You know when you get a new tube of toothpaste and you squeeze it and a lot of paste comes out. Then you happily brush your teeth with a toothbrush that is almost covered in paste.
A couple of weeks later and the tube is almost empty and you squeeze and squeeze and almost nothing comes out. But even then, refusing to give up, you squash the top till that little bit comes out and covers a fraction of the surface of your toothbrush. At this point you realise how little you needed in the first place to get you through brushing your teeth.
A lot of times I feel that my chrisitan walk is a bit like that.
In my early days as a newly committed Christian everything feels so effortless and my faith is overflowing. Any problem comes my way, no problem! Let’s pray and trust that God will see us through. And He does. Always.
Then a couple of months or years later and i’ve been through a lot and I realise that it gets harder and harder to persevere in my walk. It takes so much more effort to set aside time to pray etc.
Then when things go bad I have to dig deep to call on God to apologise for the way I’ve treated Him and ask for His help to get through everything.
God always provides. Be it support, an answer or just peace from the conflict, He always does. But while God hasn’t changed, it feels as if my storage of faith has. That my tube is running near empty and it’s taken the little bits of faith in the cap to get me through.
But I believe that’s a lie. In no way is my amount of faith a determinant of how God will provide or move. He did not require me to put in any more effort at the beginning of my walk as He does now. And I can say that because I know it is not by works that I am saved from His wrath but rather by His grace alone.
So I believe that this emptiness is more likely the slow maturing of a faith that was planted in my heart from day one. In the new testament we often read about having been babies who craved spiritual milk that we might grow up in our salvation. So in some ways the training wheels are now off and it’s time to be an adult Christian who makes mistakes and falls but gets up again. (but that’s a whole separate post in itself!)
The example of the toothpaste is a flawed analogy of the christian walk in general. But I think it’s a perfect illustration of how I feel at the moment.
But one thing I can learn from it is to ignore the empty feeling but rather focus on the dogged determination to get the toothpaste out so that I can brushy teeth. Coz brushing your teeth is a good thing to do!
In the same way I cling to God and His mercy. Absolutely focused on His saving grace and His abundance of blessing unto me.