When I was in high school, I was active in my church’s youth group. I had friends in all different groups at school, but my core group of friends who shaped me and helped set my moral compass for later in life were my friends from church. We not only worshipped together, but we traveled together, served together, got in trouble together, pushed the boundaries together, and grew up together. I have lost touch with many of these people over the years, but their friendships had a truly profound impact on my life and I think about them often.
We grew up in a small beach town. The kind of town where when hurricanes blew in, you’d see Jim Cantore from the Weather Channel broadcasting in torrential downpours out on the beach, with powerful winds blowing all around him and in the far background, you could see my friends running into the water with their surf boards. Stupidity they had in spades, but their hearts were kind and their intentions were noble… about 80% of the time.
I remember one really good guy friend of mine was a bit, well, lazy. He never had a job. Never made much of an effort in school. Never really attempted to excel at anything. As an adult, looking back, I am sure my parents thought he was a real winner. But as a kid, all I remember was that he had a huge heart for others. He was a good person. A moral person. And one of my best friends.
When we were seniors, everyone was trying to nail down future plans. Colleges, jobs, moves, relationships… everything was up in the air, and if you listened very closely, you could hear the tiniest bit of fear in all our voices.
Except for my friend. Let’s call him Adam.
“Why would I worry?” he told me one afternoon. “God knows what he’s doing. I’ll just sit here and wait until He makes something happen.”
A few nights later, I was driving in the car with my mom and she was hassling me about something. Probably filing my scholarship paperwork, or something equally as important yet uninteresting to my senioritis infected brain. “Mom, quit bothering me about this,” I snapped. “Adam says that God will take care of everything for us, and I think he’s right. I don’t have worry about that stuff because God will take care of it.”
My mom sat there for a minute. As a parent now, I know that she was probably half panicking as she tried to come up with an answer and half proud that my faith was so deeply rooted. And then she said, “I know God takes care of everything for us, but it is our blessing to meet him halfway.”
She went on to talk about how when we love someone, we don’t make them carry all the weight. We pick up the load ourselves and carry it with them, or for them, when they can’t. And she said God does that for us, but part of loving God is not making him carry all the weight, either.
“We are active in our faith not because God can’t, but because we can.”
Throughout adulthood, I have found myself wandering back to this conversation with my mom on many, many occasions. And this week it has been on replay over and over again in my mind. There are things I want. Things I want to accomplish, things I want to experience, things I want to do for others, things I want to do for myself. I find myself praying over those things quite often, but I also find myself sitting back and waiting for God to do his “God stuff.” To part the seas, to burn the bush, to rip the shroud. I wait for those things because I know that God can do them.
But I wonder if, just maybe, God is waiting for me because he knows that, through my faith, I can do them, too.