First: K talked about giving a hope or love or passion back to God with the expectation that we will receive it back. His perspective pertains to the faith required of finite Man to interact with an all-powerful God, having more than just a generic confidence in the Provider. I've experienced this in a small way this year; I don't suppose K would have included it as something wonderful and marvelous in Fear and Trembling, but it has been a fulfilling experience for me.
I gave up something close to my heart, like my child or my great lover or my security blanket...I gave up my PLAN. Plans are good things, of course. K wouldn't have approved of my incident as an act of faith if my sacrifice wasn't a good thing in the first place. Plans are good things because they demonstrate our desire to act, a focus on life beyond the present moment, and a conscientiousness of my purpose and usefulness on this earth. I've learned a lot about plans in the past few years -- 4-year plans, summer plans, travel plans, house plans, work plans, etc. The major thing I've grappled with is how plans change, whether we like it or not (and usually, we -- okay, I -- don't.) But when a plan is swapped out for something I don't understand, when I give up my presumptions and commit myself to taking big risks, embracing my finitude and the sometimes uncomfortable nature that God gave me as a human being...when I personally commit myself to a morality that relinquishes expectations and requirements that I've copied down from "The World's Book of Success Stories"... When I did this, I became something totally different and unexpected: I became a philosophy major.
The short explanation of why this is a leap of faith for me is that I never saw myself as the graduate school type...and now I hear from everyone that I'm headed towards a PhD. WHAT? Where do I get money for that? Am I even smart enough for that? Could I really go places as a philosophy professor? They don't make money--how do I support myself?
Those are the remaining questions. Now to part II: my Faithful God.
I heard a really great song this summer by a group out of Knoxville, TN called United Pursuit Band. They write wonderful worship songs, one of which goes like this: "You provide the fire, I'll provide the sacrifice. You provide the spirit, I will open up inside. Fill me up, God." And that's what I feel like, and that's what He did. Except that, like Elijah, I had to provide the sacrifice before He ever threw down even a tiny spark or ember from heaven. And I had to rip open my chest and hold my delicate, vulnerable heart in my hands as an offering before I could see the Spirit that He would send to me. It goes both ways, faith does. In my short-sightedness, I must give; and as I do, He gives back. And for every little sacrifice that I blindly relinquished, He faithfully gave more abundantly than I could have dreamed.
Now He keeps on giving. It's usually not what I expect from Him, but as I said about this summer, it's usually better than what I plan for myself. I don't think K could have possibly gotten the whole concept of faith right (that God gives back a specific thing that we give up to Him first) because Paul said something a bit to the contrary in Romans 8: "Now, hope that is seen is not hope. Who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it patiently." The blind do not know what good things lie in store for them, nor can they begin to imagine it. The limits about which I only complain prove to be the ways God shows his power--because He is faithful.