How Coats Show Faith

Chapter 4 of Novelette

The trees and crickets returned to their refrain, welcoming back their guests.

Their favorite guests…

A young man sat on top of an old dock, breathing in the late evening air, letting his legs dangle and swing back and forth. His legs stopped swinging when he heard a creaking sound from behind. Footsteps. They grew louder and louder, and a young woman walked up beside him, looking down with a smile. “Hey, I – uh… I knew you’d find me here,” he said. “-” “Sorry, but -” he interrupted before she could speak. “Not this time…..”

She sat down beside him, following suit by giving her attention to the slow sun set. As he formulated his words, a cold breeze sent a sad chill up his spine. “You’re not even here. I wi-……. you’re ju-…… you’re never here.”

If only he knew how cold she was – he’d give her his coat.

He took a deep breath and let out a heaving sigh. “But I guess for sake of getting the weight off my chest, I might as well talk.” Though the sun set was beautiful, it was no match to the calling of her attention to him sharing his heart with her. She had good taste for beauty.

“Have you ever wanted, deep down.. desperately…. to fall in love?! And not just fall in love but fall into a bouncy house, rather than an escape room which ticks the time down to zero and you have to get your photo taken saying, ‘Psych! It was my fault!'” A moment passed, and she looked at him with amusement, yet not disrespectfully. He looked back at her and then cleared his throat. “Oh, yeah, kinda got lost in that illustration. It’s just – okay, it’s like this. I had this blog and I wrote some pretty crazy stories with some pretty crazy ideas. And I read back I think to myself, ‘Oh, buddy. If only you knew… the things that will happen and the person you’ll become…'”

When he looked from the sun set to her eyes, he was hit with a pang of grief when he saw the pain of her wanting to say so much. He had to respond! “I wish! I really wish so many things. But – you’re… you’re… not here!”

If only he knew how tired she was – he’d give her his shoulder.

“I know how the story goes. To be honest, I asked for it. Literally, I prayed for the impossible, and there’s something funny that I discovered about the impossible. It’s usually not fun, and it’s never easy. The easy life is not what I’m called to – but… I’m living like it.” She closely examined his face, reading between the lines of his words. “See, the story goes like this. When I sat down to write this moment into existence, I had just watched a super hero movie, and for the 100th time I revisited this epic desire to be that kind of guy! To be that guy who has some worthiness to steal a moment, to steal a heart, to steal a kiss, to steal – what he is ready for. And what gets someone ready? Simple: the presence of God. I miss that lifestyle…”

The sunset grew in color as the radiance complimented his blue eyes perfectly. “Hey, you know what?” She looked from the sky back to him. “That’s exactly where I first fell in love with you: the presence of God. When I heard His heart beat, that’s when I also first felt yours, and I realized……. someone’s heart beat is out there waiting to beat for me like it beats for Him. And frankly, as I’ve wandered away from being close to His presence… it’s kinda like how I’ve fallen out of love with you. Which only serves to remind me that… that I’m alone.”

If only he knew how lonely she was – he’d give her his hand.

It was at this point that he let his spine go limp and he fell back onto the dock, throwing his arms back and closing his eyes. He almost wished that when he opened his eyes, she wouldn’t be there. But when he opened his eyes, he saw the dark shades purple and blue closing up the sky and ushering in the dark night. Then he looked way down towards his lower body, and saw that the beautiful young woman had actually stolen a few more inches to be closer to him. She gazed into the water, remaining motionless.

She reached in her pocket and pulled out a familiar letter that she had been keeping for a good while. When she turned to hand it to him, he was gone. While part of her had suspected this scenario to be the case, nothing could prepare her for the trauma of experiencing it all over again, and this time – this time hurt even worse. Her hands tightened and began to crinkle the letter, but she managed to stop herself before damaging it too severely. It was then that these words escaped her lips:

“Lord! Please, help him! Please, help him see how much You truly love Him! Bring him back to the simplicity of the Gospel! Bring him back to fervency on his knees! I need his prayers! Show Him how strong you are to deliver Him from his ruts and struggles! There’s so much I can’t tell him… so please. If he’s really writing tonight, if this is really just a story… then just – be You! Make Him to be the man you desire Him to be. I trust that You will do that. I believe You will…”

So there she sat, continuing in prayer on the old rustic dock as the night settled in.

But then she realized the most wonderful thing:

His coat over her shoulders and hands.

Loneliness, Answers, and Prayers

Sure, no one reads this, but here goes nothing:

It is so incredible how I can be surrounded by such great friends, and yet feel so lonely. Sure, everyone’s getting engaged and married and updating their Facebook status to “in a relationship with…” but this goes so much deeper than that. This delves into the deepest part of humanity.

