Friday, September 01, 2006

Ya Gotta Have Faith

Innocence 1
I Just hung out with a close friend who is struggling right now on a number of levels. Most of all, he's dealing with a life that is absent of faith. His main reason for this startling lack of faith is that he doesn't see the benefit in the here and now. In the present, he is full of sorrow, pain and a "loneliness that most people can't comprehend." He fails to see how faith can replace the lack of companionship, happiness and purpose that he enjoyed during his 10 years of marriage, which recently ended in a sudden divorce.

This guy is smart, handsome and just flat out cool, but he's lost right now, and nothing seems to comfort him. What's a pastor to do with a situation like this. I guess I could quote a bunch of scripture and try to force this guy to see the obvious wisdom of a surrender to Christ. I could condescendingly tell him that life's not fair, and he should just deal with it. I could rebuke him for living a less than moral existence, and show him that good works are the way to find truth and freedom. There are a lot of things I could do, but I don't like any of these options.

Instead, we sat on his porch, relaxed to some good music, enjoyed some fine tobacco, and just talked. Sure, the subject of Christ's sacrifice and offer of redemption came up, but it was one among many things that we discussed. You see, I can't make that call for this guy. I can't wrestle through the depths of belief for him, but I can walk beside him in his journey. I can tell him my story and pray that he will find the same peace that I've found, but I can't walk that path to faith for him. I so wish I could, and I honestly believe he does too. I think he'd be thrilled if faith came as easily for him as it does for me, but that's not the way it works.

The way it works is that we talk about the ups and downs of life, and in so doing, we naturally cross the path of faith. When we do, either faith will win out or it won't. Either the path of faith will irresistably lure him down it's wonderful trail, or he will continue to travel down other, more certain dead ends. Either way, all I can do is listen, share my story, and continue to be a friend no matter what. After all, if he can have faith in my friendship, maybe he can one day excercise faith in my best friend. Without my unconditional friendship, my best friend may look more like a tyrant. With my friendship it's obvious that God loves those who are weak, and faith is less about being happy and more about being needy.

I'm praying for you, friend, and God knows I'm all about being your friend. May faith find you in your time of need, just as it did me.


Todd Blake said...

That's what I'm talkin' 'bout, Brother. We hold so much in common in this manner, Steve. "I've made you a light... so SHINE!" It isn't about persuasive words and logic. It's about compassion, mercy, grace, love, and the modeling of 'a more excellent way'. I wish I loved next door to you. And I'd love to experience some 'fine tobacco' with ya. My thoughts are with you, your family, and your friend.

Todd Blake

Steve Hayes said...

Thanks Todd. Good of you to write in and share your thoughts. I hope you do so often. We miss you guys and are praying for you. We'll partake in some fine tobacco next time we get together!