I like a good challenge, especially when it involves food. There is nothing that gets my competitive edge better sharpened than for someone to say to me “I bet you can’t eat…” Count me in. I will go for it, whatever “it” may be – five hot dogs and two hamburgers (2003); one whole fried chicken (most every week in college); a dozen Krispy Kremes (1991 – they have less calories if they are hot).
One of the things that make us uniquely human is our response to challenges. Some meet their challenges on the ball field. Others find it in a studio, or a concert hall or a classroom. The desire to live is fundamentally an existential challenge.
There are some challenges, I am sure, that we would rather not face. The challenge of raising teenagers is not always pleasant. There are health challenges that we would rather avoid, such as chronic illnesses and diseases. And then there is the challenge to confront and accept change, like getting older, or losing something (or someone) precious to us.
Meeting a challenge, however, means that we are taking serious the will to live, to be human. Yet challenges of faith are often perceived as a lack of faith, or even loss of faith. It is my contention that a growing vibrant faith is nearly always under the weight of challenge. Doubt, despair, loneliness, and brokenness, are just some of the challenges you and I must face. These are at their root challenges of faith and therefore should not be avoided.
This week we enter into the season of Lent and so I will share weekly messages on “The Challenges of Faith.” It is my hope that as we move towards the cross of Jesus on Good Friday as well as the empty tomb of Easter morning we will allow our faith to be challenged. When we meet our challenges, especially the challenges of faith, we are demonstrating our will and desire to live authentically.
May God find us faithful and up for the challenge,