Dealing with the Dips

There are some things we don’t understand without having the opposite. You can’t know hot without cold or soft without hard. You can’t know what hills and mountains are without the valleys and hollers. You can’t know smooth without bumpy. You can’t really know high without the low.

Author, Seth Godin makes a simple point in his book, The Dip that has stuck with me, “if it is worth doing, it has a dip.” Dealing with dips is not a statement about the people who you live around or live with (though you may feel that way at times). Dips are a part of our lives as much as ups.

Seth Godin writes that “every new project starts out exciting and fun. Then it gets harder and less fun, until it hits a low point-really hard, and not much fun at all.” As a teenager, and as a youth pastor, I saw a lot of friends move from new faith start to the low point of trying to live faith everyday. I can think of more than one low point in my life. Those points; they would be dips. In the gospel of John, some disciples had to deal with the dip early on in response to Jesus’ words:
When many of his disciples heard it, they said, "This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?" After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. (John 6:60, 66)

I’ve been thinking a lot about dips and asking some questions. Would you say an authentic faith should reflect real life? Why do we expect the spiritual journey to be easy then? Would authentic faith be worth seeking if it was easy? If real life has dips then why not the faith life? Notice how often Jesus uses everyday elements to describe the faith journey:
-Consider faith like the cost of building a tower Luk 14:28
-Consider faith like going to war Luk 14:31
-Consider faith like a big dinner party Luk 14:16
-Consider faith like a groom coming for his bride Mat 25:1-10
-Consider faith like bread and wine Luk 22:19-20

And as Jesus gathers for the last time to eat with his disciples, he reflects on those same hard words that caused others to turn back from the dip but points beyond the dip.
"I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. "But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. "He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. "All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you. John 16:12-15 NASB)

Jesus’ words speak to the reality of our faith journey. To start, there are some things which we can’t bear. Some things are hard. Certainly Jesus is speaking directly to the disciples before the gift of the Holy Spirit comes. But even then, Paul writes to the followers of Jesus in the Corinth church:
1) And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ. 2) I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able,
(1 Corinthians 3:1-2 NASB )

There are dips to deal with on our journey of faith. Some have to deal with doubts and knowledge. Others have to deal with loss and fear as the disciples would soon discover at Jesus’ arrest.

What begins to sound absurd about faith is the idea of adding it to our lives. But then as Einstein said, “If at first, the idea is not absurd, there is no hope for it.” Those words speak volumes to dealing with dips. Does faith sound difficult? Does an authentic faith in Jesus Christ sound absurd?

It could be we are having a problem with our definitions. Remember how we define some things by their opposites? Could it be that something being difficult doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be bad? Learning to ride a bike was difficult but it wasn’t bad. Backpacking ten months after radiation treatments was difficult but it wasn’t bad.

Is faith absurd? Sure, but there is hope. Is it difficult? Yep, but there is a guide. Are there dips? Absolutely, but there is another side. Jesus never desires anyone to stay in a dip. Jesus doesn’t even intend for us to work our way out. This is what makes this all so absurd (in a good way) and why an authentic faith is full of hope.

The Spirit is the gifting gift, the indwelling presence of God which guides us in and over the dips.
1. There are more things to be learned. Remember, it is a relationship with God.
2. The Spirit is a guide to the truth. There maybe a Bible Answer Man but there is no God answer man.
3. The Spirit is the connection for us to the Father and Son. There is only one God.
4. The Spirit only reveals what conforms to Jesus’ teachings.

Who do you think of when you think of a person of faith? Who do you know with an authentic faith? Have you not met or read from someone whose faith you were impressed by? Then you know someone who knows the reality of dealing with dips. And if you have faith in Jesus Christ then you are gifted with the presence and power of the one who has faced the greatest dip, the one of death, and overcome. Today, our faith can be authentic, all because God had an absurd idea, an idea to love His creation enough to deal with the dips, turn the abyss of death into a dip and then giving to us the promise and hope of being our guide through.

May I Ask:How have you handled the dips you've faced? Would you change your response?


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