- I woke up in the middle of the night a few weeks ago, and I had no faith. I woke up in the middle of the night, and it was just gone. I think it had something to do with not being able to picture an afterlife, but to be honest I'm not sure where it came from. It lasted for about an hour...one terrifying hour where I watched the minutes click by on the clock and didn't believe. I eventually drifted off to sleep, and when I woke up, I believed again.
Mondays are my day off, so I was home today. I was sitting in the living room and Oprah came on T.V. Honestly, it only stayed on because I couldn't find the remote. Then she told the story. Lysa was a typical, married, churchgoing mother of two in Charlotte, NC. One night she decided to take her children to a performance by a visiting boys' choir from Liberia. At the concert, she found out that all of the members of the choir were orphans. She further found out that their orphanage had been attacked by rebels and abandoned. The boys were now homeless. To make a long story short, during the concert Lysa says she felt God tell her that two of those boys were hers. On the way home, she called her husband and began to talk him into it. She shared the idea with her friends...who all tried to talk her out of it. She convinced them to attend another performance of the choir. Lysa and her friends all adopted boys from the choir...and some also adopted their sisters and friends from Liberia. Most of the husbands were converted to the idea in prayer groups. Actually, 14 families from this community have adopted 31 children from the same Liberia orphanage. They interviewed the former orphans who talked about how they used to pray to God for families. They interviewed families who felt called by God to do something that made no sense at all from the standpoint of their own security and comfort...families who followed that call and partnered with God in changing the world. And I believed. I sat on my couch, watching the stinking Oprah Winfrey show with tears in my eyes...and I believed. At that moment, any and all challenges to my faith were distant and laughable. No serious challenge to my faith has ever been the result of startling new information (though I routinely come across startling new information) or deep difficult questions (though I am daily asked them and daily pose them myself). My faith is challenged when the people of God ignore their calling in the world and faith becomes simply an intellectual exercise. When faith becomes simply an intellectual exercise, it falls apart...not because it can't, but because it was never meant to. My faith grows by experience...both by my experience and by others sharing the stories of their experience. Karl Marx called Christianity (and religion in general) the opiate of the masses. May we never prove him right. May we never turn this thing of beauty and power into simply propositions we agree with and a moral code we follow in order to obtain paradise after this life. May we embrace the Way of Jesus. May we experience the power of God. May we become the catalyst for the Kingdom of God that we were always intended to be. May we not be content with trying to get off out of this world and into heaven. Rather, may we embrace the experience of partnering with God in bringing a little bit of Heaven to this world. May we live our lives in such a Way that our afterlives are the natural extension of the faith we lived.