Just as politicians are known for sound bites, people of faith are known for their bumper stickers. In both the political and spiritual world, these fast statements are tested and questioned by many. For example, here are some faith-based bumper stickers that say a lot in few words:
- Good things come to those who pray.
- Not perfect, just forgiven.
- If God is all you have, you have all you need.
Though these stickers are simple and clear cut, faith is not. Good things do come to those who pray, but so do bad things. When they do, our faith is tested and questions arise. Indeed we are not perfect, just forgiven. But often we struggle to accept that we are forgiven, or we let our imperfection get in the way of forgiving others.
Faith has many gray areas. The recent attacks in Orlando remind us that we live in a world with violence and hate. Terrorism is real and can happen anywhere and at any time. As a pastor, I have spoken at many funerals–even some for children who have parents of great faith, but still their baby was taken. I counsel couples on the brink of divorce who have committed themselves to be with one another till death. Now they doubt their love for one another.
In times like these, our bumper-sticker theology is questioned, and we realize there are many things in the world that don’t make sense in light of our beliefs. Often we wrestle to remain faithful while we come to grips with the harsh realities of life.
But God remains faithful to us. These are the moments that we too can pray just like the father of the sick child in the Gospel, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief.” In spite of our doubts and fears, we belong to God. And if we don’t give up, our faith grows in new ways and makes a difference in how we get through life events.
Do you have a favorite bumper sticker? If so, please share.
Lord, many things in our lives and world don’t make sense; help us not take our eyes off You.