I imagine that when Moses split the Red Sea, there were two groups of people.
The first group was composed of victorious triumphant warriors saying, “In your face, Egyptians! This is our God!” They were pumping their fists and thrusting their spears. The second group was composed of doubtful, panicking screamers running full speed through whales and plankton.
I’m a Screamer. I’m a cynic. I’m a critic. I’m a Peter, who can make a good start off the boat, but falls in the water when my eyes wander.
I’m not endorsing a halfway lukewarm faith. I believe God wants us to have a robust, vibrant, thriving relationship with Him. But as for me, I’ll be limping to the finish-line. I’m more of a Thomas than a Paul. I’m more Martha than Mary. I’m more David than Daniel.
Yet the Warriors and Screamers all made it through.
It’s not easy to have faith the size of a mustard seed. But Jesus promised that this would be enough to move mountains, and I’m learning to be okay with that.
— J.S. from Mad About God
14 thoughts on “The Two Kinds of Faith: Warriors and Worriers”
And it’s an encouragement to know that God meets all of us wherever we stand.
Yes. It took me quite a long time to find this out. But He does.
Imagination has an important role in sorting ourselves out, but I’m not sure it is a good tool for grasping the Bible. The parting of the Reed Sea was about Moses, not the people. Despite Hollywood the walls of water were not likely mountains. Reed Sea means marsh, not the hugely deep water in places between Egypt and Sinai. Now, I think people are in different places in their faith life, and you list several from the Bible. Strangely, the Bible does not record that the Hebrews had a problem crossing either the Reed Sea or the Jordan River. They complained more about the canteen diet. I recall the definition of a hero, not someone who has no fear, but someone who does their duty in spite of their fear.
Sorry, JS, it sounds like I am picking on you, and I didn’t intend that. I am just trained in Biblical scholarship and teach what it says, not what we imagine about it.
I affirm that whatever condition our faith might be in, God works in us, through us, for us,..
No worries, Dan. I agree that Exodus 12-14 is about the redemptive plan of God through the mediator Moses. I did go to seminary, but it probably made me more dull if anything. 🙂
All the other implications about the people are worked out by the entirety of the text in Exodus (they alternated from complaining to triumph, just as much as Moses did, but all made it through), while the imagery is indeed something I’ve imagined, which is certainly speculation. I think so often we read the Bible as dry wooden literature without the grainy dirty patina of reality. I was also inspired by Tim Keller’s take on Exodus, which you’re totally free to agree or disagree with in part or in whole. http://vimeo.com/22669720
Sorry, I do think I sounded “critical”. The Bible is far from petrified wood. The story as is has a power and wonder and deepness that has been lost in a fundamentalist teaching of shallow extremes. I didn’t want to imply you didn’t study or think. My suggestion was merely that we can sometimes read into it from our own culture, time and experience, and sometimes the power of the story is that it informs our culture. They all got out of Egypt, but none of them made into Canaan (except Joshua and Caleb). I guess I am just pulling for a story of obedience/disobedience rather than a psychological/sociological look at the ancient Hebrews. As messed up they were Aaron, Miriam and Moses still led they people out. Somehow grace seems to fit this…
Again, I meant no put down of your article, just on my own soapbox about Scripture being alive and powerful and sharper than any sword with two edges.
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“It’s not easy to have faith the size of a mustard seed. But Jesus promised that this would be enough to move mountains…” Why do we wander? I find it so hard to speak up about Jesus publicly. Most of my friends know I’m Christian but don’t know much about my relationship with Him. If you want to fellowship or learn more, don’t be scared to ask. It’ll take me some time but I promise I’ll be happy to share with you. With that said, on an unrelated side note my laptop is alive and well! #PTL :’)
Thank you for sharing!
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First, let me start by saying I am always so inspired by your blog. God has given you a voice and a platform to share His love and grace and I know that I am blessed by it. So, Thanks for being obedient. 🙂
I love this story in the bible and have drawn tremendous encouragement about how God works in difficult situations. Because I had internalized the Hollywood version of events where Moses stuck out his hand and the waters immediately part. But Exodus 14:21 says that the Lord struck up an East wind that blew ALL NIGHT before the Hebrew people could cross on dry land. HOURS of waiting and wondering in the dark what would happen. I imagine there were more than a few people who spent that night worrying (even after all the miracles) and wishing God would do a bit more than just make it windy…only to wake up and find his deliverance. I wrote more about it here. I had read this story dozens of times and completely missed that important detail but God revealed to me in my own “dark night” that he is faithful and his deliverance will come. Amazing.
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