Hanging the shelf took more time, energy and effort than it should have. First we had to get a working drill to put the anchors in. Then there was the measuring, centering, leveling and marking. Then the holes were drilled, but maybe that one was too close to an unknown pipe/wire/stud/whatever behind the wall. Then there was the stud finder, re-checking and re-measuring. The anchors set, the shelf hung, the screws all tightened. The shelf was hung, filled and looked great. There was much rejoicing. I sent a picture to Brian and Ron to celebrate my victory.
Fast forward a few days and I wander into the bathroom to find the Epsom salt jar on the top shelf. You see, I felt pretty confident in the hanging of the shelf up until that point. A few jars, a jewelry dish, the box of oils… no big deal, my shelf would hold. But that jar of salt was heavy. Like, heavy heavy. My shelf was facing it’s first real trial and to be honest, I wasn’t sure it would hold.
How often is my faith the exact same way? It seems good, it seems secure but I’m terrified to put any weight on it, for fear that it may crumble. For someone who claimed James 1:2-3 among his favorite verses for so long, I certainly have struggled to live it.
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
What’s amazing is to think of how many times in the past I’ve leaned into my faith, put serious weight on it and found it still standing at the end of the day. Untested, unquestioned, unruffled faith is not the kind of faith I want. I want the dirty, gritty faith that works its way under my fingernails and hardens callouses on my hands from how much I use it. I want the faith that can take everything I throw at it, weather every storm, affirm every doubt and keep coming back for more.
I’ve found that faith but I still so easily forget it. Like my shelf, I know it will hold but I keep holding back from trusting it fully.
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.