Claim THIS

There are times when my heart is overwhelmed with how good my life is.

This morning is one of those times. Sitting on a quiet porch, enjoying peaceful solitude. A calm and quiet hour in the middle of a whirlwind of celebrations.

Within the short space of six weeks, our three oldest children are catapulting my husband and me into a new season of life as we celebrate our oldest son Josh's graduation from the Naval Academy, our second son Daniel's marriage to Hilary a week later, and our daughter Emily's marriage to Ethan one month after that.

There's so much goodness. More than I ever dreamed when I looked to my future with only hope and faith as my telescope. 

I feel loved.

I was brought up in a "name it & claim it" kind of church during my early years. The message I internalized was if you had enough faith, God would give you what you wanted whether that was healing from cancer or a Cadillac.

A well known preacher once spoke at our church. He told us God wanted us to be perfectly healthy. We shouldn't even need to wear glasses. This was excellent news to my twelve year old bespectacled self. I walked forward with all the faith of a child and prayed with others at the front of the church. When the preacher gave the cue, I removed my glasses fully expecting 20/20.


I put them on. Prayed again. And tentatively slipped them off.

Still fuzzy.

Dejected and feeling ashamed of my lack of faith, I walked disappointedly back to my seat.

It's over three decades later, and I'm wearing contacts as I write this. I put them in each morning, take them out each night, and my world remains fuzzy.

But one thing has become crystal clear since that disappointing day years ago.

It's not about how much faith a person has but Who that faith is in. 

Jesus' teaching on faith as small as a mustard seed and how it could move a mountain into the sea was making exactly this point. How do so many miss it and get stuck trying to muster up more faith inevitably putting the dependence and focus on the one mustering?

Faith that moves mountains is faith in a God Who is love and Who in His perfect wisdom allows suffering that at times seems like anything but love.

It is faith that keeps seeking, trusting, thanking, and praising in plenty and want. Faith that has learned contentment because of a good, faithful God who has already demonstrated His love for us through His grand rescue mission. The sacrifice and resurrection of His son Jesus.

This is the kind of faith that keeps trusting when it seems like everything is going wrong. When death claims. When disease progresses. When plans fail, relationships break, hearts suffer. 

And when little girls have to keep wearing glasses.

While perfect health, Cadillacs and 20/20 may be out of my reach, I've learned something that I can claim. And must believe to grow in my faith in Jesus.

His love and favor.

In his book "The Relentless Tenderness of Jesus" Brennan Manning tells the story of Uncle Seamus.

Several years ago, Edward Farrell, a priest from Detroit, went on a two-week summer vacation to Ireland to visit relatives. His one living uncle was about to celebrate his eightieth birthday. On the great day, Ed and his uncle got up early. It was before dawn. They took a walk along the shores of Lake Killarney and stopped to watch the sunrise. They stood side by side for a full twenty minutes and then resumed walking. Ed glanced at his uncle and saw that his face had broken into a broad smile. Ed said, “Uncle Seamus, you look very happy.” “I am.” Ed asked, “How come?” And his uncle replied, “The Father of Jesus is very fond of me.”

The Father of Jesus is very fond of me.

God is very fond of me.

My Father is very fond of me.

The faith that claims such intimate love and favor is faith that requires knowledge, trust, experience . . relationship.

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. ~Ephesians 3:16-19

This is the message of Christ. Underserved favor and love. 
It takes childlike faith to claim it. 

My Father is very fond of me.