisioned an entrance in the cliff/bank of the Brazos River, but nothing was like my expectations.

Finally Dennis yelled, “There it is!”


“This crack in the ground, right here.”

Less than ten feet ahead was a disguised hole in the ground just big enough for one person to crawl down into, if that person was flexible and crazy.

“You’re kidding, right?” I said.

“This is going to be great!” he said.

Dennis grabbed the equipment and said, “I’ll bring all the supplies, you go first.”


I looked at the lame excuse of a map, and began my journey down into the bowels of the earth. Dennis kept asking, “What do you see? Are you at the big room yet?”

“No, just dirt, rocks, and a few strange looking bugs, but no big room.”

Then, about 20 feet down, the crack widened out just big enough for us both sit up. We shined our flashlights enough to see that we were face to face with a rock as big as my house, minus the front porch.

“Great!” said Dennis. “Now, just crawl under it.”

“Well, go on,” Dennis said.

Flashlight in hand, I squeezed under the rock, moving the loose dirt with my body. The rock was tight on my chest, the dirt was cold and damp. “Why was I here?” I didn’t even like Dennis all that much. “Why?”

Then, to my surprise, I broke free, still in darkness, but free. Before Dennis could follow me into the big room, I turned on my flashlight, and a million bats swarmed around me. Dennis yelled, “Don’t turn on your flashlight yet; there might be bats.”


We messed around in the cave for a while, then inflated our little raft, and floated out via the underground stream into the Clear Fork of the Brazos River.

I have no desire to repeat that adventure, then or now, but the memories of that day have lasted a lifetime. It was terrifying, and thrilling. In those cave-crawling moments I discovered “why” I went.

Why? Because I love the trill of the challenge. Truth is, we all live for the “why” moments. That’s where faith grows.


Name a “why” moment in your life that gave you a story worth passing on to the next generation? I bet your why pushed you out of the huddle and into the game. It busted the box.

Looking back, do you see a faith parable written in your why moment? Real faith is both terrifying and thrilling; and that pesky why question forces us to get real.

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March 25, 2012 | 0 Comments More