What is faith unless it is applicable? In order to test its tenacity, its elasticity, its mobility, its utility, we must witness how it functions in conditions that we are unable to create. Sounds like the perfect set up for a test. For in the absence of trials, we remain ignorant in our belief that this God life truly is beneficial. I’m the first to admit, I haven’t always welcomed difficulty, and truth be told I still don’t fancy it all that much, but I do know a little bit about what the antecedents meant when they sang, “I tried Him and I know Him!” Yessuh! For in the times when I’ve been serious about transferring my faith from inside the sanctuary, or inside my head, to the external environment and the hell that surrounds me, is when I was able (and am able) to appreciate the fullness of faith and all its accoutrements.
While growing up in Chicago, I rode public transportation a lot. Now, interestingly enough, public didn’t mean free. And to be sure, the token ministry was real. One of the options when purchasing a fare with my token(s) was a transfer. A slip of paper provided access to ride one bus and then “transfer” to another. One could get into a lot of trouble for not “giving away their transfer,” but that is for a little later. After I rode one bus to a particular destination, I would get off that bus, wait for another, show my “transfer slip” and was allowed to board in order to go further. If we consider this narrative in relation to our faith, going through one experience allows us to only make it so far. It is our ability to apply what we learned from the last journey, as a prerequisite, a building block if you will, in order to continue to our next. In essence, it is what we carry from our previous encounters that enable us to be successful, or more important, survive what comes after. It is our choice to decide what we will carry, our fear or our faith; our facts or our faith; our fallacy or our faith.
Shameless plug, I went to THE BEST HIGH SCHOOL in CHICAGO, Lindblom! It was an hour away on public transportation from my home. Accordingly, I had to transfer from either a bus to a bus, or a bus to a train and then a bus. Whenever I’d exit off of one mode of transportation, there was someone asking sometimes nicely, other times in words that do not give God glory, for my “transfer slip.” If I no longer needed it, I wouldn’t mind giving it away – but it was time stamped, meaning that it could only be used for a limited time. God expects for us to share our testimony, and subsequently, our faith with others. But it is only transferable to a certain extent and for a limited amount of time. In order for each of us to understand and walk in the faith that God is calling us to, we must ride it for what it’s worth for ourselves. James 2:17 affirms, “In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” It’s like sitting at the bus stop without a time stamp on your “transfer slip” with bus after bus pulling up, going to your destination, as you sit immobile by choice. As opposed to practicing our anger and disappointment when challenges emerge, we may opt instead to treat them as a teachable, transferable exercise in faith. We can have a transferable faith, because we serve a transferable God!