Faith. The Bible defines faith as the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Webster defines faith as a firm belief even in the absence of proof; to have complete confidence. I would describe faith as the area of life I wrestle with the most.
Like most children in the southern part of the United States during the 80’s, I grew up in the church. I attended Sunday School, Children’s Church, and both Sunday and Wednesday night services. In other words, if the doors were open I was there. I had great leaders, teachers, and mentors who poured into my life while growing up. However, I somehow reached my forties deficient in one important area – knowing what it means to live by faith. To really believe that God will do what He says He will do. I am not talking about the “name it and claim it type of faith.” I am talking about the faith required to believe the things God has spoken to you. The faith it takes to step out of the boat and walk with Jesus on the water.
I remember one season of life in my thirties when I became disillusioned with “common” Christianity. I remember thinking “there has to be more to the Christian walk than what I see.” I desperately longed for the Bible to come alive, but to be honest, the stories often felt very similar to childhood fairy tales.
Then life changed. Little by little God began to lead us in unfamiliar directions. Would we trust Him if His desire for our family was to have more than the societal norm of two children? Would we walk away from our jobs and a secure income? Would we trust Him if His will was to give up home ownership and live in a rental house for an unspecified amount of time?
Would we let go of our privacy and allow God to use our family as a light in the darkness?
Each step of faith brings new questions.
Will you obey me while other people question your judgment? Are you willing to look foolish while not understanding my plan? Are you willing to let go of your identity so I can give you a new one? Will you work to further my kingdom instead of building your own?
While on this crazy journey my husband and I often ask ourselves this question- “At what point do we abort the mission?” We could decide to stop living by faith and become “normal” again. We could return to our former way of living and stop radically trusting God. Wouldn’t that be the wise thing to do, especially when we don’t know the plan?
As I wrestle with my own lack of faith, which may or may not include intense sobbing at 1 am, I have realized something. I must make a decision. James 1:8 says “A double minded man is unstable in all of his ways.”
Faith in God requires me to have faith all the way to the end. A faith like Abraham that endures all the way to the sacrificial alter, like the three Hebrew children facing the firey furnace, and like Daniel going into the lion’s den. I can’t have a faith that says, “I just quit” when life gets too uncomfortable – if that kind of faith is even faith at all.
I often wonder about those who gave up too soon?
What if Noah had told the Lord, “I will only build the boat for 60 days or even 60 years. If after 60 days I don’t see rain, I quit!” Some may argue that Noah had faith for 60 days, and isn’t that enough to ask of someone? I think if Noah would have given up God would have used someone else. We do know what happened to Abraham and Sarah when they ran out of faith too soon. God in his faithfulness, still gave them the promise of a child, yet, they also had to deal with Ishmael. God continued to teach Abraham how to have faith in Him. It was only after Abraham’s obedience in the sacrifice of Isaac that God said, “Now I know that you fear me.”
Despite all the questions, I now find myself clinging to the God I wanted to know so deeply in my thirties. The Christian journey is far from boring. In fact, it feels more like the most breathtaking roller coaster ride with every turn leaving me wondering what is around the corner!
Perhaps you can identify. Maybe you have some promises you have not yet seen fulfilled. Perhaps you too need to dig your heels in deep and decide to have a faith that won’t relent. A faith that won’t quit and doesn’t give up! A faith that clings to God in a very real way through the roller coaster ride of life.