Making God smile

I seem to be stuck in Hebrews at the moment! I find myself preaching from the book of Hebrews, leading bible studies based on the faith the letter inspires, and even ministering as a Chaplain to those affected by the Hebrew dietary rules. Even this year’s Prisons Week material is to have a Hebrews scripture as its inspiration. There are so many great messages therein, and until God lets me move on, I guess I’ll stay stuck in the lessons to the Hebrew people.

Hebrews 11 is a great example of the essence of our faith. It is filled with the stories of faithful women and men who follow God’s leading, many times not living to see their works bear fruit. The perseverance we see in them is astounding, and hugely challenging. These are people who experienced the pleasure of God; who knew the comfort of the smiling face of God. These are the people who knew how to please God, for “without faith it is impossible to please God.” . How would we we have responded, faced with the situations they faced. Would we have been more “I’m a Chaplain, Get Me Out of Here” than “What Would Jesus Do”?  

But God has called us to have faith just as those in Hebrews 11

Their faith wasn’t limited to one particular instance or event, but it was woven through everything they did. Everything we do in life and ministry needs to be inspired by our faith in the Faithful One, whether that be breaking bad news to prisoners, leading Sunday services, writing policies to oversee volunteer engagement, attending Equalities or Safer Custody meetings, or (as Chaplains we still get to do this) prayer. James noted in his letter said that if we don’t pray with the faith that God will answer our prayers we are unstable in all our ways. “But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. Those who doubt should not think they will receive anything from the Lord, they are double minded and unstable in all  they do". (James 1: 6 – 8). As I said earlier – challenging.

Our Christian disciplines can easily become routine and no longer be part of our faith in God as they once were.  It is tempting to let our reading of scripture, our praying, our going into prison be just another thing to check off our list of Christian things to do. Instead, we should do them with faith, knowing that a loving and powerful God will move in and through us as we by faith follow his leading. Knowing that our faith brings a smile to the face of God.

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Hebrews 11: 6.