Picking Up My Son at the Airport
Then the LORD said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your fathers and to your kindred, and I will be with you.” Genesis 31:3
My son flew in yesterday for his Thanksgiving break from college. We live a couple of hours from the airport though, so earlier in the week, I had to make some changes in my schedule so that I could pick him up. My wife and I wanted him home and for him to get home, I had to plan for that, and then I had to execute my plan. What if, however, earlier in the week, I’d have said something like this? I’m going to practice faith. If God wants my son home from the airport, God will get him home. What if I made no plans and did nothing? In doing nothing, I would have been abandoning my responsibility, abusing my faith, and frustrating everyone in my family. That is, of course, absurd. Faith doesn’t mean doing nothing.
Still, I’ve treated my faith like this. As a Christian, I believe I’m saved by God’s grace, not by my works. So, I’ve mistakenly understood that faith meant doing nothing, hoping that God just takes my life where he wants it to go. I claimed to believe in God, but I did what I wanted. Then, in the disaster of my drug addiction, I had the audacity to question God. How could you allow this to happen to one of your children? Don’t you want what’s best for me?
Today’s passage provides some insight into the answer to my question. In the story, God commanded Jacob to return home. He’d worked for Laban for years and now, God wanted him to go back to the land of his birth. God promised Jacob that he’d go with him . . . if he obeyed. The reciprocal was also true and served as a warning. I will be with you and your life will go where I want as long as you follow me. If you refuse and go your own way, you’re walking away from me and my plan. It will hurt.
Faith means believing in God and then living out that belief, making my feet follow him and his plan. This requires conscious, purposeful, and daily effort to first seek his will, and then to do that will. Faith doesn’t mean that I simply believe God exists, but then sit back and do whatever I feel like. Daily, I must ask myself – What have I purposefully done today to follow God’s plan? If I can’t answer that, then it’s quite likely that I’m simply following myself, which isn’t faith and it isn’t how I find the life God desires for me.