I have a story about faith... A faith story that is a piece of my journey. It includes an island over 8,000 miles away and a simple bucket.
In Chuuk, Micronesia most of us on the Team had buckets like these. These buckets held all of our bathroom needs. Here in America, most of us girls would consider this bucket to be a basic necessity... And the one thing that could never be ruined, lost, or misplaced.
The Lord knows my heart. He knows the depths of this heart and He knows just what it needs. He decided to test my faith with this simple bucket.
I was over 8,000 miles away from home. We had been on the main island of Chuuk for the past week and now our Team was splitting up and going to separate islands for the next week of camp. We had all of our things packed. I made sure the bucket was part of what I was taking with me. We sped across the water in the little motor boat... And eventually we ended up on a little island bordered by white beaches and surrounded by the beautiful blue ocean and distant islands dotting the horizon.
When we went into our "home" for the week and decided who would be staying in which room, somehow a piece of what I had brought for the week ended up in someone else's room. My bucket somehow got separated from my other things and misplaced among everyone else's things without any of our knowing where it had gotten to...
I had a decision to make when I realized that I had lost my bucket. Was I going to allow my faith to be so small that it fit inside the bucket or would I allow it to be bigger and to trust that God has a plan for everything? I don't know how, but the Lord gave me the grace and strength to choose to trust Him.
I was on an island over 8,000 miles away from home and everything that was known to me. I brushed my teeth with a bandana and a friend's toothpaste. I put my contacts in a friend's solution in swimming goggles. Somehow, the Lord continually provided and improvisation became my word for the week. Laughter came along with this word as I did what I had to do to live without my bucket.
It brings me to a probing and challenging question. Is my faith sometimes so small that I could place it in a simple bucket and cover it with a lid, as to keep it to myself? Or is my faith bigger than that, so big that I can live without my bucket and most definitely without the lid that covers it?
"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." (Hebrews 11:1)
We may not be able to physically see God, but are we certain of Him? We may read about and hear about God's promises, but are we sure that He will carry them out? We may say we believe that we are saved and that we will spend eternity with Jesus, but do we have faith enough to be certain of this truth that the Lord tells us?
Or is our faith so compact and small that it fits inside a bucket? If we were to lose that bucket... Whatever that "bucket" may be in our lives right now ~ whether that be a relationship, a job, a bank account, a car, scholarship money, college applications, family, home... If we were to lose that bucket, would we still have our faith? Or is our faith only in that one object, and if that object is lost, would our faith be lost along with it?
I do not want a bucket-sized faith. I want a great faith, a radical faith, a deep and reckless and genuine faith... a faith to move mountains and not just stones... A faith to be sure of what I hope for and to be certain of what I do not see.
That faith is possible through Jesus Christ. The Lord continually reminds me of Philippians 4:13, "I can do everything through Him who gives me strength." That is why I have the ability to do whatever He asks me to do. How do I get greater faith? "Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the Word of Christ." (Romans 10:17)
Jerry Falwell explains it in a great way when he says, "When you get the life of God in you, that's the foundation for faith. If you have God's life in your heart, you can trust Him and live as He requires."
I get greater faith by reading God's Word... When I read the words of God, I get to know God better. When I get to know God better, I realize that I am able to trust Him and take Him at His Word... That the best place to put my life is in His hands.
Sometimes these tests of our faith are hard and challenging and exhausting... But they turn into inspiring faith stories that, when looked back on as I have just done, grow my faith even more. To know that the Lord cares about me so much as to allow my faith to be tested so that it can grow is a great honor. It shows His love, though at first while I am being tested I may not realize it.
The Lord does not want us to have bucket-sized faith. Our lives will never be wrecked, they will never be changed, they will never be all that they were made to be if we choose to allow our faith to be so small.
May I place my faith in nothing but in You, Jesus. You are the only constant. You are the only One who never changes, and in this world where everything changes, including friendships and relationships, it is very comforting to know that You are my Rock and my constant. Thank You for all of your promises and truths. I do not understand why You have chosen to love me like this, but I do not need to understand. To understand would take away the deep meaning of the love that you have, a love that passes human understanding. Thank You, Father!