I have faith. Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as Messiah and Lord. In His power to heal and save. I have faith. Faith in our heavenly Father who created all things through His breath and His Word.
Or so I think.... Or so I say.... But do I? Do I really?
A series of unfortunate events have entered our family scenario over the past five years or so. Small but significant in our lives. As time goes on, they bare increasingly collective weight upon us emotionally, physically and financially.
Things have intensified during the past several months in almost all these areas. As Jacob did, I found myself wrestling with God on more than one occasion about many of these things. Asking for His blessing. I've been on my knees in prayer many hours for many months over many of the same things. I do recognize the testing here. Waiting for the mountain to move. Waiting for the persistence in prayer to pay off. Waiting for resolution or absolution, whatever the case may be. It has not come. The pressure increases. The waiting is difficult. I know in my mind that the waiting will bear fruit but I struggle still.
Hard questions like this one come forth in hard times. The testing and trials of this life. God wants us to back up our words with action. We say we have faith in Him but do we really mean it? He will test us in our faith. Guaranteed.
Do I have faith that He exists? Yes. Do I have faith that He sent His son to die for my transgressions, be raised again on the third day to new life? Yes. Do I believe that by confessing, repenting and receiving His gift of salvation, I receive His grace daily and have a future in eternity. Yes and Amen!
But yet.... Do I have true faith? If I don't have true faith, then I don't trust Him, do I?
Faith and Trust
Faith and trust go hand-in-hand. Only through pure faith can you have complete trust in the Lord Almighty. After all, He is unseen and often works in mysterious ways. You can't see Him, touch Him, smell Him. Not in absolutes like the things of this world. He defies explanation. He is beyond human comprehension. He is not of this world. Not of flesh but spirit. His instruction manual is one book, His Holy Word. Sounds simple but yet it isn't. He talks through prophets, apostles, angels, kings, parables and His Spirit. His technical school is on-the-job training through the school of 'hard knocks' in walking through this life one day at a time. It takes a lifetime to learn His will and His ways.
Faith earns its muscle through the testing and trials of this life. We do believe yet we lack faith. Our faith is often shallow. We like to live in the faith that fulfills our human desires rather than the desires that God has for us. He desires us to become more like Him and acquire the things that are not of this world. To live in the Spirit rather than the flesh.
As long as things are flowing smoothly in our lives, we stand confident in our faith. However, when the winds of change blow our way and our world is turned upside down by the unforeseen, unexpected circumstances, we waiver. We grasp to hold onto something secure, something within our sphere of influence. We want to take control. We often put our faith in our own abilities to fix things. Our pure faith falters. Our trust walks right out the door taking our faith with it. We fall on our faces suffering the consequences of lack of faith.
But then we remember Who is always in control. Of EVERYTHING.
As this journey continues, I find myself taking things one day at a time most of the time. Thanking Him for life and breath, for blessings, and focusing on the positives. Having faith. But then, the darkness will begin to close in, the oppressiveness of the situation looms large, and I cry out in desperation and fear. I have lost hope. I have lost sight of the One Who is control of everything.
I must walk by faith and not by sight. For we live by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7 If I lose hope, I have a faith that falters. I forget that He is in control. That He works all things together for good. That He is for me, not against me.
In the trials and the testing, do I falter in my hope because of fear and doubt? Do I take Him at His Word and believe ALL of His promises or do I subject His Word to my own interpretations? Most importantly, is my love for Him conditional upon a smooth, trial-free life?
I need to remind myself that I can make my plans but He directs my steps. Do I place my hope in myself or in other people? Do I place my hope in the things of this world? My reasoning is faulty at best because I don't see the whole picture. I lack His vision.
Perfect love casts out fear. When I have doubt or fear, my love for Him is wavering. If our love for Him is pure, then we can boldly stand in victory no matter what the circumstance. We can trust in His ways and His will.
Love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. Everyday and in every circumstance. Faith, Hope, Love. Fully devoted in heart and soul demonstrated by a fullness of walking life out in faith in His promises. Having the mind of Christ, to walk like Him, talk like Him, do what He would do. Living in the power of His love and pouring it out on others.
And, if love is the greatest of these, then we must walk out our lives in fullness of faith and hope knowing, beyond a doubt, that He is true to His Word always. That He is LOVE. His love is honest, pure and unconditional. Our love for Him should be rooted in Who He is and not what He does for us.
FAITH, HOPE and LOVE
Faith, hope and love--they work together for our good. Faith and hope produce trust, obedience, surrender, peace, and the unsurpassed, unconditional love that He desires. We want what He wants. Our will becomes as His. We must have a secure faith and unrelenting hope in Him to love Him as He deserves. Our relationship with God becomes more important than anything. As we draw closer to Him, He draws closer to us. The darkness will gradually fade and everything will be brought into His marvelous light.
Faith, hope and love. They give us humility and confidence as we approach the throne of grace. With purity in these three things, we win the spiritual battle and attain perfect peace. His is our peace. We are solely devoted to Him through a pure faith, hope and love. Nothing can separate us!
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers,