Seasons of Faith
By Mike Cope
Do you ever feel out of place with fellow believers—perhaps like no one “gets” you? It may simply be that you are a “winter believer” while they are “summer believers ” (or vice versa). Let me explain ...
Summer believers are confident that God is still doing great things. They have regular reports of what God is doing, what God has taught them, what God has “put on my heart.” They worry about the deistic tendencies they see of others who don’t share their perspective. Faith makes sense, the world works pretty much like they’d expect. They have stories of amazing ways God has healed, provided money, sent specific guidance, etc. They want an upbeat worship style that reflects the joyous news that God is already alive in the world.
Winter believers are convinced that God is God. But they often walk in doubt and mystery. They feel like they’re not “in on” all the amazing stuff people say is happening to them. They don’t hear regularly from God. The problem of evil and suffering seems vexing. Their observation is that people with faith are healed at just about the exact same rate as those who have no faith. They read the dark journal of Mother Teresa, well up with tears, and nod. They prefer a worship style that recognizes the strong dose of “not yet” that we currently experience as we groan and wait.
What would it mean for us to live together in peace? What if...
...Winter believers prayed for their summer brothers and sisters, willingly listened to their confidence in God, decided to assume the best about their spiritual journey, refused to label them, and entered into their expressions of worship (for the sake of the other)?
...Summer believers prayed for their winter brothers and sisters, willingly listened to their questions, decided to assume the best about their spiritual journey, refused to label them, and entered into their expressions of worship (for the sake of the other)?
A mark of maturity is when we realize that we are not the standard by which others are measured. There is actually strength in our diversity. Perhaps together we can shoot for, say, autumn. And that doesn’t sound bad!
Mike Cope is a minister, author, lecturer, and prolific writer whose blog, preachermike.com, has been visited by four million people in the past six years. A widely respected national figure in Churches of Christ, Cope will direct Pepperdine’s Bible Lectures program beginning May 5, 2012.
To learn more about this year’s lectures (May 1–4, 2012), please visit www.pepperdine.edu/biblelectures.