challenge

As I wrote about in goal, I committed myself to read the entire Bible this Summer. Technically it’s not Fall yet, so I’ve told myself it’s OK it will take me this week to finish. I’ve read it all before, so it’s safe to say that I don’t think there is a place in the Bible where God challenges us.

Surely, God says challenging things to us. And Jesus was clear that the life of a disciple is full of challenges. But God never sets forth a challenge or test to be God’s people.

When the boys were young we used to watch shows like “American Ninja.” Can you imagine if Jesus challenged us to this in order to qualify as a disciple? (It’s amazing, you should watch this video.)

Sometimes, though, it’s hard to accept that grace is given to us without merit. Yes, we are called to believe, but that isn’t out of our reach. I couldn’t do the first challenge at “American Ninja.” I’m thankful God hasn’t asked it of me.

This doesn’t mean faith isn’t difficult. Having faith the size of mustard seed is hard enough, and often our realities are in conflict with God’s promises. There are times I wished God would challenge me so that I could have some sort of assurance that they are indeed true. If I achieved something, then they would be my reward.

 

All of this makes me think of the story of Namaan in 2 Kings 5. Naaman is a mighty warrior from Aram (Israel’s enemy) who is suffering from leprosy. An Israelite girl (he probably stole in a raid) tells him about the prophet Elisha. So Naaman goes to him. But when he gets there, Elisha doesn’t even come out of his house. Instead, he sends a messenger out to deliver a message: “Go wash in the Jordan seven times and you will be healed.”

Naaman leaves in a rage. He has an incurable disease that threatens to take everything he values away and possibly kill him. He is angry that some farm boy in the back hills of Samaria doesn’t make a big show. Naaman is so angry he’s going to leave without even doing what Elisha says. But then a servant says to Naaman,

“Our father, if the prophet had told you to do something difficult, wouldn’t you have done it? All he said to you was, ‘Wash and become clean.’” – 2 Kings 5:13 (CEB)

The servant says the truth. Naaman, the mighty Aramean warrior, would have gone on any quest to be cured. No feat would have been too great or too dangerous. But to wash in a dirty Israeli river, could only be nonsense.

I believe the challenge God places before is the willingness to be vulnerable. It might seem like nonsense, but a humble faith is really what we have to offer. From this simple place, God will lead us through the challenges that come with discipleship. God walks walk with us in the midst of everything God calls us to, our strength when we are weak.

We come with a meager offering of faith. The wonder that awaits us is what the power of God is able to do with it.

We come with a meager offering of #faith. The wonder that awaits us is what the power of God is able to do with it. #challenge #whenIamweakGodisstrong Click To Tweet

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I’m back with Five Minute Friday this week. Read more about it here.

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8 Thoughts to “challenge”

  1. Such a great story. We make things complicated. Sometimes God asks us to do things that really challenge us to trust that God who has called us to it will see us through it. Other times, God leads us to a simple solution. In both cases, we need to walk by faith.

    1. It’s easy to forget how difficult simple trust can be. Thanks for visiting!

  2. I never thought that faith would fail,
    but in my secret heart I wondered
    if my belief could yet prevail
    should I be broken and be sundered.
    Could I face the wasting years,
    the pale and weakening shroud?
    Could I face death without slow tears?
    Could I make my Saviour proud?
    As thing have turned, it’s all OK;
    in God’s grace my heart’s intact,
    and I’m content unto this state of play
    both in spirit and unexpected fact.
    But I was wrong, thinking to impress;
    He would not love even my failing less.

  3. I agree, sometimes the willingness to be vulnerable, and to let go of our own efforts, can be the biggest challenge of all, but when we manage to do it, it is amazing to know God’s strength in our weakness.

    1. It’s amazing how hard I can fight having to be vulnerable.

  4. Jan

    I am behind a month in my challenge, but back at it this week. Thank you for this beautiful statement.

    1. I was wondering how it was going. Keep on!

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