Friday, July 08, 2011

The silence between two breaths

I've always had a problem with the scripture that promises me that if I have faith as a grain of mustard seed that I can move mountains. The whole point of it being a mustard seed as an example is because those are some of the smallest seeds known to man. I've held them, looked at them and checked them out to see how big my faith needed to be and I always ended up going "HA, no way my faith is that small."

But something interesting happened when a baby came into my  home. Her nickname for the public is "Precious" and she is, currently, an almost 4 month old foster child. She was born under conditions that make her extra prone to things like SIDS, motor and muscle development delays, and a host of diseases. She, thankfully, is a picture of health right now with only a few small quirks that mark her rocky beginning of life. I have high hopes for her future, her health, her mind, her relationship with God. I have faith that God will take care of her, regardless of what decisions judges might make that I agree or disagree with.

I have faith as a grain of mustard seed for it.

And yet, every single morning, before I brush my teeth, eat my cereal, or feed the cat, I go directly from my bed to her doorway and I listen. I listen for the sound of the next breath. I listen with a heart that hates listening for it, and that races just because you are listening for it. I listen, the way perfectly healthy people wait for their TB test to be read. You know there's nothing wrong, you  know the entire act of listening is foolish, but you listen anyway. And on those few  mornings when her nose is less croupy than normal, it takes too long and I go to her bed to see what I can't hear.

For 2 months now, every morning she - by Gods infinite grace and power - breathes on. And as this trend has continued, I began to wonder about that mustard seed. And I began to wonder what happens if there is a boulder of doubt on top of that mustard seed. I know well enough how life can change on a dime. Tomorrow isn't guaranteed. I'm a foster parent, so I know that on any given day the phone could ring and long-lost Aunt So-n-so could be at CPS waiting for her Precious to be moved into her home. Things change.

But as I thought about faith vs my doubts, I thought about Hebrews 11:1.
Faith, is the substance of things hoped for. The evidence of things not seen.
And I wondered if the same could be said of doubt.
Doubt is the substance of things dreaded. The evidence of things not seen.

I googled ideas on doubt and faith, and one of the first things I read was "Faith and doubt cannot co-exist!" And I thought back to the man that said "Lord, I believe! Help thou my unbelief". Immediately I shrugged off google (dear old friend of mine - I do still love you) and went back to thinking and praying about it. The question still plagued me - "Which one is stronger?"

Overall, I know faith is stronger than doubt. But my question wanted to know "which one is stronger in me". And then it hit me, it doesn't matter how big my doubt is, faith - regardless of the size of it's nemesis doubt - will always be the strongest. My mustard seed can move mountains. And in the quietness, listening to Precious as she sleeps right now, I knew that my weak faith, can move my strong doubt. 

And I was more than a little awed as I considered how strong my weak faith is. I liked the idea. To know that I didn't have to be tough, and always strong, but that in my weaknesses I can see the holes where His strength shines through in my life in places where I might not have been able to see it before.

It's not a free-for-all give up trying revelation though. My faith needs to grow, my doubts need to shrink. It's just nice for a control freak like me to know that my little mustard seed isn't overwhelmed by my boulders.

Now if only my faith were strong enough to find all the lost pacifiers...


Glenda said...

it's a mother thing. All mothers go to the infants room to check for the next breathe. I did it with both my kids. Sometimes at night I still sneak into their room and watch them sleep because I just feel better knowing that they are resting peacefully.

Anonymous said...

but when you hear that second breath and only then notice that you've been holding your own waiting for it--that's when you have to laugh at yourself!