Tuesday, October 4, 2016

God Maybe?

“Increase our Faith!”
Wouldn’t we all want to have more faith?
We would all like to believe in good things.
We would like to believe that the world is getting better.
We would like to believe in love, hope, and joy.
We would like to believe in God’s ability to change our lives, to make them better.
This week at confirmation as we discussed the first commandment we were talking about putting our trust in God.
The confirmation kids asked the question, “Doesn’t God sometime let us down?”
They argued that God sometimes lets our loved ones die.
God sometimes lets our lives turn out worse than we want.
My question would be is that really faith?
Is that what we mean when we ask God to give us more faith?
Having faith is not about believing that everything will be fine.
It is not an assurance that all of life will be fine.
It is a trust in God’s ability to move mountains.
It is a trust that at the heart of everything that can, and sometimes does, go wrong in life there is a gracious and loving God.

This Friday I went with my mother to the doctor.
She was having the doctor give her the news about what they found in her latest scan.
For those who don’t know my mom has stage four cancer.
Almost a year ago she decided not to have any more treatment.
She has not had chemo, or any other cancer fighting drug in a about 11 months.
So we had braced for what this scan might show.
It turns out that her cancer is shrinking.
Even though she stopped her treatments all the tumors in her body have shrunk over those 11 months.
The Doctor told us she didn’t know how to explain it.
It was not what usually happens.
She said to us, “God maybe?”
I am reluctant to give God credit, because I have friends fighting cancer right now who are having lots and lots of treatment and who didn’t get good news like my mom.
I had a friend die of cancer last year.
I simply don’t believe in a God who is that mean to pick who lives and dies like that.
However, I am always open to the miracles, because God can do whatever God wants.
Sometimes it is beyond my understanding.
I am with the doctor, “God Maybe?”
I can’t explain it.
But this is what I know for sure.
My mom is one of the most faith filled people I know.
I know for sure that even if she would have gotten bad news, she still would have told you that God was good.
Through her fight with cancer she had depended on God to get her through.
She depends on God to be there for her when she is not sure.
And she shows strength because of that faith.
Her faith is not dependent on the outcome.
And in that way she has moved mountains.

That is what Jesus says we can do with faith.
We can move a tree and replant it in the ocean.
We can do miraculous things.
When we think of miracles that is what we think of right moving a tree with words, or curing a disease.
What if a miracle was simply doing hard things in our lives?
What if a miracle was simply living with cancer?
What if a miracle was forgiving something that you thought was unforgivable?
What if a miracle was holding each other in prayer?
Why do all miracles have to be so out there?
Isn’t life in and of itself a miracle?
Think about it.
We are today.
You are here today.
Every day that we are alive, every day we love, laugh, and cry is a miracle unto itself, because every day we face obstacles.
We face hard choices.
We face hard realities of life.
We face death and disease.
We face our own sin and the sins of others.
Isn’t it a miracle that we are here, and that we are loved, and we can love?

I would argue this morning that it is only through faith that any of this is possible.
Life cannot be lived without faith.
We simply wouldn’t get out of bed in the morning without it.
We wouldn’t do hard things unless we believed in the miracle of life.
My wife has been saying to me lately, “we can do hard things”.
I love that saying.
Because we can, and it is faith that helps us do those hard things.

This week in the Concord Monitor they had an article about the Swenson granite quarry.
The article was about the Swenson’s family selling the business 133  years.
As I read the article I was thinking of how important that business was to Concordia Lutheran Church.
Without it there might not be a Lutheran Church in Concord.
It was the Swedes who came to Concord to work in that quarry that founded this church.
And think about how much faith they must have had to make all of that possible.
They had to come here from a foreign country and build a new life.
They had to work hard, raise a family.
And amid all that they built a Church.
They didn’t know at that time that even all these years later we would still be here worshipping.
They did it all on faith.
And there faith was not dependent on the outcome.

I say this because what was true then is true now.
What was true for Jesus disciples, was true for those Swedes who came here to work in the quarry, is true for us, life is dependent on faith.
And nothing is done without it.
We wouldn’t buy a house, get a job, have children, give away money, or believe in God’s mercy and grace.
We do all that because of faith, and on faith we stand.

We gather together to have our faith stirred.
Jesus says to his disciples that he doesn’t need to give them more faith, because they already have received it.
It is there every day for them to depend on.
When things are hard, they can know they can do hard things.
It is there for us to.
And this morning Jesus reminds us of the miracles that happen all around us because of faith.
Jesus is the best example of this.
He is about to do a really hard thing, he is about to endure the shame and humiliation of the cross.
He knows that it is only through faith that he will be able to do to what is hard.
And we know how this story ends, with Jesus resurrection.
The part that is important to me is that Jesus through his faith met the challenge head on.

With faith we can move mountains.
With faith we can uproot a mulberry tree and plant it in the sea.
With faith we can do hard things.
With faith we can live everyday in God’s grace, mercy, and love.

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