This weekend I listened in on the church service at Mars Hill and was thoroughly blessed by Rob Bell's teaching.
He spoke about how we tend to look at our lives like an x and y graph. Meaning if we do one thing on the x axis, then something automatically happens on the y. One example being take care of yourself well (x) and as a result you'll never sit in a doctor's office and hear the word cancer (y). Which couldn't be further from the truth. He went on to say:
"The truth is, it's a lie because it doesn't always go that way... People's ideas of God can be so unbelievably warped. The ultimate lie: well if you do a, b, and c, well then of course God will do a, b, and c and you'll be fine. All you have to do is simply trust Jesus and then you won't have to go through any heartache cause He wants you happy and wealthy.
These lies are deep within us that this is how the world works. And it simply doesn't. If you just lead the people and do as God says you'll get into the promised land. No it doesn't work that way."
It was something I really needed to hear. To be honest I've been struggling with the x & y mentality lately. Over the past few months as many of you know, I've been struggling a lot with my sleep. While part of this is due to sleep apnea, there's also a bigger problem going on with insomnia and restlessness. I've only averaged about 3-4 hours a night for months and besides being dead-tired, I've been getting discouraged.
And somewhere along the way, I got into the mindset that if only I imputed enough x's, then my y (good sleep and rest) would come. So instead of just doing my normal duties, I pushed myself above and beyond that. All the while thinking that it won't be long before I feel better.
Well many doctors appointments, prayer meetings, medical treatments, and every possible sleep trick imagined later, I'm still in the same boat I was before. And while I'm in this place, I'm still trying to move forward and "lead the people" so to speak. I'm still keeping up my ministry involvement. I'm still trying to do the things that I committed to. I'm still pushing forward in my school.
And those x's have certainly not resulted in giving me a y.
But here is where the true journey of faith lies. Faith happens when we still do the x's with no expectations of the y's. True faith is accepting this journey we're on- a journey with no guarantees. One where even God's children are fighting the good fight, in the midst of life's difficulties. One where those difficulties are a big part of the journey and could very well be just something that God wants us to work through for a while. A journey that is a lot closer to what we see in the Bible than the x & y theory is.
For me, my journey has been accepting that the y may take a while longer or may never come. And in that, still continuing to press on. Not because I expect something in return. But because I love my savior, desire to serve Him, and trust Him to take care of the rest in His timing, not mine.
For you, it may be something different. But we're all on this journey together. And on this beautiful journey of faith we discover that God wasn't necessarily who we thought He was. But that's okay. Because we know He's trustworthy and we know that He loves us dearly.
Oh what a mighty God we serve!