Our lives are filled with images. They’re everywhere — on our phones, on television, on the side of the road. Pictures of celebrities. Pictures of athletes. Pictures of just about everything.
But what about faith? Where do we find pictures of faith?
Finding faith is no easy task. Neither is becoming a person of faith. But with God’s help it’s possible. With this in mind, we look to Scripture, and we commit ourselves to gathering with other Christ followers. Even now we wait expectantly for a word from God, with the hope that we might become a picture of faith for others to see.
Please come back, God of heavenly forces! Look down from heaven and perceive it! Attend to this vine, this root that you planted with your strong hand, this son whom you secured as your very own. It is burned with fire. It is chopped down. They die at the rebuke coming from you. Let your hand be with the one on your right side— with the one whom you secured as your own— then we will not turn away from you! Revive us so that we can call on your name. Restore us, Lord God of heavenly forces! Make your face shine so that we can be saved!
There’s life, and then there’s eternal life. One is just getting by, and the other hints at something deeper and fuller, a quality of life that is greater than the ordinary humdrum way of living.
The Good News is that God wants us to experience eternal life, and in and through Christ, God has offered it to us. This gift is grace, and it always gives birth to faith, the act of accepting one’s acceptance. Though we often try, we cannot earn or purchase our acceptance. The fullness of life can only be received, and when it is, the result is overflowing joy and gratitude.
The Psalmist knew, however, that it’s not possible to live in perpetual bliss. God’s love and acceptance feel distant at times. We get lost. Things get dark. And in those moments, all we can do is ask God to “revive us,” to “restore us,” and to “make (God’s) face shine so that we can be saved!”
Putting our faith in God isn’t always easy, but it’s worth it. By faith we receive eternal life. Through faith we’re revived, restored, and saved.
God, I want to live my life to the fullest. So please show up. Revive me. Restore me. And make your face to shine upon me. Amen.
In Scripture we meet hundreds of faithful people whose stories continue to inspire, enliven, and challenge us today. Each of their stories is a unique picture of faith, as well as a constant reminder that faith is always a call to action.
“Faith is better understood as a verb than as a noun, as a process than as a possession. It is an on-again-off-again rather than once-and-for-all. Faith is not being sure where you’re going but going anyway. A journey without maps.”
Frederick Buechner, Wishful Thinking