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Thursday, August 2, 2012

On Charms, St. Joseph, and the Power of Believing


In the past week, thanks to two unusual occurrences, I've had a fresh revelation about believing...

It started when my aunt sent me a "St. Joseph" statue. She knows we're trying to sell our old house in a pathetic housing market. A friend of hers buried a statue of St. Joseph (the husband of Mary, mother of Jesus... the dude from the nativity set) upside down in her yard and her house sold with miraculous speed, so she bought one for us. Not being of a Catholic background, I was completely unfamiliar with the concept, so I pulled out the instructions that came with the little plastic figurine. The directions for appealing to St. Joseph are quite detailed... distance and location in relation to your home, depth of burial, etc. As I read through them, a line popped out at me...
"But the most important part is to have faith all the time, in Yourself, in Your Sale and in Saint Joseph."
Hmm. So the whole thing comes down to a simple matter of faith... where you purposefully place your power of belief?

The second situation occurred at a festival (known locally as "hippie fair"). One of the vendors was selling handmade jewelry. I was drawn to the sign that said her wares could help with the health and well-being of family pets because my silly dog is terrified of thunder. As we spoke, she pointed out a rose quartz or aquamarine amulet to attach to my pup's collar and said she had lots of testimonials to back her product. Being the cheapskate (and skeptic) I am, I thanked her for her information and turned to leave. As I walked away, she said, "The important thing is that you put your intention into the effect the stones will have on your dog."

Hmm. Again. Right back to the "what do you believe?" question. If you believe burying a plastic statue in your yard will help sell your house, it apparently works. If you believe buying a $25 piece of jewelry for your dog will help it overcome a phobia, it apparently works.

So all week I've been mulling over this concept, and examining my own believing. What DO I believe? Oh, the "big" things are in order... I believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that He died for my sins and was raised from the dead on the third day that I may have eternal life through Him. I could go on, but it would read a lot like any Christian "statement of faith." But what do I believe about the "little" things... selling my house, for example, or my health, or my dog's issues (or MY issues, for that matter)? What about my writing? My calling as a member of the Body of Christ? How about my marriage? My children? My grandbabies? What do I believe about the day ahead when I set my feet on the floor in the morning? That's a lot of questions. I haven't even answered them all myself.

Anyway, as I pulled out of the driveway this morning with St. Joseph ensconced in his little box in my purse, I found myself in a quandary. "Lord? What do I do with this?" I don't have any faith in praying to saints, alive or dead. (Not saying that's wrong, just something I don't have anything to base my faith on for it.)

The answer came as clear as a bell... and I wasn't just hearing the clang of the chain on the gate.

"Simply believe."

It's what Jesus told Jairus when the synagogue ruler came to Him asking for help with his ailing daughter. In the midst of his request, someone tugged on Jairus' sleeve and told him his daughter was dead and he should quit pestering Jesus. Jesus' answer was, I believe, applicable to all of us today as we maneuver through lives fraught with opportunities to doubt and fear and give up, opportunities to quit believing, to turn away from the place we've put our faith and hope for help.
"But Jesus, on hearing this, answered him, Do not be seized with alarm or struck with fear; simply believe [in Me as able to do this], and she shall be made well."
Luke 8:50 AMP (emphasis added)
The tormentor showed up (in my head, you understand... it wasn't the mailman or anything) before I could get back in my car. "You don't believe in that, you know you don't!" Ever felt like that when you were about to take a step of faith, with or without a "point of contact" like the little statue, or laying on of hands, or giving in an offering, or whatever? We all have, I'm guessing. And somewhere along the way, I think many of us, like myself, have been tricked into thinking that "believing" or "having faith" is some kind of supernatural gifting, or magical feeling, or must come with some kind of touchy-feely emotional experience.

As I got back into my car, I sensed the Spirit on the inside speaking up... "Believing is a choice."

Well, that's true. You choose to believe, every time you sit in a chair, that the chair will support your weight, even though the chair itself, on a molecular level, is mostly made up of empty space. You choose to believe, every time you get in an airplane, that the physical law of lift will supersede the physical law of gravity.

Believing is a choice, like working is a choice. (If you don't believe work is a choice you've never lived with teenage boys.) What you believe is up to you ... good or bad. Jesus gave us pretty clear instruction on what's GOOD to believe, what will produce heavenly results.
Then they said to Him, "What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?"
Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent."

John 6:28-29 NKJV
As to those "points of contact" for our faith... for you it might be a prayer journal, or confessing scripture, or taking a request to your prayer group, or burying a statue in your yard, or expecting the "energy" in a crystal (a God-designed, God-created stone, mind you) to help your pet, or whatever ... those points of contact have a purpose. Having a point of contact is a way to "shore up" what you've chosen to believe, so that you can stand behind it when your faith is challenged. They aren't bad... God has been setting up points of contact for our believing since the beginning of time... Abraham's circumcision, Moses and his staff, the aprons and handkerchiefs brought to Paul.

The question for us all to ask is What do I believe?"
The next question might be, "And how is that working out for you?"
But that's a post for another day...




10 comments:

  1. Very well done, Niki. I love how you showed the sequence of events leading up to your conclusion.

    As for what I believe... I believe that anything I leave at the foot of the Cross will be taken care of, and in a way so much better than I ever could have imagined. And it's all because He knows me so much better than I know myself.

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  2. It seems just when I think I've mastered the lesson of "trust" or "belief" along comes another test. I'd like to think that I am learning and each test is on another level but...I guess only God knows the answer to that one! :)

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  3. @Anita, one of my all time favorite scriptures is the one in Colossians about Him nailing the handwriting that was against us to the cross. SO comforting!

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  4. Elaine, I completely concur. It's good that God has us on a mastery program... we keep taking the test until we pass!

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  5. So true, Niki! Believing is a choice. It reminds me of the March Hare's famous quote from Alice in Wonderland about believing as many as six impossible things before breakfast.

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  6. Perfect, Lisa! I should have added that! In fact, I think I might have to watch the most recent version again...

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  7. Oh, i was afraid of that . I came to see comments and realized that I'd been interrupted (it doesn't take much to derail me) and never did make a comment after reading this first thing in the morning.

    I wish I had this on audio Niki. Maybe you need to start making this a Vlog ...

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  8. Hee hee... Deb, can you imagine if we turned this into a vlog?

    Niki, I used to work with a lady who buried a St Joseph statue when she wanted to sell her house. Prior to that, I'd never heard about it.

    I love this post, Niki. And whether we bury statues upside down, or pray to saints or pray to Jesus, I'm so glad He meets us where we are and loves us all the same. Great post.

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  9. Deb, too funny... you and my hubby have that in common.
    As for a vlog... HORRORS!!! Can I say that any louder??? Only if I can figure out a Wizard of Oz type "vlogger behind the curtain" scheme.

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  10. Amen to that, Suzie! I just finished a nonfiction book that repeats the phrase "this God will dine with anyone" several times... He DOES meet us wherever we are, and for that I, too, am thankful!

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