When I synthesize new chemical compounds in the laboratory, the goal is to mix two (or more) reactants together under carefully controlled reaction conditions to form a new product “C” in 100% yield (A + B –> C). Although this is an honorable aspiration, it is rarely achieved. Molecules are like “tiny people” in that they can be complicated, and are full of pleasant, and some not-so-pleasant, surprises. Some chemical compounds are very reactive, and will react with almost anything in their path. Other compounds are happy the way that they are, and require a little “kick in the pants” to get them to share their electrons with other molecules.
This “kick” is usually in the form of heat or a catalyst. Heat is like giving the molecules a Red Bull, and results in the reactants moving and colliding with much more force until enough energy is supplied to “push” the molecules to the top of the potential energy curve (Ea) where they either break existing covalent bonds, or form new ones. Catalysts, on the other hand, are charismatic molecules that bring compounds together and reduce the amount of activation energy (Ea) that is necessary to break or form new bonds. The point that I am trying to make is that reactants must overcome an activation barrier to become new products.
As I was thinking about reaction thermodynamics, the thought occurred to me that our faith is a lot like energy diagrams. God often supplies either a little “heat” to my life, or He sends a “catalyst” to help me see an area that needs to be removed or transformed. It is usually not very pleasant when I am in the “activation barrier” phase of some area of spiritual growth, but when I get to the top of the hill and I get a view of where He is leading me it is always worth it.
Isn’t faith just like riding a roller coaster? There is anticipation on the way up the first hill, a moment of excitement and fear at the peak, and then laughter and screams of delight as we travel quickly down the slope to unknown adventure. Experienced “faith riders” follow God to even higher summits and eventually even put their hands above their heads towards Heaven in trust and joy on the way down the steep slopes of life. These experienced faith riders have learned to hold onto Bible verses like the one that says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those that love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28 NIV)
So where are we today in our journey of faith? Are we resting comfortably with a life full of potential “faith energy” or are we following the Holy Spirit to higher peaks of trust? Faith is a gift. We must ask God to transform our potential faith into kinetic faith so that our lives will begin to touch others and bring glory to Christ.