Tonight thoughts hammered me down. “I’m just a memory.” “Literally, everyone moves on eventually. (at least, especially at this point in life – being at a collegeseque environment)” “No matter what I do, we’re all going to die anyways so…” “All those people I had hoped would be lifelong friends I never really connected with on a surface and deep level. And even those that I do (or did), yep! They moving on too. It only makes sense.” All of that being said, I find myself moving on from even the people that surround me right now. Which just intensifies the loneliness. It is a nightmarish feeling to be with people who actually care about you, but there are unspoken and unseen walls between you and them because you’re tired of opening up to *gulp* memories…

Okay, so where’s the silver lining in this messy vent?

Oh that I would return to an obsession with Jesus Christ. Oh that He would be the heart beat of my soul and the hope of my every breathing moment. Oh that He would be glorified in my every thought and word! Without a walk with Him, of course I would feel alone – in fact, sadly, most people do.

Yet, the Father is always looking for those prodigal sons, like myself, to return to Him with childlike faith, knowing that He will not only forgive and wash clean, but lead us along to bright futures filled with His presence.

Tonight God gave me a poem/song from my heart, and I shall put it here. It’s called, “Answers and Prayers.”

Answers and prayers.
Answers and prayers.
He has the answers before our prayers.

Answers and prayers.
Answers and prayers.
He’ll give the answers, but first our prayers.

Stanzas (so to speak):
Tears can show grief that we can’t express;
Our hopes fall apart and our heart’s taste death.
If only we’d crawl broken before the throne
Then we’d find a grand welcome home.

Honesty can show grief that we’d rather let go;
Our head knows what’s true, but our will doesn’t show.
If only we’d crawl back to the cross where we find
Christ heals our faith, and we’re no longer blind.

God’s Word gives hope and always will take us
Where we are at and lead us along.
Back to throne of God
Where we belong.

How the Story Goes

In my low states I have often mumbled to myself in despair, “I know what’s true, and I know how other people’s stories have gone, but I know how my story goes…”

So I’ve hung my head low.

But instead, now I finish it off by saying this:

“I know how my story goes: Christopher trusted that God is always good, no matter what…”

Psalm 15:

1  A Psalm of David. LORD, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill?
2  He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart.
3  He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour.
4  In whose eyes a vile person is contemned; but he honoureth them that fear the LORD. He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not.
5  He that putteth not out his money to usury, nor taketh reward against the innocent. He that doeth these things shall never be moved.

The Only Way

Psalm 42:11, “Why art thou cast down. O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.”

It’s kind of impossible to describe. How do you explain the short time window when life and self have you down, and then God reaches down and draws you into His presence, where He seems to solve… everything.

And as I type that, honestly it’s because this evening God really took me out of the deep miry clay and set me on the Rock. I’ll be very frank: the theme of my life for the past really good while (months or so) has been extremely dark and depressing. Call me a mediocre actor, but I sure do know how to smile when my world is falling apart (not to say that I’m not falling apart on the inside).

Even earlier today, I sunk lower and lower into personal oblivion. But then, “Hope thou in God.” In my misery, Something outside of myself beckoned me to return home. And so I did. I returned to the most peaceful place I could ever call home: God’s presence on my knees.

A conclusion has been struck in my soul, and it’s not anything new, nor is it complicated. In fact, it’s the most profound truth of application I believe a Christian can apply. Commitment to time with God. As a preacher once said, “There’s a reason ‘spend time with God’ is a cliche.” It’s literally a matter of practical life or death. Years of life can be cut off when the lifespan of a Christian is not consistently bathed in God’s presence, both in His Word and making conversation/petition in prayer.

So, that’s what God brought me back to. There is a certain amount of time which I have personally concluded is necessary, but that is between God and I. Everyone’s relationship with Him is vastly different. But in order for me to survive and thrive in my Christian life, that is the linchpin which without will cause havoc. I’m sick of havoc. I’m sick of sin. I’m sick of seeing who I am away from God. All I want is more of Jesus. I found Psalm 45:7 quite profound in referring to Jesus: “therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.” I.e. (and not to be sack religious or anything, but…) Jesus is a pretty glad guy. And I want more of that gladness in my life

And the only way to know Him more is to give Him the best of our time.

So that is the way I choose. How about you?

A Mustard Seed Was Enough

Every now and again… when you’ve been so low, some how, some way, God reaches down and answers prayer and it almost feels like receiving salvation for a second time.

There’s a trick to faith, and it’s called God. It seems so pointless and useless for me to think that I can scrounge up any hint of righteousness and faithfulness to present to Him.

The main thing that turned tonight around for me was when I was saying to God, “Yeah, right… You don’t want to be with me in my sin. You don’t want to reach into this! You want HOLINESS and clearly I got NONE! So…” But here’s the thing that hit me: Jesus was there with me in my sin. Jesus literally drank and became the entirety of my sin, whether I want to be believe it or not! He is quite aware of the effects of it in my life as well. It is true that God wants holiness, but that’s where Jesus steps in and says, “Here I am. Oh, and Father! He’s with me!”

Man, oh man… I just want to learn to end and begin ever day of my life literally broken before God so that I can be an empty vessel: able to be filled with the only Person able to live like He can live, and I am entirely at His mercy to accomplish that in my life.

