Bonnie Gray is the soulful author of Whispers of Rest and Finding Spiritual Whitespace. An inspirational speaker and retreat leader, she has touched thousands of lives through storytelling, visual arts, nature, prayer and meditation. Bonnie’s writing is featured on Relevant Magazine, DaySpring (in)courage, and Christianity Today. She lives in California with her husband and their two sons. Visit Bonnie at www.thebonniegray.com and connect with her @thebonniegray on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.
What does it mean to have faith? God values faith in ways we least expect.
I never used to be afraid.
I was all faith.
Or so I thought.
I had enough faith for everyone around me and seconds to go around too.
Everything would always work out fine because I was with Jesus. And Jesus was with me.
I loved people. Prayed, studied my Bible, and recycled regularly.
But, as time passed by and the number of things that went wrong started adding up, I unconsciously started keeping a tally.
I would've never admitted that I was keeping such a list. Not even to myself, much less God.
But, I did.
Deep in my heart, where I did not dare to go, I had a running list of questions about where God was leading me. And why it was taking so long.
Of course, I knew that He is all good, all knowing, and all powerful. So, I didn't allow myself to doubt God's plan for me.
Or so I thought.
I masked my insecurities with God by doubting myself.
What I feared most was being forgotten. I was afraid to live an insignificant life.
During one weekend away spent in whitespace, I decided to share my list of disappointments with God. After writing pages and pages of unanswerable dilemmas, God gently and lovingly brought two pictures to my mind.
* In the beginning, there was nothing.
It was in nothing, the Holy Spirit hovered, where God created something.
* Mary's empty womb. How can this be? she asked.
It was in nothing, the Holy Spirit hovered again, where Jesus became flesh.
The place inside me where faith was near death became alive.
Nothingness. That's me!
I had never been so happy to discover I had become the perfect place for Jesus to rest in.
That song I sang as a gullible teenager long ago suddenly took on a completely different meaning --
Lord prepare me, to be a sanctuary, pure and holy, tried and true and with thanksgiving, I'll be a living, sanctuary, oh for you.
It was as if a bolt of lightning struck my heart and resuscitated my story.
It irrevocably changed my direction. I decided to stop setting my sights on where I was going or what I would end up doing in the future.
I set my sights on who I was walking with -- Jesus.
I surrendered my ideas of what life ought to look like, so I could have the courage to make choices facing me today.
In the everyday. That is where I will find Him.
In the everyday. This is where He would lead me.
I realized the best life -- the most significant life I can live -- is the one I grow in my faith.
In the Old Testament, the patriarchs of faith recognized God's blessings by taking possession of a physical Promised Land. God's presence was symbolized by physical blessings of harvest and goods.
This all changed after Jesus arrived in the New Testament. The author of Hebrews tells God prepared a spiritual blessing -- something better.
"And all these [patriarches of faith listed earlier], having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, because God had provided something better for us...
fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith" Hebrews 11:39-12:2
Our something better isn't a plan. Our something better is a Person.
Our spiritual Promised Land is life with Jesus.
Next Time You Think
If you're feeling overwhelmed by the areas in life that appear dark and formless -- or empty and barren -- remember Jesus is faithful --
to create something beautiful in you.
bring life to others through you.
to carry you to safety.
to make a way you cannot see.
to put you back together again.
to return laughter where you taste sorrow.
to give you courage to start over (again and again).
to use every loss and every triumph for His glory.
Next time you think nothing is happening in your life -- or you find yourself asking "How can this be?" -- remember things aren't as they appear.
Jesus sees you.
And He will never forget why He put you here.
For more encouragement and words of rest for your soul, read Bonnie’s book Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul to Rest, which garnered starred review praise from Publisher’s Weekly.
Bonnie Gray blogs at Faith Barista, serving up shots of faith in the daily grind. She has been named Top 6 Notable New Religion Authors by Publisher's Weekly and writes for DaySpring (in)courage, Revelant Magazine, spotlighted by Christianity Today and Catalyst Leadership. A UCLA graduate, Bonnie served as a missionary, ministry entrepreneur, and Silicon Valley high-tech professional. She lives in California with her husband, Eric, and their two sons.
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