Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Ambidextrous Faith Guy

Sometimes it's not easy to identify where the good and the bad comes from. (Jason Boyett's blog) It's not uncommon for people to respond to good things by saying something like, "Thank my lucky stars" or "The planets must have been aligned just right for me" or something along those lines. Yet when bad things happen those same people might well respond, "God why did this happen to me?" or "God, why are you out for me?" This might not be said literally but that's the essence of the attitude.

See the difference? Good stuff...? They don't acknowledge God. Bad stuff...? He's the first they cry out to.

But before I go any further about what I've witnessed others do I have to admit that I fall into a similar trap even though I'm supposed to know better. If I'm not careful I forget to be thankful in the good, remembering it all comes from God (James 1:17) but I can be very quick to complain to him.

Gregory of Nyssa coined the phrase "ambidextrous faith". It's the kind of faith that is able to receive blessings in one hand while simultaneously receiving hardships in the other without losing faith in the midst of it all.

So, I am learning to be ambidextrous. And how to draw.


Jason Boyett said...

On the other hand, I hear a lot of people in the church identify good things -- a raise, a promotion, health, business success -- as blessings from God. But bad things like a job loss or sickness are always things to be overcome. In some cases they're even seen as demonic in origin: "Satan trying to bring me down." But what about the Beatitudes? "Blessed are the poor / the sick / those who mourn." Doesn't Jesus make it clear that God's blessings aren't always the obvious happy external things?

When we're too quick to identify health and wealth as God's blessings -- thank you, Prayer of Jabez -- I wonder if we're confusing American spirituality with the teachings of Christ.

I love the term "ambidextrous faith," by the way. Thanks for the link, Jonathon.

Jonathan Foster said...

I'm completely with you. Thanks for the comment. It's true. Too often we forget that it all comes from God and it's all meant 'for our good'. Thanks, Jason