For struggling so much tonight, it really all changed when I said almost mechanically, “Fine. You want faith? Here ya’ go: I believe. End of story.” And the craziest thing happened:

A mustard seed was enough…


People ask me how I’m doing, and I say I’m doing okay, but truthfully the past couple days have been really deadly on the inside. I’ve recently dropped off from the presence of God and it stinks to say the least.

As I spent time with God this morning, He hit me with the verse, “Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him” (Proverbs 30:5).

Bottom line: we cannot put our trust in ourselves or our ability to do anything (even our ability to seek Him). It is simply trusting Him that is enough for His Word, and ability to do everything for us that can’t do for ourselves, to protect us and lead us along.

Call Me Pendulum

There wouldn’t be as much realism and encouragement in talking about highs if there wasn’t any recording of the lows. For a good, decent stretch, I honestly, truly sought God – and then something really crazy happened:


Sometimes you seek God and you get closed-lined by an iron base-ball bat. Now just visualize the aftereffects of laying there rolling back and forth holding your nose because, “Boy, oh boy, did that ever hurt…”

Maybe a lot of you can relate to this:

You seek God. God is working in your life. And then you kinda just throw it all away. Have I thrown it all away? I don’t think so, but there is just something so bitter and vile about when you actually taste God, love Him more than you ever have in a long while, and then you go back and take another deep swig of sin and depravity and it tastes so much worse than you ever remembered – and yet, it grips you harder than you remember as well.

On a side-note, I think I sugar coat a lot of my past and view it all through rose-colored glasses. Yeah, high school was one of the most growing times of my life, but I distinctly remember, before leaving for Ellerslie (which was the summer before going to college), typing a gmail journal entry to myself explaining how wretched and sick I am, and how desperate I am for a miracle in my life.

Call me Pendulum. By God’s grace, I’ve swung pretty far to the right before, but man… have I ever swung far to the left… Of course, there’s no use in anybody putting a laundry list of sins and failures up for the internet to see – actually, on second thought… no, here goes nothing –

Diet. I struggle with DIET! And what’s frustrating is that I can’t mention that to friends when they ask how I’m doing. If I say, “not well” they’ll ask, “what’s going on?” and if I say “my diet is going off the deep end” 90% of the time all of my friends look at me funny and say, “dude… you look fine.” NO. YOU DON’T GET IT! Gluttony is not determined by the aftereffects of what it makes you look like. Gluttony is knowing you’ve had enough, and the Holy Spirit whispers, “Okay, back away,” and you keep on eating and eating and eating – even to the point of saying to yourself, “Hey, you’ve got to stop. You’re hurting yourself!” but… you keep on eating… and eating… and eating…. for comfort… for encouragement… for dopamine… for addiction… for hopelessness… for self-pity… etc. Lack of discipline is a struggle that you rarely find a friend striving against. And every now and again what I’ve told friends is this: sometimes I see people who are extremely overweight and I empathize. By all outward appearances, I should be where they’re at, but I’m not… and that almost makes me feel guilty. (And of course, there are sometimes circumstances which are causation factors which are sometimes outside of our control). Because, I deserve to be in the same boat. And part of why I keep on striving in this area of my life is because if I don’t strive to have discipline now, fast forward 10 years, and I will be where they are at.

Now here’s a very important point I want to nail to the ground: a person’s health / state of being is not personally defined by his or her weight, but rather the current, longterm lifestyle which they adopt and determine to never let go. If a person commits to eating healthy and exercising regularly, c’mon, it’s only a matter of time before appearances follow suit, even if it takes years to fully express itself.

*deep breath* That was a long tangent. I need to bring this full circle.

Diet, for me, is like a litmus test for how dependent I am on God. Am I choosing Him to strengthen and comfort me, or food? And often times, this is the tripping point which sidetracks me from God. Fact: we can’t escape food, so it’s in those moments which I need to make the decisions which set the course for what next decisions I’ll make. And before I know it, my lack of discipline has let me slide in a state of lack of prayer, thankfulness, contentment, and sharpness of mind to recall the Word and cry out to God for grace to not let “small” sins slide.

The Gospel has to be the centerpiece of our lives.

I don’t feel like praying, but that means that I need to go to God and spend all the more time with Him in prayer. I’ve lost the desire for His presence, but that just means I have to cry out to Him all the louder and stay until I don’t feel like staying any more, and then keep on remaining still before His throne.

The truth is that we are in Christ. His blood has washed away our sins, Jesus thank You. The father’s wrath completely satisfied, Jesus thank you. Once Your enemy, now seated at Your table, Jesus thank you.

The truth is that we are heirs of the king, and He will never give up on us. He has literally predestined the believers of the church to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ, and we can take that to the bank and rejoice.

I may be a pendulum swinging far right and far left… but praise God He is always beckoning me as He alone enables and empowers me swinging far right.

Proverbs 30:8-9, “Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the LORD? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.”

Ephesians 1:3-4, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:”

Ephesians 6:13, “Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”

1 Corinthians 9:26-27, “I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”