Thursday, October 16, 2008

Keep the faith

Several months back, I used the 2004 Red Sox as a metaphor to illustrate my point that "the fun is in the faith." The point was that, as the Sox began their incredible, never-been-done-before comeback from a 3-0 deficit, I couldn't be bothered to believe it possible. Same thing happened in 2007 when they came back from 3-1. It's like I believed I'd somehow be rewarded for dropping my faith. Instead, in each case, I ran from my faith. In each case I wound up feeling silly. The Red Sox came back from waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back and I found myself wondering why I'd bothered doubting them in the first place.

This behavior also surfaced in my walk with the Lord, of course -- those times where I really wanted to believe, but found it somehow too risky to believe in the improbable, in His power.

* * *

Probably the biggest thing I learned in the past year was a corollary to that last bit: if I'm going to say I believe in an all-powerful God, I need to act like it. I need to believe it. For the past several months, I did that. Even if things didn't wind up the way I wanted them to, I believed they could. I believed that all things were possible through the Lord.

Earlier today I was thinking about the 3-1 series deficit the Sox were facing this year. I was tired of reading the pundits talk about past Sox comebacks. As far as I was concerned, they were cooked. Everyone on the team looks tired and the difference between this year's situation and past years, I was quick to point out, is that this year's team is less talented than their competition (unlike 2007 vs. Cleveland and 2004 against the Yankees). Between injuries to several key players and generally being not as good as Tampa Bay, I figured this season was over. I didn't even plan to watch the game.

But Mike, I internally dialogued, doesn't this contradict your newfound belief, in, well, belief? If you believe all the crazy, improbable things in the Bible, if you truly believe that all things are possible through Christ...I mean, is it so hard to believe a baseball team can win three games in a row, even with inferior talent?

For more than two hours, there looked to be no reason to believe. Through six innings, the Sox were down 7-0 and had two (2) hits. My friend Meg and I just wanted the game to end early enough to be able to see The Office. Then, despite my lack of faith, I was rewarded: the Sox, down to their last seven outs, scored eight runs to win game 5 and complete the greatest postseason single game comeback in 79 years (!)

Winding down afterwards, I couldn't help but think about how this again mirrors my walk with the Lord. After the 2007 baseball season, I promised I would never again stop believing. Obviously that didn't happen. Again, I feel silly for ever doubting. It will, I'm sure, be the same thing with my relationship with God. I'm sitting here, trying to convince myself that I'll never stop believing in Him. Thing is, someday I will doubt him again. It might not be an overt thing where I actually say aloud "I doubt you, God," but my actions, my inner beliefs will say those words.

But you know what the greatest thing is? Even when I have trouble believing, God loves me, and cares for me and prays for me. I'd love to be able to say "I will always believe, with all my heart," but it's probably not true. Even when it's not true, though, I know He is there for me. In my absolute weakness, when I have lost all belief, when I cannot find even a glimmer of hope, that's when He is strongest. And for that, my friends, I am more thankful than anything else.

No comments: