Today at church the pastor spoke of faith like a mustard seed. The most humble seed, sprouting full and grown and carving it’s way through the darkest soil. Raising it’s limbs and waving it’s yellow flowers like a majestic crown across the fields. The most triumphant of garden plants, spreading like a yellow blaze. Surely this is Glory. Surely this humble beginning is grace for all the small in faith.
And he spoke of the boxes we frame our faith in.
We pray with earnest worn knees for the answers to problems, the chemo to win the battle, the child to live, the ring of the phone offering you the job, the check to come filling in the balance needed to make it.
We wait with hungry mouths chanting prayers and claiming the hem of faith, the tiniest morsel of promise.
And sometimes we doubt. Because the faith of the God-dependant prays with open empty palms and remembers empty and full and knows that God goes before and makes a way and calls and answers and we do not always see it as so.
And we may be the mountain movers, or we may be the immovable stone standing in the way of God, unwilling to be broken. Because children do die, mouths do go hungry, people do live without roofs and warmth. But we prayed, Lord. We prayed. And what do we do with faith when the answer doesn’t come back down the line from heaven with a resounding, “as you have asked it will be done.”
I think of my faith. It is so small, the kind of faith that lags behind not making a scene. The kind of faith that doesn’t want to be presumptuous. For I’ve prayed with grasping hands and learned that the faith God builds isn’t dependent on my will.
And when I pray not my will, but yours God, I don’t really mean it. Because God sized faith opens your heart, unfurled and precious and asks it to leap unbound from your chest. To trust that it may be afflicted, but not crushed, perplexed but not despairing, persecuted but not forsaken, struck down but not destroyed.
Because I want to see God work.
I want to believe without want of sticking my finger wound deep into Jesus’s palms and feel the flesh torn and know that it is true. I want faith.
I’ve seen this kind of faith, I wrote of the kind of faith you don’t really want. The kind I’ve seen my mother carry on burdened shoulders, a peace weaving through the pain. The kind that makes no sense, and leaves heads shaking because isn’t it foolish to trust God, don’t we have to be practical? Don’t we need to be wise? Yes, you can live for God, but don’t let it cost so much. After all, he wants us to be happy. So the kind of faith that boards planes with children, to countries barring Christians, the kind of faith that prays solemn prayers into their dying child’s hair as she lays frail and broken, that kind of faith that says, Here I am, send me. That is a hard and steady faith and I want it. I do. Even as I fear the cost. I trust the giver.
And so I know the road to God sized faith is obedience, is prayer, is humbling my will to His. It is hearing His voice and believing it to be true and right and full.
I heard him call to me in my youth. He was mapping the continent of Africa onto my soul. A land I’ve never seen. A people I’ve never known. A place as far from me as God had seemed before He called me to life. But I heard it and I cherished it. Dreaming of the day when he would say, go.
And that day has come. I write this with trembling fingers, because again, I wrestle with tenuous faith. I believe He called. I believe He equipped me. I believe, help me with my unbelief.
The pastor said the problem with people is they think the problem is the problem. The focus of my frail faith is the money needed for the trip. The planning and provision of my family. The doubt that I should go. After all, who am I? Wouldn’t the money be better served giving to the poor? Aren’t there more worthy things? And I doubt.
I finger the edges of my sponsored children’s pictures. Every one in Africa. Every one with chocolate-brown eyes and ebony skin, a mountain of prayers sent to heaven on their behalf. I am called. I am answering. I will go with my small faith and watch it multiply. After all, He promises to go before me. I need only follow.
I’m stepping out in my faith. In November, I will travel with a team from Antioch church in partnership with Food for the Hungry to Nairobi, Kenya, and Diga, Ethiopia. This trip is the seed sown so many years ago when I first became a Christian. It is the fruition of faith placed in the promises He gave when I was 16 years old, sitting in my room, praying that He would take my life and make it worth His sacrifice. That I would not live a futile and empty life any more.
I will be one of a team of women traveling to Africa to learn, to love on, and to lean into God’s work through Food for the Hungry.
My mother, my hero in the faith, will be traveling alongside me and it is a great privilege to travel with her on this missions trip. I know that since my father’s passing, she has always felt a stir to return to missions in some capacity. India holds so many memories of their work there and so this will be a new chapter of seeing what the Lord will do in our lives.
I am so excited to see what God is doing. I believe He is tilling the soil of many hearts and that He is on the move.
Would you consider partnering with me?
I have financial needs to make this happen and I have started a Pure Charity account to help fund my trip. You can give through Pure Charity by clicking the icon below.
To give a tax-deductible donation:
- click the link here—>Antioch Online Giving
- click on secure online giving
- click on pay as guest
- fill out your information and click on Missions: General Missions
- In the memo line please put Missions: Africa-Alia Joy
- Voila- do a little happy dance and accept my gracious thanks
Supporters will be receiving private newsletters from me, discussing details as the trip approaches so be sure to email me that you’ve contributed so I can add you to the email list.
- I need to have a large portion of my support in by August 31st so I’m pinching pennies, working up fundraising projects, and praying hard.
If you’d like to pray with me, I will also be organizing a prayer team to support me in prayer before, during, and after my trip. I know that prayer is the thing that has always paved the way for me. That nothing of substance has happened in my life apart from seeking God with my whole heart. If you would like to commit to prayer for me and my team, please let me know by filling out the contact form below.