“Quit Settling for a Reasonable Faith”

That was the title of a daily post in Bob Goff’s book,
Live in Grace, Walk in Love.
It made me stop and think.
Do I want an unreasonable faith?

Bob went on to explain how we often lose our sense of childlike wonder as well as our ability to let our imaginations run wild so we can enjoy all God has given us to explore.

My mind went elsewhere:

  • What were my expectations of what my faith should reasonably produce for me?
  • What did I expect God to do for me?
  • What was too much to ask of him?
  • Was I expecting too little of him?
Photo by Steve Halama on Unsplash

Almost 70 years ago, J. B. Phillips published a book entitled, “Your God Is Too Small.” Was he? Was the God I created in my own mind, or at least the God my actions and thoughts portray, a small, reasonable God? Or did I truly worship a God of wonder, a God of miracles, a God of power and presence in my daily life?

Not many days later, while still pondering if my reasonable faith kept me from trusting God for big things, a chance Scriptural encounter led me back to I Kings 17. A famine was occurring in the land, and God directs the prophet Elijah to go to the town of Zarephath, where God says a widow will provide the food he needs.

Here’s the interesting thing: God apparently did not give the widow this message! Elijah shows up and asks her for water and a piece of bread. Her response is:

“As surely as the Lord your God lives, I don’t have any bread—
only a handful of flour in a jar and a little olive oil in a jug.
I am gathering a few sticks to take home and
make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it—and die.”

The widow is expecting to die. She and her son have one meal left. And after that—the end. There is nothing more for them to do but starve to death. No unemployment, no welfare, no government stimulus check. It’s over for the widow and her son.

Elijah tells her not to be afraid. He tells her to first go make him a small loaf of bread and then to make food for herself and her son. And then he gives her a promise from the almighty Lord, the God of Israel:

“The jar of flour will not be used up
and the jug of oil will not run dry
until the day the Lord sends rain on the land.”

That doesn’t seem like a reasonable promise, even from God. And yet the woman must have had an unreasonable faith in God, because she does it. She makes Elijah’s bread and then the bread for her son and herself.

“So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family.
For the jar of flour was not used up
and the jug of oil did not run dry,
in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah.”

Food every day. A jar of flour that is never used up. A jug of oil that refuses to empty,

God provided in unreasonable ways. And the widow’s faith was big enough to believe that he could and that he would.

Do I limit myself to a reasonable faith that doesn’t expect much more from God than the norm? Do I look to myself to find the solutions to meet my needs? Or do I reach out in an unreasonable faith to a God who is big—and yet who loves me intimately?

Photo by Robert Nyman on Unsplash

At the beginning of March, before we had much of an inkling of what COVID-19 would bring to our lives, I wrote a post called, “When the Great Provider Doesn’t Provide Through a Paycheck.” A reasonable faith might have kept me from experiencing God’s provision, or at least from recognizing it.

But I’m trying to have a big faith in a big God each day. I’m asking him to provide while I live without work. I am trusting him to walk through this with me, because he’s so much bigger and so much more capable than I am.

Is my bank account flush because of my unreasonable faith? No. I have budget categories where I haven’t been able to put a penny in the pot so far this year. Categories like vacation and books and clothes have no cash balance because I can’t put in what I don’t have. But every bill has been paid and on time.

I know I need to say this: I believe God can also choose to lead people through tremendous physical hardship and loss, financially and otherwise. And I would guess that walking with God through that takes the most unreasonable faith of all.

How reasonable is your faith? Are you looking to God for what only he can do and trusting him with the outcome?

Here’s to a willingness to walk uncharted paths trusting in a great big God!

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