How is God challenging you to keep faith fresh?
Like freshly brewed coffee: to keep it fresh I’ll turn off the machine right away (I don’t like coffee reductions) and if I’ve made two cups I’ll pour both, one into a mug and one into an insulated mug. Fresh, the scent as well as the taste delights me.
How is faith fresh, to we who have always known the gospel?
It is fresh every time I fail. I fall, am rebuked or ashamed, and I run to my heavenly Father.
“Daddy, will you fix this?” the girl confidently asks her father. She leaves it with him. That is what I am learning to do.
Then when he gives me something, a post or a book or a memory, I am glad to learn, receiving it from him.
Memory came today. My mother told me stories when I was little, and they were of her own life (Ann Voskamp’s image of the duck feathering her nest with feathers plucked from her breast). Today the one that came clearly, viscerally, was about an egg.
She was in her twenties, in Greece. Born in New Hampshire to Greek parents, my mom spoke only Greek in the home and at church, learning English at school, feeling stupid. She worked in her father’s restaurant in High School and college and one day a regular customer who prayed before he ate explained the gospel to her clearly. So she finished college at Bible School and went to Greece to explain the gospel clearly, to work in an orphanage, and to minister to the poor.
“They showed me their house with pride, Bethie. They had only one chicken.”
“Did they eat the others?”
“No, they were so poor they had no others, but this one chicken was a good layer. It gave them an egg every day. Guess what?”
“They served me egg and a dried piece of bread.”
I made a face.
“They served me the egg while they ate only dry bread but they smiled. They smiled at me, Bethie, because they were glad to share the best they had with me.”
She paused to let that sink in, and then with almost tears in her eyes, said, “I had to eat it, but I almost couldn’t. To think that they would give me their one egg, and I had grown up with so much!”
I remember those eyes, telling me. I remember her love for those people. People who loved not only her but the Spirit who shone out of her. People whose eyes shone bright with love. I have seen that, received that love.
As I stood at my stove cooking dinner and remembering, I thought, did those people know and rely on the scripture that says, “Whoever offers a cup of cold water to a prophet because he is a prophet will have a prophet’s reward?” They gave their best to a missionary because she was a missionary….
Keep faith fresh by paying attention. Listen. Drink the cup hot when it comes or drink from the insulated cup of memory that by the Spirit has been kept hot for you. Thank and praise the Father God. It is right and a joy, always and everywhere, to give thanks and praise to you, O Lord.