Faith Elaine that is.
Forty-three years ago today. Easter morning. Father standing behind a pulpit preaching about life issuing forth from the tomb. Mother lying in a delivery room earning bragging rights about life issuing forth from her womb. Both having something to say in the matter. Both cradling the blossoms of Spring—a Savior and a longed-for baby.
By faith, both blossoms were received into the lives of two parents who longed for their arrival. One into their hearts; the other into their arms. It was a good day for Chuck and Jane for so many reasons. It was a good beginning for Faith Elaine for so many more.
In both the literal and in the spiritual sense, the cross of Jesus Christ has shadowed my steps for the past forty-three years. Regardless of my wanderings to the contrary, the empty tomb has been my haunting—my known truth and my accepted understanding all the days of my life. There has never been a time when I believed otherwise. Jesus has always been real to me.
My journey with God is a “by faith” kind of thing. A deeply rooted belief in something grander, someone Greater who keeps the ebb and flow of my days in check. Who simply says and IS, and therefore, is worthy of my believing.
There have been moments of clarity along the way. The well-worn paths to the altar of my surrender are stained with tears of deeply rooted repentance and understanding. Times when I have strengthened my faith with a more intentional and willing trust in a God who longs to consecrate my life toward holiness. But from the very beginning, my life has been filled a knowing perception of God.
I’m thankful for that. It’s been a gift that has spared me untold heartaches … of that I am sure. And while I’ve had some questions along the way, never have the answers (some obvious, some still awaiting their voice) swayed me in my belief of an unseen, yet profoundly “felt” God.
God and me … well, we just go together.
And lest you think it is pride thing—that somehow I think I hold the market on what it means to walk a life in complete faith and holiness—then you don’t really know me at all. For if you did, you would understand that it is only by God’s grace, only by this “going together” seemingly from my beginnings, that I’ve made it to my 43rd birthday with any “absolutes” in my bag. If God hadn’t presented Himself to me early on in my life, I’m confident that I wouldn’t be presenting Him to you as the Savior and Keeper of my soul. Why?
Because I love this world too much. I am easily enticed by its trappings. It invites me, tangles me, and has the propensity to hold me to the contrary of everything sacred. I know that we are all prone to our struggles along these lines, but, perhaps, there are those of us who struggle with it more profoundly. I am one such struggler. Accordingly, I’ve needed the grounding of my Easter morning birth.
To walk my life in the shadows of a splintered cross and an empty tomb has been to walk in Truth. It is the way of sacred pilgrimage. It has been my way, much as it has been the way of the ancients of old. The “by faith’s” of Hebrews 11—the Hall of Faith as it pertains to biblical history.
We don’t see ourselves there. Instead, we focus our attention on the names and the corresponding “stories” that are attached to those names: Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses’ parents, Moses, the Israelites, Joshua, Rahab, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, the prophets, the martyrs. Indeed, a list of worthy journeys … all marked by faith.
But if we stay mired in their stories, if for some reason we think that their journeys hold the market on faith and that ours could never follow suit, then we’ve missed an important part of Hebrews 11. Before any mention of the well-knowns from our spiritual history, we are there … listed as part of the faithful entourage.
“By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.” (Hebrews 11:3).
Did you catch it?
“By faith WE… .”
You and me, listed amongst the heroes of our ancestral faith. Why? Because we believe that our world was created by an unseen God, and that his saying so—his speaking it all into being—is more than enough to solidify our limited understanding into a rock solid faith that is worthy of a mention alongside the ancients of yesterday.
I’ve spent most of my forty-three years living by my middle name… Elaine. I’m good with that, at least in the temporal. But in the spiritual … in the way that my Father sees me on a daily basis? Well, I want to be known by my first name. I want my life to be rooted in a by Faith kind of understanding.
By faith …
Elaine lived, Elaine died, and Elaine rose again to see the fruition of her first name made sight and the fullness of her hope made certain.
It won’t be long in coming, friends. Maybe in this new year of life that I’ve been given. If not, then in a season to come. It matters not to me the day nor the hour. What matters to me is my confidence in its arrival. And by faith, I am believing God to be the sure and final outcome of my intentional and current trust.
I began my earthly life within the confines of a resurrection remembrance—an Easter Sunday morning forty-three years ago this day. I will begin my heavenly life with the same. With a resurrection of a new body in a new place where everyday lives like Easter.
By Faith, Elaine is going to get there. By faith, I pray you’ll get there too.
I love you precious friends. Thank you for sharing this pilgrimage with me. Take some time this weekend to find your name written within God’s Hall of Faith. If you know Jesus as your Savior, then you are there, verse three (write it down). By faith,believe it and receive with all the certainty of an Easter morning’s resurrection. I love you each one. As always,
PS: Many thanks to my Tuesday night Bible study girls for remembering me! You women have been so faithful to study and to live your God. Keep to it! (note the inscription on the cake…aren’t they awesome?!)