I love it how things come together at times in life and a similar sense is felt through a variety of different places. Yesterday morning during one of our discipelship times at church, I led a small group through a some intiial basics of how to understand one’s faith story. Then a short while later, I saw a post on Facebook from a friend about Brian Welch, the lead guitarist from the band Korn (who became a Christian several years ago). This story was referencing a debate that took place on his instagram feed about some really awful things that people posted when he shared about meeting a group of transgender young people at a concert. Part of the response he posted said, “The gospel of Christ isn’t like fast food. Not everyone has an overnight dramatic conversion like mine. Often times the relationship with God takes hold many years or even a decade or more later.” This statement (said in the context of a much larger story) reiterated what I shared just a few hours earlier about the development of our faith in our lives.
Then this morning, I come to Psalms 77 and 78 in my daily readings – Psalm 78 which is a long retelling of the story of the Hebrew people out of Egypt and into the Promised Land with all the beauty and the not-so-good parts included. But that wasn’t what got me initially…it was a few verses in Psalm 77 after the writer of the Psalm has been sharing about his struggles of where God has been. Verses 10-12…
Then I thought, “To this I will appeal:
the years when the Most High stretched out his right hand.
I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.
I will consider all your works
and meditate on all your mighty deeds.”
In the midst of a struggle of faith what the Psalmist does is to go back to the story – back to the times and places when God’s miracles were seen, when God’s presence was felt, and the stories were not that of the past but of the present. This is one of the reasons that understanding our faith stories is so important – its not just for us to have a tool for sharing our faith (side note – our faith stories are the single most powerful tool to do that though), its not just for us to have some lengthy telling of our lives, but its also for us to remember and to see the ways that God has been at work, especially in times when we struggle to see where God is at work.
I love this quote from CS Lewis because it captures so much of what I think about our faith stories – day by day not much seems to change, but when we look back we see how everything is different. I have seen that in my faith life over the nearly 30 years that I have been intentionally seeking to follow Jesus in my life – I can see, looking back, things that can’t see in just a momentary slice of the present. I can see the ways that my path has led me to where I am today. I can see how I have matured and grown in faith. I can see the ways that God has been able to work through difficult periods in my life or in the lives of others – things that were incredibly hard to see when I was in the midst of those times.