I remember one time my friend Ginger told me that when she heard the song, “I Will Praise You in the Storm,” that she thought of me.
If you only knew.
I don’t praise Him in storm.
I don’t even trust Him.
I’m pretty good at thanking Him during the good times - but being proud of that is like getting a trophy for showing up for team picture day.
I suck, actually.
I kick and scream and pout and I’m passive-aggressive towards my husband, I curse and cry in the car when I’m alone.
Because there are parts of this that I hate.
There are times that I just can’t get past the unfairness.
When that song comes on the radio, I’ll sing along. I may even go full-on Christian and close my eyes, and try really hard to mean it.
“I will praise you in this storm, and I will lift my hands, you are who you are, no matter where I am...”
But, I’m not kidding anyone. Not myself, and certainly not God.
Right now, I am in this season of seeing my faith for what it really is.
Hear me out.
You’re familiar with Splenda, right?
It’s the yellow packet.
The label says “made from sugar, so it tastes like sugar.”
I saw a part of a documentary about this.
I am not a scientist, but I did pretty well in Dr. Conyers high school chemistry class.
Enough to understand that Sucralose (Splenda) is almost identical to Sucrose (Sugar), except for one little thing - Sucralose is chlorinated. When you glance at the molecular structure, they look identical. You have to look really, really close - maybe even a couple of times - to see that CI in place of OH.
**I now believe that both Splenda and Sugar are evil and make you unhealthy, but that’s beside the point. This is not a story about nutrition, or even chemistry. It’s a spiritual truth.
I’ve been wanting to have a baby for about two years. We all know that hasn’t happened yet, for various reasons.
The number one reason that no one who isn’t hanging out in my heart and in my head doesn’t know is that it’s because I’m afraid.
I am afraid to try.
To really try, consistently.
I am afraid of trying and it not working, and being heartbroken.
I am afraid of that leading to trouble between me and my husband.
I am afraid of being mad at God.
Because I’ve been there before, and that was no fun.
Recently, our pastor preached one of those messages that slapped me in the face, in a good way.
Here are the points:
- Jesus accepts you just as you are, but loves you too much to leave you there.
- Your devotion to Jesus is not dependent upon your circumstances, emotions or cultural trends.
- You as a member of the church, must be committed to knowing the Word of God and living by it, regardless of circumstances, emotions or cultural trends.
- You must choose to follow Jesus, to travel down the road of apostasy.
- Your choice to follow Jesus will be rewarded.
This message forced me to look in the mirror.
To face the fact that even though I look like I believe, act like I believe, and even inspire others to believe... I don’t really believe.
I am Splenda.
Splenda sweetens your coffee, it satisfies your sweet tooth, it even looks like sugar, but it’s not.
It’s so close, but so far away.
I have the flavor of faith, but no real faith.
The good news for me is that that’s okay! It’s never too late to be obedient, to change directions, and to take those little steps of faith that will eventually lead to big steps. See the points Pastor Kyle makes above - it's up to me. Jesus has done/is doing/will forever do His part.
James 1:22: Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
Anyone out there dare to join me? To press in and press on until we really believe? Until we really trust God?
I don’t know if I’ll ever get to the point of actually praising Him in the storm. I don’t know if I’ll ever give birth to a baby. But this isn’t about that. This is about being real, and seeking truth and admitting that I’m not in control, that I can’t figure this out in a million Google searches.
I have a long way to go.