I recently finished reading Kisses from Katie, a New York Times Best Seller. Katie Davis Majors became Glamour Magazine’s 2012 woman of the year after she moved to Uganda to help the poor. Her passion for Jesus confused family and friends, who expected her to follow the normal path to adulthood — go to college, get a job, get married, and then start a family. Instead, she moved to Uganda after high school, not even speaking the language and adopted 13 daughters. She founded a ministry called Amazima that currently feeds, educates and provides medical care for over 700 children.
Katie writes, “People tell me I am brave. People tell me I am strong. People tell me good job. Well here is the truth of it. I am really not that brave, I am not really that strong, and I am not doing anything spectacular. I am just doing what God called me to do as a follower of Him. Feed His sheep, do unto the least of His people.”
I appreciate Katie’s humility, but honestly I am tempted to think, “Yeah, right! I could never have that kind of faith.” It’s easy for me to believe that certain people are made of extra special stuff because then I can let myself off the hook.
How about you? Do you assume you simply can’t trust God enough to take a big risk or endure a long hardship? If so, let me comfort you and then challenge you.
First, take heart! You’re not that different from Katie Davis Majors. What mattered was the object of their faith, not the purity of their faith. If you place your faith in a strong object, then you will have a strong faith. People with strong faith don’t rely on their faith. They rely on their Savior.
Second, stop making excuses. Jesus said, “Faith the size of a mustard seed can move mountains.” Don’t place faith in your faith. Instead place your faith in Jesus and if you don’t have the faith you need, ask him for it. He will give it to you.
When my dad was dying of stage 4 pancreatic cancer earlier this year, I read a book call Joy in the Journey by Steve and Sharon Hayner. Steve battled the same cancer as my dad. The day before he died, his wife, Sharon shared an excerpt from theologian Henri Nouwen.
“The flying Rodleighs are trapeze artists who perform in the German circus Simoneit-Barum. When the circus came to Freiburg two years ago, my friends Franz and Reny invited me and my father to see the show. I will never forget how enraptured I became when I first saw the Rodleighs move through the air, flying and catching as elegant dancers. The next day, I returned to the circus to see them again and introduced myself to them as one of their great fans. They invited me to attend their practice session, gave me free tickets, and asked me to dinner, and suggested I travel with them for a week in the near future. I did, and we became good friends.
One day, I was sitting with Rodleigh, the leader of the group, in his caravan, talking about flying. He said, “As a flyer, I must have complete trust in my catcher. The public might think that I am the great star of the trapeze, but the real star is Joe, my catcher. He has to be there for me with split-second precision and grab me out of the air as I come to him in the long jump.” “How does it work?” I asked. “The secret,” Rodleigh said, “is that the flyer does nothing and the catcher does everything. When I fly to Joe, I have simply to stretch out my arms and hands and wait for him to catch me and pull me safely over the apron behind the catch bar.
“You did nothing!” I said, surprised. “Nothing,” Rodleigh repeated. “The worst thing a flyer can do is to try and catch the catcher. I am not supposed to catch Joe. It’s Joe’s task to catch me. If I grabbed Joe’s wrists, I might break them, or he might break mine, and that would be the end for both of us. A flyer must fly, and a catcher must catch, and the flyer must trust, with outstretched arms, that his catcher will be there for him.” (Hayner. Joy in the Journey. 128-129.)
I have always been amazed by the resilient hope of people like Katie Davis Majors. It’s quite beautiful to watch them fly with hope even under very challenging circumstances. I always assumed it was because such people were made of extra special stuff — an innate personality that lent itself toward optimism. But, I’ve discovered, again and again, that wasn’t the case. More often than not, such hope builders did nothing — nothing except stretch their arms and hands to God and wait for him to catch them.
Remember that the next time your tempted to think, “I could never have such faith!” because even faith the size of a mustard seed can move mountains.