"Don't treat any single scene as if it were the whole movie. Keep writing the script. Respond to your current scene in a way that gets you to the good ending." -Dr. Henry Cloud
I love watching movies. I've watched some of my favorites dozens of times. Even though I may know how the story unfolds, something new is revealed for me every time I watch. My dad likes to watch re-runs of old Westerns. He knows the story lines so well he can even say lines along with the actors. I think he secretly gets wrapped up in the story because at some level he identifies with the situation.
I sometimes get tangled up in words that Christians take for granted. I think it's easy to make assumptions about how others define words like faith, hope, belief and trust. I hear a lot of people describe their faith with high-powered theological words or tell a story about how their faith carried them through a difficult season in their life. I can celebrate and high-five with them. But, there is something revealing and refreshing when someone has the courage to ask a truthful and honest question about faith--kind of like an unexpected plot twist.
I was asked recently, "What authority do you have to tell me that God worked in one situation and not in another?"
It's very tempting to write a script to tell others what to believe. I hope I never take advantage of the authority I've been given. I wrestle with the mantle and burden of authority knowing that all the authority I've been given comes from God. He evidently trusts me. Being faithful in small things comes to mind. I've come to believe what authority I may have is revealed when an answer to the complexity of faith is somehow confirmed and affirmed in the heart another person. Sometimes the confirmation doesn't come right away. The worst thing I can do is write in my explanation of how the storyline should go. I may not know why there is suffering, pain, agony and death. However, I am called to respond to it.
Faith Promise is one way we respond to the complex story lines a lost and broken world. By faith, we actively seek God's directive how we can personally be involved and respond to the world's needs. By faith, we trust God to provide us with an unexpected monetary blessing. By faith, individuals promise to pass the funds directly to the church. By faith, the church deploys resources to support ministry partners across the globe. Imagine how our world might change if we help write a new ending for just one person. We may never get an adequate answer to why things happen. But, we can respond by identifying with the situation and work on how we can create a good ending.
"The trial exposed their true colors: They were incredibly happy, though desperately poor. The pressure triggered something totally unexpected: an outpouring of pure and generous gifts. I was there and saw it for myself." 2 Corinthians 8:2-3 (The Message)