Chair Inspection

A while back I wrote about faith being like a chair, and I used this quote:

“Those who have faith need no explanation. For those who have no faith, no explanation is possible.”

I talked about not needing an explanation for why the chair holds me when I sit in it, and how faith is like that – no explanation required.

Recently a friend who had read the post told me that she thought that it was important to occasionally do a chair inspection because sometimes the legs come out from under you. She should know. She’s been through a year of testing like I would not wish on anyone except that the result has been a sturdier chair than she sat in before, and I would not have thought that possible. But that’s just the thing. We get comfortable in our chair, and we take it for granted. We don’t go looking for ways to improve on what we’ve got or make it more solid. We sink into the soft spots that are shaped to our backsides, breathe a sigh and snuggle in.

My friend did nothing wrong. She was serving whole-heartedly, praying diligently, studying faithfully, loving God and people passionately, when suddenly there was a total collapse. Something she believed to be solid and unshakeable fell apart under her while she was snuggled up in her soft spot, and she crashed. In the months that followed she found herself shaking the dust off and putting the chair back together. And in that is the lesson: we can do a periodic inspection of the parts before the chair collapses, or we can inspect them as we reassemble the pieces.

What is it that you’re sitting on? Is it what we call, “Fire Insurance”; the “get-out-of-hell-free” card? Is it a Grandfather God of Grace who would never allow suffering to enter your life? Is it the God who rewards good works and tireless service but rarely lets you sit in the chair because of your self-sufficiency? Maybe your chair is sturdier than that, like my friend’s. Maybe it is carved out of a solid piece of the Rock but it’s never been tested by a burden that’s twice the size of your spiritual shoulders. Even that chair will at least wobble under the weight. And all of these chairs require careful inspection. Will they hold you when you really need to be held and your burden is heavy?

Our chair – our faith, is built on our God and who we believe Him to be even when He is suddenly unrecognizable. My friend had to ask, “Are You there?”, “Are You good?”, “Do You see?”, “Are You strong?”, “Are You faithful?”, “Can I trust You for every promise?”.  She had to inspect the faith for which she previously needed no explanation. As God began to answer her questions through His word, she has slowly begun to rebuild her chair. 

Her advice then, is a frequent inspection, but also that there truly is no explanation required. Yes, her chair was tested and collapsed under the weight, but the pieces were still there, and as she is putting them all back together she is affirming to herself that she doesn’t need to see God to believe He is there. She doesn’t need to feel good to know that God is good. She doesn’t need immediate intervention to believe that God sees. She doesn’t need to test God to know that He is strong.  She doesn’t need everything to go her way to know that He is faithful. She doesn’t need to see the fulfillment of every promise to know that she can trust Him for them. When she gets her chair reassembled it will be supported by the glue that holds it together – a trial. Even then, I don’t think she’ll take certain things for granted ever again, and I’m sure she’ll do a frequent chair inspection in the event that she can prevent another collapse.

How’s your chair? Have you done an inspection? Does it wobble a bit? Are the rungs dislodged? Better shore it up before you have to sit in it with a heavy load!