My Friend Joe

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It grieved my heart for a moment, as I began to come to grips with the possibility that Joe might not be the earnest seeker I had presumed him to be --- but rather --- an unbeliever!! We had jostled for years in friendly conversation, regarding a belief and faith in a sovereign GOD and in HIS Son Christ Jesus.But, reflecting on the many conversations we had, thoughts lead me to consider that he may be in perennial pursuit of snappy repartee ---an intellectual exercise --- rather than possible answers to his mountain of questions. It was this reflection on my “ Joe” conversations that led me to an even deeper introspection regarding this thing we call “ faith” -- the mystery of what brings a person to faith & what holds a person in faith. It is never an accident that GOD causes us to contemplate those things which, when we are saved and walking in faith, seem so normal as to be taken for granted. The mental exercise of trying to define this FAITH thing was a good exercise for me --- helping me nail down some of my own answers as to why I believe. When you run into a person like my friend Joe, a believer begins to realize how miraculous this thing called “faith” is. It is indescribably perplexing ; impossible to assert with clarity “This is where it began!” - or definitively chart its optimum versus standard rate of growth.

We know that” faith comes by hearing & hearing by the Word of GOD.” So there is a foundational element of faith that is tied to intimate knowledge of the Word of GOD --- That Word has been flawlessly chronicled in HIS Book --- the Bible.

The Bible tells us “that faith is the substance of things hoped for & the evidence of things unseen.” So we know that there is provability to faith that is both quantifiable & verifiable. We do not believe in fiction, folklore, fantasies or fairytales . What we believe is measurable as well as experiential. We are not accidental beings strewn into orbit in some random universe . We are designed with a GOD given purpose & an ability to have a personal relationship with our Creator GOD & HIS Son Jesus. Access begins with stepping out in faith .

We know that ”without faith it is impossible to please GOD.” So we understand that faith is the currency that moves heaven. Faith is the catalyst that sparks divine action. The complexity of the miracle of coming to faith leads me to marvel that anyone can come to Faith in Christ at all !!

We do not come, like my friend Joe is laboring to do, -- to a wealth of intellectual understanding. ---- As if there were some quantifiable body of evidence that once reached would catapult someone into faith. We come by faith to belief in Christ. We do not come to a lie --- or a locked door --- or a dead end --- We come to faith in Christ; and, any way we measure it --- it is the stuff of miracles. We do not come by accident or by some stroke of good fortune , but --- by FAITH. That is a miracle!! It is said that Darwin studied the life & habits of the inchworm for almost 25 years. He monitored its mobility, its nourishment tendencies, its social interactions & its reproductive cycle. Then he was left to study its physiology --- Do they have a sense of smell? Can they hear? How do they respond to light? What is the makeup of their digestive system? Do they have a circulatory or autonomic nervous system? He died without all the answers to his questions. There was a gaining of all this knowledge by reasoning & deduction through observable facts, but it led in turn, to a deeper well with even more questions. Darwin never did get all his questions answered. It can be like that for many of us too. We set out in search of some undefined volume of evidence to hang our hat of faith on & can become caught in a maze of endless questions that require still more evidence and lead to even more questions. My friend Joe may never put his faith in Jesus. He may leave this world & never have enough knowledge to satisfy his mind and lead him to “peace that surpasses all understanding.” He may never find “ joy unspeakable” that is present irrespective of circumstance. He must seek HIM with all his heart --- to find HIM. He can only come by FAITH. I can’t make him understand this thing called FAITH. I cannot endow him with that spark of revelation that leads him to Christ. That is the mystery of it all. “By grace through faith” we come to HIM. It is a miracle!! --- A “doggone” miracle!!!

Lynn Parker 2015