Faith grows among the weeds

Published 10:07 pm Friday, July 13, 2012

By Chris Surber

Religion never suited Rhonda. Linda always felt lost in church. Sammy suffered through every sermon. But Faith always believed. In fact, Faith has never missed a worship service. She is always to be found where people are worshipping God.

Sammy stayed awake as the preacher preached. He was faithful in church, because his mom told him that he would be and his dad said that he should be. Sammy’s body is a faithful attender at church, but his mind and heart often sleep in on Sunday.

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Sammy has always thought that the preacher just wanted to control him. He rejects religion, because it just seems to him to be a collection of rules to be followed and obligations to be met.

Rhonda didn’t see the value of religion. She is practical girl. She earned a degree in engineering, and her father is a math teacher. If she can’t see the nuts-and-bolts immediate importance of a thing, then that thing isn’t worth anything.

Rhonda is a nice person; she always donates $10 to the fire department when asked to do so. She even helped a little old lady across the street once. She doesn’t need anything that they offer at church.

Linda never fit in anywhere she went. Church was just another uncomfortable place for her. She has always felt awkward in life, and church is just another collection of people that she doesn’t understand how to relate to.

She likes the Bible well enough, because she is a voracious reader. But church? Those religious people just don’t make her feel welcomed and she doesn’t know how to make her way into their cliques.

Faith doesn’t place her trust in the preacher. Faith knows that church isn’t about immediate practicality or just about meeting people’s expectations. She likes most of the people, and the preacher’s sermons have often helped her in her walk with Jesus.

The pastor’s wife is quick to offer her compassion and good counsel. The ladies of the church catered her wedding and showered her with kindness. But no matter how helpful or hopeful the church is, Faith knows that the only one who won’t disappoint her is God.

Faith understands that trust, hope, and love are the greatest virtues of her religion. She knows that trust in God never fails, but religion, with its institutions, traditions, and sometimes misguided adherents, will easily disappoint her.

Faith’s faith isn’t in religion. It’s in God. She is always found in church, because she knows that Jesus came to create a people to worship God — together. Faith is found at church, because that’s where she lives. In fact, the often-weedy garden of religion is where she grows.