Nothing Nice about Faith

smiley-163510_640My coworker smiled at me
with, you know, the smile you use when you’re
tolerating some old person’s story
or a friend’s vacation photos.
Anyway, she smiled and said,
“It must be nice to have the faith you have.”
It was hard to continue using my
inside voice as I ended our conversation.
Nice? I thought. Nice?
There is nothing nice about faith.
Just as there’s nothing nice about
kevlar vests
body guards
impregnable walls of stone
steel gates
chain mail
barbed wire
or force fields.
Just the fact of them indicates
something terribly not nice is involved in their
King David had faith,
faith like armor.
When David had been chosen king
but had yet to claim his kingdom
he lived in the stronghold
that eventually became the City of David.
And men, warriors, fighting men, rugged men
men who liked to scratch and spit
came to him in the
and his forces grew within the stronghold
until he came into his kingdom.
A kingdom that, at first,
was only his by proclamation of the prophet
and by faith.
Inside the stronghold
David learned about spiritual warfare
and wrote what he learned in the Psalms.
“The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.” Psalm 9:9
“The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” Psalm 18: 2
“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1
There are more Psalms about strongholds,
look for yourself.
Because God knew that even when the world
became civilized
we would acknowledge the need for
from evil,
for strongholds,
for faith like a shield
not for decoration
but as a barrier against weaponry
aimed at the vulnerable spaces
between our ribs
and our ideals.
Faith is not a nice thing.
It’s not a poster for the wall,
a saying on a gift mug
a symbol on a keychain
a fish on my car
or a status on my wall.
Faith is the shield
raised up against the poison-tipped arrows
flying from the bows of the enemy
encamped along the hills
of my everyday life
pointy objects aimed at my organs
and the soft flesh of those I love
faith is the thing I grip so tight
my fingers lock
my arms ache
and I bleed from the clenched fist
I make around
the handle of faith
held up against the blows of the forces
against me
and so I don’t want something nice
or pleasant
or cute
like a greeting card
bumper sticker
Bible cover
I want tested, tenacious,
stalwart, reinforced, durable, fixed,
heavy-duty, substantial, unyielding,
immovable, impenetrable
When trouble comes
and it comes
and comes
and doesn’t stop coming
I don’t want stained glass nice
I want rock-hard, in-your-face faith
that builds up
from hunkering down in the stronghold
named Jesus
clinging to the ultimate faith
that one day
His kingdom will come
and that I will have a place in it
a place
where I can lay down my shield
flop down in the green grass
beside King David
and catch my breath as we take in the
welcoming blue sky
of home.

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    The Conversation

  1. tina hunt says:

    Powerful! I don’t want a nice faith either. “Nice to have faith” would be like saying, “Wouldn’t it be nice to have air to breathe?” Ah, no…it’s necessity!

  2. HisFireFly says:

    Amen! I don’t want “nice” I just want Him!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Your words remind me of daily spiritual warfare. Arrows come from the most unexpected places. As I dress each morning, I mentally put on “the whole armor of God” just to get through the day. You express things so beautifully it helps me understand why faith is necessary every minute of every day. Thank you for this one! MOMMA

  4. Powerful message powerful, powerfully delivered. “faith that builds up from hunkering down in the stronghold named Jesus.”

  5. The BearPair says:

    Amen, Lori! There are many aspects of our faith that are becoming trivialized {is that a word?}, when they need to be recognized and claimed as Scripture demands. Who better to typify that than King David.