My recovery from my coma in January has been better than I hoped for, although it hasn’t always been easy. There have been times in the hospital and since I came home that physical therapists have asked me if I thought I could do X. My mental reaction was usually “no.” However, I knew that I was there to work, to get better.
Pride kept me from saying no. Fear of failure kept me from saying “yes.” I adopted a standard response of, “I’ll let you know in a couple minutes.” I felt it conveyed doubt but also promised an effort to find out. It was a fairly honest response from someone who didn’t think he could do X, was afraid to try, but was willing to give X a go anyway.
The therapists found me amusing and laughed.
Truth be told, I succeeded much more than I failed. It never ceased to surprise me.
I don’t know if this is a good parallel, but I identify with Peter stepping out of the boat in the open sea during a storm to walk over to Jesus walking on the water. Jesus asked Peter to walk on the water to Him. Peter’s response was a hard yes as he stepped from the boat. That, as we all know, changed quickly to a hard, gurgling no as he looked at the waves coming at him.
I don’t think Jesus was especially happy that Peter failed. I don’t think He’s overjoyed when He asks me if I trust Him, and I respond with “I’ll let You know.” We would all be so much better off if we started with a faith-hard yes, but we can’t all muster that. We’re sinful, flawed, defective.
Perhaps Jesus, in His boundless love, will accept an honest “I’ll let you know.” Like my PT’s, He asks us if we can manage to do something on faith; give to church, be nice to a stranger, etc. “I’ll let you know” is an honest admission of doubt coupled with a promise to step out of the boat anyway.
There’s a saying: Nothing succeeds like success. St. James writes to us thusly:
14 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. James 2:14-17
Faith without works is dead. Works is the food that builds and strengthens faith. Jesus told us through the Gospel of Matthew that all it takes is faith as small as a mustard seed to succeed.
Can I use my life-altering adversity of 2022 in the service of God’s kingdom?
I’ll let you know.