Pitching the Bucket of FaithWhen I was in fourth grade, my best friend Michele moved with her parents from our concrete-and-brick apartment complex to a beautiful farm just outside the Indianapolis city limits. The house was big and drafty, with windows that stretched from floor to ceiling and big, unused rooms upstairs with peeling paint and chipping plaster--perfect and spooky for two 10-year-old girls giggling their way through a sleepover.
One morning in November we awoke early to find the world painted with a heavy frost, from barn to field to house. Michele and I put on our coats and gloves (she wore her Daddy's big canvas work gloves) and we went out to do Michele's chore. Her job was to water the horses; the mama mare, named Chocolate, and her newborn colt.
Michele had learned how to use the old pump and I stood back and marveled at this friend who had been a Barbie-playing city girl only weeks before. She pumped the water and I helped her carry it to the barn. Over and over we did this; one trip, two trips, three trips. Soon our arms were aching and Michele huffed, "Why is this taking so long? I usually only need two buckets and I'm done."
Michele's dad appeared in the doorway, grinning. "I was wondering when you two were going to realize that you picked up the bucket with the hole in the back." He pointed to the bucket. Sure enough, water was running out the back as we walked to the trough. He handed Michele a different bucket and took the one with the hole out of her hands. "I'll pitch this bucket and seal it up and it will be good as new tomorrow," he said.
This morning I'm remembering that experience because I've been thinking about ways that our faith trickles away without us knowing. Over 90 percent of Americans pray. Do we really believe it works? Do our actions say so? Are we any closer to really trusting God, to really relying on him to see us through the course of our lives? I want my belief to be more than belief: I want it to be a knowing. And toward that end, I want my thoughts, my choices, my actions, and my expectations to reflect the faith I say I have--and I know I have--when the chips are down. I'd like to pitch my bucket of faith and seal up those little cracks where the strength of God's presence dribbles out unnoticed. That means trusting him to do what he says he will do. Expecting it. Claiming it. Listening carefully--and applying what I hear. And with a little divine help, this bucket will soon be as good as new--or, more likely, better than ever.
Enjoy your day! :) k