As I searched for something that would give me some fresh content for Lenten devotions, I ran across a web site based on the Book of Common Prayer (St David’s Church). It had an introduction calling for readers to use the season of lent to feed faith and starve fear. (Rev. W. Frank Allen). This is of special interest to me today because as I type this I can visualize fear as a crouching tiger and faith as an anemic skinny boy of about seven.
How can I practically give the tiger an empty bowl and feed the anemic child a nutritious lunch? (I am remembering that I shopped today at an organic grocery store.) Have I also made preparations for starving this fear and feeding this faith? Since my trip to the grocery store was intentional, my plan for these two spiritually hungry guests must be thoughtful, as well.
Regarding the tiger of fear, I can remind myself that God has not given us a spirit of fear. Therefore, I don’t want to give fear a chair at my table, a place mat, or a name card. When he asks (the same old question), “Has God really said?” I will reply, “It is written.” Then I will take him to Jeremiah 29:10-14 and let him read it himself. I don’t want to spend any more time with him.
Regarding the fragile guest of faith, I am reminded that it isn’t the size of faith that matters but the object of the faith. Encouraged by this, I prop the little skeleton of faith on my dining room chair and support him with pillows. I ask if I can pray before the meal and, as I do, I declare my belief in who God is and what he can do. I mentioned that I knew he can move mountains.
When I raise my head from praying I see that my little faith friend has become a crowd. Several others have sent their faith as an encouragement. (Romans 1:12) I also caught the faith team poking each other and laughing together at my comment about moving mountains. One winked at me and said that if I had faith the size of a mustard seed I could tell a mountain to move and it would. Nothing would be impossible. (Matthew 17:21)
I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised at the way these faith friends devoured everything I brought from the organic food store. They emptied all three bags of everything in them. When I started to show some signs of fear that I was running out of supplies they laughed again. They knew that I would need to be empty handed to benefit from their presence. They invited me to rest.