Never Lose Faith
Once, a hiker had lost their way on the mountainous terrain.
For days they wandered, hoping to find the trail that would lead back home.
Exhausted, running dangerously low on food and water,
the hiker had gone to the worst-case scenario about their fate.
Finally, the hiker came upon a well.
Where there was a well, certainty there would be water.
Water would give the hiker the hydration needed to go on.
The hiker approached the well and discovered a can tied to the pump handle.
There was also a note attached to the can that said,
As of June 1932, this pump is in good working order.
I put a new sucker washer into it, which should last five years.
But if the washer dries out, the pump must be primed.
Under the white rock, I buried a bottle of water out of the sun.
There's enough water to prime the pump,
but not if you drink some first.
Pour about one-fourth
and let her soak to wet the leather.
Then pour the rest in medium fast and pump like crazy.
You'll get water.
The well has never run dry.
When you get watered up,
fill the bottle
and put it back as you found it for the next person
—signed: Desert Pete.
P.S. Don't go drinking up the water first.
Prime the pump with it, and you'll have all you need.
Now imagine if you were that hiker.
What do you do?
Would you follow the instructions?
Would you panic?
Would you drink the water for fear that none would be left if you used it to prime the pump?
If only there were a way to know that if you used the water to prime the pump,
you would probably not hesitate.
How often do we find ourselves feeling like we are walking in the desert,
unsure of where we are going,
Fearing we do not have the reserves or resources to go on.
When we cannot see how things are going to turn out…
Do we panic? Or do we pray?
Do we freak out? Or do we trust?
Do we act quickly, taking matters into our own hands?
Or do we wait patiently for signs from God about how to proceed?
In the book of Hebrews, chapter eleven, verse one, we are reminded,
“Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
Hebrews 11 contains a comprehensive litany of our Biblical ancestors who trusted, believed, and lived by faith. Their stories are a reminder that this is our legacy. It is our call as well.
Faith is not the “what” of our religion.
It is not a fixed set of “do” or “do not to do” rules.
That is dogma.
Faith is also not a set of beliefs.
That is doctrine.
Instead, faith is the “how.”
How are we called to live as believers in the Risen Christ? By faith.
A faith that is not to be argued about or debated.
A faith that is not meant to be bragged about or put on display.
Our faith is meant to be lived.
Faith is not about getting it right or being perfect.
Faith is getting back up even when you have fallen or failed.
Faith trusts that no matter what,
God will love you, forgive you,
and have patience with you even when others might not.
So, whatever you are facing right now, face it with faith.
By faith, trust the promises of God.
By faith, follow in the footsteps of Christ.
By faith, seek the discernment of the Holy Spirit of how to take the next best step.
All times and in all ways, live by faith, remembering, “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
Yours in faith,
Rev. Shana Johnson, ISC Conference Minister