Monday, September 16, 2013

How to Find Faith!

I spend a lot of my time looking for things.
Keys, wallet, phone, books I am reading, and papers I need.
For anyone who has ever looked in my office this is no surprise.
Things just seem to go missing in the black hole of my office.
We all can lose things at times.
What happens when we lose faith?
What happens when we can’t seem to tap into that part of us that simply trusts that everything will work out for the best?
What happens when we feel that God is absent from our lives?
How do we find it again?

I was looking this week on websites that give advice about how to find things when we lose them.
I thought that they also might be instructive to how to find faith.
The first thing that all the websites suggested was to stop looking for the thing we lost.
That if you are stressed and trying to find something your body will pull energy away from your ability to concentrate and locate the object and if you simply stop looking and relax it will appear.
I think in our faith life this is excellent advice.
When we lose faith we might think that what we need to do is go looking for it.
To try harder and concentrate more on getting it back.
What Jesus suggests to us in our Gospel this morning is that we don’t need to go looking for it, because God is already out there looking for us.
Jesus tells us that when we are lost God is on the case.

If you have ever been hiking one of the rules about getting lost is to stop.
That if you are lost the best thing to do is to stop and wait for help, because if you keep moving the people looking for you are going to have a harder time finding you.
The same can be said for our faith life.
That if we are so busy running around trying everything to find our faith, perhaps we miss the fact that God is already looking for us.
The best thing to do is to be still, and simply to wait for God to show up.

I know that this goes against what we think is common sense.
When I lose things I always think to myself, “Ok just concentrate harder and you will remember where you left it.”
But it is true the harder I look usually the harder it is to find.
Usually once I give up what I was looking for appears.

Another piece of advice for finding lost things is that it is usually where it is supposed to be.
That most of the time what we are looking for is where we would expect to be.
Looking for your keys and you search every pocket only to realize that you put them in the inner pocket that you didn’t check the first eight million times.
Let me suggest this morning that God is always where God says God will be.
God is always right there with you.
God is always looking for you.
Something horrible happens in our life and we wonder, “Where is God?”
God is right there in the mess with you.
I suppose we feel this way because our idea of God is that he protects us from ever having anything bad happen to us.
Or the idea that if we only are faithful and righteous enough God will not let anything bad come our way.
If only life was so simple.
Instead, the image of God that Jesus paints for us this morning is of God out there in our mess with us.
Jesus gives us a God who stops everything else to sweep the messy floor with us until we are found.
This is different from the God removed from the problems we face, sitting on a puffy cloud somewhere judging and condemning us.
Perhaps some of the issue with us trying to find God is just that we don’t see God the way that Jesus presents God to us.

I currently have three friends under the age of 40 who are dealing with cancer.
They are all at different stages of this disease.
I really don’t know why.
I know that it is really unfair.
These are good people with strong faiths.
What I have noticed however is the way that they are surrounded by God’s love.
One of my friends Sarah Dalzell just found out this summer that she has stage four Stomach cancer.
It really sucks.
But Sarah really like Converse all-star sneakers she has been wearing them for years with all sorts of different colors.
One of our friends came up with the idea that we should all wear Converse sneakers on the days when Sarah has chemo to show our support and then post a picture of us wearing them on Facebook.
Last Friday over one hundred of Sarah’s family and friends posted pictures of them wearing converse sneakers.
There is God right where God would expect God to be.
God is in our loved ones, our friends, and family.
God is in our shoes with us showing love and support.
God is running us down, and making sure we don’t feel alone.
Jesus teaches us that our God walks in our shoes with us down whatever road we find ourselves on at the time.

Another piece of advice in searching for lost things is that often times we are looking right at it.
I have done this so many times.
Often I am staring at the thing I am looking for.
I call in my wife to help me and she simply picks it up and shows it to me.
Often times God is right in front of our noses and we simply don’t see God.
God hasn’t gone anywhere but our perception of things shifted and so we simply feel that we can’t find God.
The key to any spiritual life is to be able to see the world and ourselves as God sees it.
If we feel unworthy to be loved then we often times will project that on to God, but to see ourselves as unloved by God is not see God properly.
The God that Jesus talks about is so concerned about us individually that he leaves the 99 to come and search for us.
That is how much God cares about you that God risks everything to come after you.

Perhaps if we merely were thinking all the time that God was on the lookout for us then we could see better the ways that God is coming after us.
In the middle of life and all of its demands we will be able to see God right there in our mess with us.

One final piece of advice on how to find lost things is to think back.
It is important to retrieve the memory of where you put the lost item in the first place.
Once you do this you can go, “Of course that is where it is.”
And make a beeline for the lost object.
Can we remember all the love that God has given us over the years?
Can we retrieve the memories of those times in our lives when we knew that God was with us?
A starry night, a cozy winter day by the fire, at our wedding, our first communion, our grandparents seventy wedding anniversary party, and most important can we think back to our baptisms.
Can we remember that day when God claimed us as God’s children?
Can we remember the words of Jesus this morning?
“….and go after the one that is lost until he finds it?”
God goes after us until God finds us.
And then God rejoices.

We lose many things in our lives keys, wallets, books, our health, and even at times friends or other important relationships.
The one thing that we can never lose is God.
Because God is out there looking for us until we are found.
If we can remember that then we can simply be still and know that God is with us in whatever situation we find ourselves.

No comments:

Post a Comment