Sometimes, when I hear people talk about “having faith,” the conversation has the flavor of a magic spell.

Being faithful, on the other hand, contains the taste of perseverance—of walking faithfully through the valley of the shadow of death.

One of these can be more welcome than the other.

There is a tension to be maintained between Matthew 17:20 and James 1. I haven’t quite figured out the balance between those two, but I take comfort in the fact that both are equally part of the Christian life. To walk faithfully through trials, and let them do their character-building work in us, is as much a spiritual discipline as asking for the miraculous—and vice-versa.

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