I am relieved to report I am surviving! I have more peace today than I did a week ago. Not all the time…yet. But more of the time, and you know what? I’ll take it! I am rejoicing…still. Even when I don’t feel like it…still. And I am in awe of God’s goodness and faithfulness. He heard my cries for help, and He answered, above and beyond the itty-bitty realm of possibility from which I asked. Honesty was risked and friendship restored. Humble love was risked and a child poured out their heart, even the struggles for which I was to blame. Lying bare at the foot of the cross, God covered me. Carried me. Caused me to seek after His plan. His purpose. His ways. And then He gave me more. More of Him. More of His truth. More for my children. The more I was troubled, the more ready I was for anything He had for me. I didn’t care what the truth was, or how hard it might be to receive, I just wanted truth. And He gave. And some of it hurt. It was about me. My shortcomings. My sins. My neglect. My selfishness. My desperate need for a Savior every day. My desperate need for grace every moment. My insecurities. It hurt good, though. The kind of hurt that brings an end to the bleeding. The kind of hurt that marks the beginning of God’s healing. God’s treatment. God’s rehab. God’s deliverance. By faith.
Faith. Jesus says, “I say to you if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain , ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you’” (Matt. 17:20). A mustard seed. That’s not very big. My mole hills become mountains, and I wonder what that sliver of faith looks like. Does the fact that I’m struggling mean I have forsaken faith altogether? God shows me the answer. No! Faith isn’t always some catastrophic, life-changing moment when we say yes to God to the accompaniment of angels singing the Hallelujah chorus. Hebrews 11:1 defines faith simply as “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” It is the conviction we have that what we hope for in Christ is actually a reality today. It is the proof we and others need of the reality of what we cannot see. Faith is evidence of Jesus. It is evidence of salvation. It is evidence of hope. It is evidence of grace. Things that happen in a realm undetectable to the bodily eye are tested and proved by our faith. Sometimes it’s faith to do the big stuff God requires, like leave everything that’s comfortable and familiar, and follow after Him. But other times, like for me these last few weeks, it’s the faith to turn to God every three minutes because that’s as long as I can make it before my mind wanders to worry and He has to turn me back to Him.
Regardless of the measure of faith we have at any given moment, we simply must have faith. When we are saved by grace, it is through faith (Eph. 2:8). It is not of ourselves, but God is the one who deals each one of us the measure of faith we have (Rom. 12:3). He moves on our hearts to respond to Jesus with the faith He gives, and He saves us. Based on Hebrews 11, look at what He accomplishes by the faith He gives:
By faith, we gain understanding. By faith, we obey God from a right heart. By faith, the lives of those who have passed before us still speak to us today. By faith, God delivers. By faith, we are saved and can do the really hard things God requires. By faith, we become heirs of the righteousness that is according to faith. By faith, we can obey when we have no idea where it will lead. By faith, we can live temporarily, anchored only to Him. By faith, we can experience the impossible. By faith, we can consider Him faithful who has promised. By faith, we can seek a heavenly country. By faith, we pass the tests we face, even the extremely difficult ones. By faith, we can bless our children and speak of the future. By faith, we can defy evil rulers without fear. By faith, we can refuse position and heritage in order to be who and where God calls us. By faith, we endure. By faith, we see the unseen. By faith, we can do things that have never been done before. By faith, we can experience miracles and deliverance against all natural odds.
Everything is by faith in the unseen. Faith requires focusing on the heavenly. Faith makes the impossible insignificant. Void. Ineffective. Faith gives God all the glory. Faith preaches from our lives long after we’re gone. Faith strengthens others to faith.
The greatest faith truth for me this week? By faith, I can leave everything behind and find the ability to sacrifice even what is closest to my heart. The hard truth? Many times, the thing closest to my own heart is my own self. By faith, I can sacrifice self. That is what is on the alter right now. Me. My desires to control my children’s lives. My desire to have and be their answer. My desire to figure things out so I can fix things for them. My activities and accomplishments that supersede God’s priorities for my time and energy.
Hebrews 11 chronicles the big leagues of faith. The all-stars. Faith’s hall of fame. Abel. Enoch. Noah. Abraham. Sarah. Isaac. Jacob. Joseph. Moses. Rahab. Gideon. Barak. Samson. Jephthah. David. Samuel. The prophets. All big players. All simple men and women. Just like you and me in some way. Imperfect. Inconsistent. Interfering. Tempted. Stumbling. Manipulative. Sordid past. Yet, God gave them faith, and their faith is the evidence we need today for our faith.
“Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Heb. 11:6). Thank You, Lord, for the measure of faith You have given me. I ask You now, in Jesus’ name, please increase my faith.
And I ask You, Lord, please give every person reading this right now greater faith as we become more wholly Yours.