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Monday, December 13, 2010

Daughter…your faith has saved you…again

25 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. 26 She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. 27 When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28 because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” 29 Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering. 30 At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?” 31 “You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ ” 32 But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. 33 Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. 34 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” Mark 5:25-40 NIV


Daughter…your faith has saved you…again.
Drain cleaner…the real stuff.  Not the foams, not the max gel, I’m talking lye crystals.  Sometimes you’ve got to go old school to get the job done.  Sometimes your belief in something’s ability to work, dare I say faith, goes beyond all reason or logic. Sometimes you’ve got to walk out on faith.
After all the glamour of Thanksgiving, the food, the fellowship, I had a slow-clearing drain.  It’s not unusual; since we bought this house the kitchen sink has always been a little peculiar. When I’m on my game, a bottle of drain cleaner once a quarter does the trick.  (I plan to become that woman who always does everything that needs doing before it HAS to get done someday real soon….) More than likely, however, it’s when I notice that the drain is draining ever so slowly that it’s time to take some action.  This time, my usual routine didn’t seem to be working, and what I really didn’t want to have to do was call the plumber.  Now I respect our plumber.  When we need him, he always does the job well, efficiently, cleanly, and not terribly expensively, though I rather not have to pay than pay.  Sometimes, you’ve gotta pay. Our plumber has come to the rescue when rescue was what we needed, but this just wasn’t one of those times.
This time, I decided to do everything I could do on my own BEFORE calling the plumber.  It wasn’t procrastination, or postponing the inevitable, I just knew it wasn’t going to be necessary.  I went to the grocery and bought that newfangled foam recommended for slow drains. The commercial shows an animated jackhammer effect, where all the crud you should clear off your plates before putting them in the sink is blasted away by simply pouring this stuff down the drain.  I was optimistic.  Two bottles later, it hadn’t worked. 
I tried the gel too, to no effect.  I even took the trap off (my husband loved that one, since I mentioned it to him this time…I’ve done it several times before but this is the first time I confessed….oops….clearing out a lot of stuff, but not getting the results I needed.)  I was resolved to call the plumber, a rational woman, after all, after committing to one last strategy; lye.  Did you know that you can’t even get lye at grocery stores anymore? I even went to a Dollar store, where it seems everything they sell is contraband, (no disrespect to Dollar stores, I LOVE them) and THEY didn’t have lye. Finally, feeling the effort was futile but inevitable, I went to Home Depot.
I love Home Depot. Home Depot reminds me of spending time with my father as a little girl, God rest his soul.   Long before my dad entered the ministry, he was a contractor, and the great deal I know about building, repair, and tools is because of the time I spent watching and working with him growing up.  Love you dad, but back to my clog.  I guess I had faith, like the woman with the issue of blood, that what I believed would work was going to work, and I wasn’t giving up until I got it. Well, at Home Depot, I got it.  I excitedly took it home and read the directions to ensure I knew what I was supposed to do.  I believed it would work. I knew I’d found my solution.  Well, it didn’t work right away, and for me, this is the real lesson in faith. 
Very often we fool ourselves into thinking that ours is a formulaic God, and if we do just what we’re supposed to do the way we’re supposed to do it, prayers will be answered.  Here’s the tricky part, and it was best taught to me in a sermon by TD Jakes, when he said, “every prayer does not get answered.” Wow.  That’s deep.  It’s also disconcerting, because we’re taught to pray and believe that our prayers will be answered.  But faith is larger than formula.  Faith isn’t just relying upon the practice, the process.  Faith is beyond process.  Process speaks to our logical minds.  Faith can feel like diving off a cliff.  Prayer is earnestly believing that God works it ALL out, according to His purposes, whether that ultimately agrees OR disagrees with what we think is supposed to happen. 
So back to my drain cleaner. It didn’t work right away, but I truly believed, undeterred, that this was the solution to clearing my drain, not a plumber.  So, where two applications are supposed to suffice; I kept going.  With tenacity that might have bordered on the fanatic for anyone else, I kept at it, and my faith was rewarded.  I cannot explain why I was so certain that it would work, except to say that I was always clear that it would. 
I’ve heard people discuss faith like that.  I do not intend to diminish faith in any way by making the analogy about my clogged drain, except to say, as my BFF always does, I knew, deep down in my KNOW, that lye was MY solution.  I never wavered.  I wasn’t worried, not panicked, didn’t reach for the plumber’s number, never considered that lye wouldn’t be the end game.  Maybe, just maybe, God sent a message to me in a clogged drain….”I never gave up on you, so don’t ever give up, not when you know I will never leave you.” Maybe someone else sees lightning bolts, or hears a voice, but my messages are clear, quiet certainties.   I just know.  Thank You Lord, for the just knowing. Clogged drains, challenges beyond my capacity, too much to do and no chance of getting it done, I am so thankful that You don’t give up.  Even when I don’t follow the directions.  Further evidence that God is good.

OneWord 2015

OneWord 2015

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