Falling Short on Faith


My nine-year-old son Alex asked for a cinnamon roll for breakfast.  I gave him a thumbs up and told him I’d replenished our supply of microwaveable cinnamon rolls.  “I know,” he said.  “Did you look in the freezer?” I asked. “How did you know I’d bought more?” Alex shook his head, “No, but I knew you went to the store.” He’d seen the bags from the grocery store the day before and assumed I’d gotten what he wanted.  

His confidence surprised me considering I often forget to put things on my list and thus they don’t end up in my grocery cart. Not to mention some grocery items have been in short supply lately (where are the Lunchables?). In fact, I thought the store ran out of cinnamon rolls until I searched high and low and found them in a different location on another freezer aisle.

While perhaps misplaced when it came to the groceries, Alex’s faith that I would take care of his needs touched my heart. But it also made me realize that I often falter in my faith in God. I rarely demonstrate the same kind of childlike faith that Alex showed me. I don’t always maintain the simple belief that God will take care of me. I lack the earnest conviction that God always has my best interests at heart. I have doubts and fears and worries. I’ve seen enough bad things happen that I don’t always trust God with my whole heart and certainly not my whole mind. 

Recently, I’ve also realized that my doubts have enlarged to encompass my children as they grow older and move through the world in new and different ways. As I must loosen my grip on my children’s lives, I find myself asking, “Can I trust you with my kids, God?” It seems ridiculous to write that sentence because God is God, and I am not.  I know God loves my kids with a greater love than I can even imagine. But that hasn’t stopped the fears from creeping in and spilling over. I see situations in my children’s lives that I would’ve worked out differently if I were in charge and had control. And while I’m certain God will work things out in time and in a way that will ultimately benefit my kids, I worry about the pain and damage to them in the here and now. 

I know this lack of faith hurts my relationship with God. To say I don’t trust God with the most important parts of my life is not a loving response to God’s grace and mercy. But I’d rather acknowledge my shortcomings to God instead of attempting to ignore my insecurities as they simmer beneath the surface, growing hotter and more troubling, just waiting to boil to the top and cause even more damage to my relationship with God. 

All the while, God’s faithfulness, not mine, is what really matters. Apostle Paul wrote, “This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:23-24). Jesus knew we would struggle with faith, and so he made a way for us. God expects we will experience times in our spiritual journey when our faith wavers. But God’s love does not fail. God provides grace, love, and redemption always because Jesus was faithful and redeemed us. We just need to hang on in the times of doubt.  

I wish my faith in God was stronger. I pray that by admitting my failings, my faith will grow and deepen and become larger than my fears. But I know that my God is ever present and able to handle my doubts. God will stand faithful to me, to all of us, pulling us back up on our feet and into his arms when we fall short in our faith, over and over, as long as it takes.  

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