Yesterday was the 5th Sunday in Lent. It has been a long journey for some and for others, the blink of an eye. We were fortunate enough to have our organist, William ONeill (aka, Billy) give the message and it was a powerful testimony on faith and, like all good messages, it got me thinking as well.
This morning, as I poured a cup of coffee I realized that the cup I was using was from a former employer, Saint-Gobain. Billy’s message conveyed a turn of events that prepared him for what was coming next. It prepared him for what could have been a crises of faith. Instead, he knew his faith was a strong support for what was going to happen shortly.
I mentioned the coffee cup because it was there, at Saint-Gobain that I too began a faith journey, one that would wind its way through the lives of many people all over the world and end up with me leaving my profession of 40+ years to enter ministry.
God gives us opportunities for recognizing a choice in our faith all the time. I was re-watching “Evan Almighty” this week, it’s a cute / lame / endearing comedy about a man who through no choice of his own becomes a modern Day Noah (played by Steve Carell). Morgan Freeman reprises his role as God from the earlier film “Bruce Almighty.” There was one scene in which Freeman suddenly appears to Noah’s wife as a server in a restaurant (spoiler – His name tag reads ‘Al Mighty’). Noah’s wife is distraught about the crazy way her husband is behaving. During their conversation Freeman (aka God in the film) says something like … “Do you think when people pray for courage that God gives them courage or instead gives them an opportunity to find courage?”
I believe that’s what happened on Billy’s faith journey, on mine, on pretty much everyone’s. God provides us with all we need to discover our relationship to God on our own. I never expected a phone call from God when I prayed for guidance about my life, instead I received the message from a young man driving me to my work in Liberia. He story of faith was so compelling, almost overwhelming, that I still tear up whenever I think of him.
This Lent, pray. Pray for what you need from God but be prepared to be called upon when answered. I don’t think God will ask you to build an ark, but you may be challenged to let go of your old life, your old attitudes, your old self in order to really hear the answer to your prayer.