You know that moment, when you go to strike a match, and you struggle, you struggle, and you rub the wick against the side of the red blades hoping for a flame.
You hold it against the wick.
And it burns.
Burns away, until you fear for your life and your finger so you blow, blow, blow away the flame. Then. You surrender, the poor black match, empty handed.
Then, you go to strike again. And the match snaps in half. You’ve got half the length left now. You can choose to be driven by the fear and trauma of the last match, or, you can move forward.
Will you let the near-burn experience of the try stop you from trying again? Will you choose to accept that past unpleasing results is the only possible outcome?
Or, will you choose hope? What if you strike with persistence and belief that there will be a spark. What if you have faith that this wick will light. What if you trust that this match will work as it has been created to.
Faith of this kind is radical.
Embracing such faith comes with haste.
A newfound urgency to light the match
and see it come to life.
You realise now the stakes.
The faith flickers in the absence of the light.
You forget. You doubt.
You dwell on the past failure.
So you stumble, you falter, and again the match falls into the wax and you try to push it near the wick, but it dies into a black blur.
You’re helpless, hopeless.
Is it worth a third time? Is the flame going to truly bring warmth that is worth it? That will last? Or is it easier to remain in the dark?
No. You will strike one more time. You believe in the light. The match will not light itself. You need to apply diligence, pressure. You need faith.
You grab ahold of the packet with new zeal, and you strike hard and hazah! Fire! Light! Your dry bones, your ash shame is replaced, is ignited!
You hold the match against the wick, and you have time to wait, to hold it close, to ensure the spark truly leaves a blaze. And you move the match slowly away, and there!
The flame remains.
It’s a victory.
It’s light in a dark place.
It’s hope where you had been ashamed.
There is a lesson in this, for those of faith.
For those who feel like they’ve been striking and striking and not seeing the flame. Don’t we often come to God, and feel like we’re striking a dead match? Not ‘feeling’ the warmth, or ‘seeing’ the spark? Does that change who God is? Does that change what he has made? Does that change his capacity to set a fire deep down in our souls regardless of whether we do anything?
… whether we work, whether we pray, whether we serve …
It is not about us though, is it? It is about the one who came to bring light to the world – Jesus. It is what he has done. It is about what he has given us. It is not about what we do. Those who believe in him receive the Spirit, the flame that will never wane, never fade.
He does not need our friction.
He needs our faith.
For those who have been igniting, and lighting, but slowly dying, turning to black remains. Here is a lesson for you. A lesson for me.
There is hope.
There is a flame.
An eternal blaze.
A God who saves.
A God whose mercy is new everyday. Whose grace allows for an abundance of matches for when we fail. Whose grace reaches the darkest place. Whose grace covers over our mistakes, and replaces, rejuvenates.
The Spirit of grace sparks faith.
The Spirit of Grace sparks hope.
The Spirit of grace sparks love.
Faith, hope and love for
This is the match made in heaven.
A love sealed by grace through faith.