Word-y Gifts for Christian Faith & Life

Journey of faith

Two years ago, out of the blue, I decided to learn how to play the flute. I remember giggling like a first-grader when I played my first notes. But soon enough, I became acquainted with the instrument’s challenges. There were just too many details to keep in mind—my embouchure, posture, breath control, correct fingering of the 30-plus notes, balancing and correctly holding the flute, air speed and direction, my reading of the music, and so on. Sounding the highest notes was especially challenging, but my frustrations subsided when I embraced the fact that learning to play the instrument well would be a long journey that would require patience. So it is with the Christian faith—it is a long journey, and if it is to be enjoyed at all, it too requires patience.

The Bible speaks of walking with God. It is an image of two people on a journey, side by side, talking and doing life together. As we walk with him, we encounter hilly paths that require some exertion, thorny areas that demand careful maneuvering and boring flat plains that seem to last forever. Some days the walk is delightful, other days it’s frustrating. The pace often feels slow and we try to get God to speed up, but he maintains pace. Sometimes we understand him, other times we don’t, and it’s especially frustrating when he seems to ignore our many questions.

We take rest breaks and wonder if we will ever “get there” wherever we imagine there to be. Different people join us along the way, some stay longer than others, but God is the constant one. He remains by our side summer, autumn, winter and spring, day by day, come rain or shine.

Left right left, with our hand in his, God somehow changes us. Our character develops. We become more patient and confident, less selfish and even less bothered by things that once kept us in bed for days; we begin to understand him and his ways better, and we see things just a bit more clearly. We also begin to understand that we will never have it all figured out; we simply need to keep walking.

I can now play the highest notes on my flute, some more consistently than others, and I still giggle when I get them right. There are still many elements to master, but I no longer pack up the instrument in frustration as I once did. I simply learn what I can and try again the next day because like the walk of faith, I now understand that the gains, pleasures and victories are in the process.    

“… And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8)

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