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Partial Faith

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Partial Faith

I was raised to believe that you might as well not ask God0 anything if you don’t believe 100%.  I was threatened with these verses in James 1:

“But it any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach and it will be given to him.  But let him ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.  For let not that man expect that he will receive anything from the Lord.”

So why bother praying? I didn’t need God to tell me I was rejected.  I knew I had partial faith, and many times none at all.  I’d had enough rejection in life already, especially from people I wanted to love and accept me as I was.  Why bother seeking a God already angry at me?

The day came when I had so much compressed pain and anger, I exploded at God, wanting to hurt Him or Her as badly as I hurt.  I had nothing to lose.  I screamed at God, raging, cussing, lashing out at an unseen deity who had it out for me.  But I didn’t get what I expected. God screamed back…love.  I fought dirty and God fought back, not to annihilate me, but to let me know it was OK to wrestle with Him/Her, bring all my doubt, pain, and partial faith to the mat.  I was unconditionally loved and accepted that way.  I didn’t know, and sometimes I still don’t know.  But I still keep coming back to that God who doesn’t mind a good fight.

Partial Faith

Hooray for the victors who win the acclaim,
pay their all and achieve success,
applause and medals, affirmation and praise.
I mean it – they deserve recognition.

But what of those who give their best
and are never renowned except with pity,
fame for shame of failure again,
who earn crumbs for not quitting this time
until perhaps they reach the bottom of the well.
How many times can you miss the mark
without facing this isn’t your gift from God?
Why cry and try for what you can’t have –
salvation for others, not me?
We’re exempt for failure to trust
and let go 100% like them who fit in.

Does God shrug and say,

Let me know when you’re ready,
when your will no longer works for you?

What if partial faith is the best we have,
with no trust in people who martyr those with less success?

Do they really think we’ll volunteer
for pity, slander, and being ignored?
Where do we go except back out
where at least we can succeed at being professional failures?
We don’t see God’s promises coming true.
What’s the use of longing for what you can’t have?
We crave, like addicts, to be winners like them.
And those that do, continue to try – at least, many do –
while some die inside or altogether, alone.

God, you said you made me unique and precious,
but I see defection in your design.
I believe and don’t,
try hard and won’t let go of you,
for the alternative is my own personal hell.

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About the Author:

I never have found a box that fits me, so I follow Jesus into the wild. My husband, Bud, and I are two life-long hippies, parents of four grown children, and live in Bartlett, TN, with six cats, two dogs, and no TV. We are voracious readers and have loaded bookshelves in every room in the house except the kitchen and bathrooms. As a wordsmith, I write in long-hand everyday and use a computer by necessity. I am part of an eclectic group of Jesus-followers called Outlaw Preachers and have a passion for prison ministry. I am also an advocate for middle-aged and senior women, and anyone who suffers from depression. My musical tastes include Stevie Ray Vaughn, Joni Mitchell, old scratchy-record blues, and the great classical sacred choral works. One other thing: dark chocolate and garlic are major food groups, but not together.

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