Sunday, July 1, 2012

Faith in a Box


I made this in college more than 10 years ago. The assignment: To put your life in a box. As one who had just made a fresh commitment to Christ, I decided to make a box that represented my new-found faith.
My Faithbox survived more than a decade, more than a dozen moves, life with three kids, etc. Over time it got bumped, battered and bruised, and moved from a special place in my home to a dusty old space in the garage. Sadly, my own personal faith endured a parallel experience. Both of them slowly moved from being a center piece in my life to merely taking up space in the corner of the garage in my heart.
In 2010 while cleaning out the garage I made the choice to throw away my Faithbox. It was a conscience choice. I stood in front of the trash can, Faithbox in hand, weighed the pros and cons of keeping it, and ultimately lifted the lid and tossed it in.
And then I walked away and didn’t look back.
It wasn't a sad moment. There was no real emotion at all. After I moved the Faithbox to the corner of the garage in my heart, a detached numbness took it's place. Where my Faithbox had proudly sat for all to see and celebrate, emptiness filled the space. Dust collected.
How easy it was to discard my Faithbox as a piece of old sentimentality from my college days. It was hard to move it from the house to the garage. But that initial move made it easy to send it from the garage to the garbage.
The trash can sat swallowing my Faithbox like the giant fish that swallowed Jonah. I gave it no more thought. That is, until the next day when I discovered it sitting beside the trash can. Not in it, as I'd left it. Beside it. Like the giant fish "vomited Jonah onto dry land", my Faithbox sat beside the belly of the beast. (Jonah 2:10)
Stubborn little Faithbox.
I could hear a tender voice in my heart whisper,
“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
My Faithbox was rescued from the trash can by my husband. The man appointed to lead me and point me toward Jesus Christ all of our living days salvaged it. He would not let me throw it away so easily.
He knew that at one time it had been precious to me. And even though he knew that I was tired of it being in the way and taking up space in my life, he had hopes that it might one day be valuable to me again. Maybe even bless our children.
In 2011 we made a career change and decided to move back home to our beloved Charleston, South Carolina. In true moving fashion, I had to make hard decisions about what to keep, what to sell, what to donate, and what to trash. Once again I stood in front of the trash can, my Faithbox in hand. And once again, I chose to lift the lid and throw it away. Sealed it in the dank, dark, dirty black abyss for someone else to whisk away. And then I turned my back and walked away.
Once again.
I left my Faithbox on the side of the road as forgotten memorabelia for some big smelly truck to take to the place of things discarded.
Just like the Jews stuffed the lifeless body of Jesus Christ in the dark, dank tomb, hopeful that he too would finally go away.
On trash pickup day I happened to be sitting on the front porch with my three children. I barely even paid attention as the the garbage truck pulled up to our curb, but something caught my attention. I turned around just in time to watch as one of the garbage men pulled my dirty dusty dilapidated excuse of a Faithbox out of the trash can.
No trash can could contain this battered little Faithbox.
But the garbage man didn't just put it on the ground next to the trash can, as I had found my Faithbox a year ago. Instead, he opened the lid to the recycling can, which was sitting next to the trash can, and put it in. Then he nodded at me and was on his way.
From trashed to recycled.
You make all things new.
I've tried to shed this little brown box that came into my life so many years ago. But it will not be discarded.
Jesus is not so easily discarded.
No trash can
or tomb
can contain him.
 My flesh may fail. My God, you never will. 
I wrote this as I was coming out of a very hard season of questioning my faith. I was a Pastor's wife, embedded in ministry and expected to have unshakeable faith. But I quietly questioned the goodness and Truth of the Gospel. 

As I wrestled, I went back to the basics on everything. Why did Jesus die for us? Couldn't there have been another way? How could God, a loving Father, allow His Son to die such a gruesome death? Did I want this same Father to be my Father? Is He truly a good and loving God? 

Wrestling made me ask the hard questions, which brought me to Truth. And Truth birthed peace. Now, two years later I no longer have a Faithbox. I threw it away. Because Faith cannot be kept in a box or on display, as mine had been for too many years. 

Freedom came when I realized that Faith in a box is not worth keeping. So, I kept the Faith and tossed the box. 

Faith belongs in a living, beating human heart where no dust can collect. 
And that's where I keep mine to this day. 

Carrie Davis is the wife of a sustainable farmer in McClellanville, SC and happy homeschooling mother of three. Read more of her thoughts and experiences at www.thatsathought.wordpress.com. 

6 comments:

  1. Wow, I can relate to this so much. I shared my story in a blog.  http://cathysvoicenow.wordpress.com/2012/05/21/my-church-story/
    I live in Charleston, SC. I was born and raised and then moved around, including Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.   Thank you so much for sharing this.

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  2. I am so glad to hear that you found your way back to a personal, meaningful relationship with your Creator, your Savior, the Lover of your soul. What an incredible story!

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  3. Beautiful picture of the reality of walking in faith.  It is a process and our Father loves us through the process.  Thanks for sharing your journey.  

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  4. Kimberly SatrialeJuly 2, 2012 at 6:04 AM

    Beautiful words and beautiful images...very moving and powerful to hear and reflect upon.  Thank you kindly for sharing...and have a blessed day.

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  5. We do build our faith boxes on traditions, creeds and denominational ism. It should be built on a loving relationship with our Savior, King of Kings. Your journey has strengthened that tie that binds us so securely to the One who loved us first. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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