The real issue of life, the bottom line for the Christ-follower, is the answer to this question. Do I trust God or not? This is the question of faith. By faith in Christ we have salvation, and by faith, we begin to live our new lives. My job as a worship leader is to put the spotlight on God – who he is and what he has done. The ultimate challenge for me then is not whether or not I can sing songs of praise to God and about God, not whether I devote my time to reading the Scriptures, attending church, and doing good things, but rather if I choose to trust him completely, and live my life grounded in that trust. Trust is the internalization of the truths I find in Scripture and declare in worship. Take this simple truth found in Psalm 33. “[H]e is faithful in all he does.” Later on it declares, “But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.” I can sing about this, read a book or listen to a sermon about it, but ultimately, when something very painful or disappointing happens to me, do I cling to this truth and respond in faith? Do I believe like the man asking Jesus for a miracle for his son, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24) Do I trust in God’s faithfulness when I’m feeling something else, or to put it in the words of a friend, “When it’s not working for me?” Well, this is what I have found out regarding faith as I walk through the unknown future with my daughter, Maria, whom my wife and I hope to adopt. Right now I face a terrible loss – it’s a date on the calendar for next week, the day I am to give her away to her great-aunt … The knowledge of this possibility came to us in November. Julie and I decided to make this a matter of prayer and have devoted Wednesday afternoons to fasting and praying for this situation. This decision to devote ourselves to prayer has changed everything – it gives us the right perspective and it takes us to the humble position of our knees, together, as we confess our utter dependence upon our heavenly father. This unites our hearts with one another and opens our eyes to the bigger picture of God’s sovereignty – this is bigger than us and really isn’t ultimately about us. Prayer makes us hopeful, not in getting our way, but with the felt presence of God working in and through us as we place our trust in Him. Perhaps the greatest benefit is that it turns our attention away from our situation and ourselves. As ‘the peace of God, which transcends all understanding” begins to guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus, we find our attention turning to Billy, our family, friends, people who are in even more trying circumstances than we are. As we pray for them, our problem suddenly seems smaller and we get up off of our knees with hope, waiting for God’s will to unfold, and committed more than ever to be in the center of that will even if it hurts. This is the true manifestation of faith. “We wait in hope for the Lord. He is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in you.” (Psalm 33:20-22)
When God called me to pursue adoption, I sensed him saying that this was going to change my heart forever. Perhaps this is a huge part of what he wanted to teach me, a lesson on faith that has indeed forever changed me by drawing me into a deeper trust relationship with my heavenly father and his Son, Jesus Christ, my Savior. For this I am eternally grateful!