Strong. Faith. (July 11)

If someone had told me that there was a brown ladybug, I would never have believed them.

When, at lunch, sitting at a picnic table, I noticed this brown ladybug, I didn’t believe it. When I told Joe about it, he also didn’t believe it. 

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We both thought that maybe he was not alive anymore…So I poked him. And he wiggled his legs and stuck his antenna out at me! And I finally believed! Having seen a ladybug, exactly camouflaged to match a picnic table, I now believe that such a thing exists!

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Jesus said Because you have seen Me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed…(John 20:29) 

And that’s the beginning of faith, isn’t it? You decide to believe in something, even though you can’t see it.

We do it all the time. Gravity is a prime example. We can’t see it, but we see evidence that points to it…

Like the way water sprayed into the air falls back to the earth…

Wait for it….wait for it…

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Go! Go! Go!

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Or the way the gravitational pull of the moon and the sun contribute to the tides and the waves that ripple the eelgrass beds…

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So, we see the evidence, and we decide to believe in gravity.

I see the evidence of a Heavenly Father, and Son and Holy Spirit. Even though I can’t see, I believe.

Someone asked me recently if I’ve always had such a strong faith. It’s not the first time that someone has asked about the strong faith in our family, or that I’ve heard people talk about the strong faith of other people…And actually, when I first believed in the Lord, I thought that other people had strong faith and that, over time, I might grow to have strong faith, too.

But now, I don’t think of it in quite the same way…And I don’t consider myself to have a strong faith, at all.

In the story of Peter walking on water, after having stepped out of the boat and walked for several paces, Peter saw the waves and became fearful, immediately sinking into the raging water. Jesus lifted him up right away, and asked him – You of little faith, why did you doubt? Over time, this has become an amazing illustration to me of the nature of faith. It sounds like Peter needed more faith. But a pastor once pointed out that, with his little faith, Peter was walking on the water. And, when you think about it, Jesus said that faith the size of a mustard seed was enough to cast a mountain into the sea. So, maybe Peter didn’t have a faith problem after all…It’s just that when faced with what he could see, he didn’t persist in believing in what he couldn’t see but knew to be true…

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see…(Hebrews 11:1)

There are times when I’ve felt like I had a “strong” faith or “a lot of” faith. Like when we realized we were supposed to move to Bellingham, and we put our house on the market. For almost 2 years, a For Sale sign sat in our front yard. Several real estate agents tried to convince us that we would never sell without them. But we persisted in saying that God was our real estate agent, and we knew that He would arrange the sale with the right people at the right time. One agent even argued with us – “Well, of course, you can pray, too, but you need a real estate agent out there working for you.But we stood firm – unless God told us to work with an agent, we just weren’t going to. God never did direct us to get a real estate agent (though He certainly could have)…And of course, He did sell our house to the right people at the right time. That was a time when I felt quite strong and unwavering in my faith.

Or when our house sold, but we had no job or house in Bellingham – would we really just go there, and hope everything worked out? Yes! Because we were following God’s instruction to us, we would go in confidence, and we did, and everything worked out step-by-step.

Or when it was time to re-build our engine, having never done it before, working outside with only bicycles for transportation, trusting that we would be successful because we were following God’s direction to us…And we were!

But there are so many times, day-by-day, when my feelings would tell me that my faith isn’t strong enough, isn’t big enough, that I just need to have more faith…My feelings about my level of faith aren’t consistent, and there’s a reason for that – the truth is, actually, strength, size, and amount are not relevant measures of faith! 

The way I would describe it, instead, is that faith either is or isn’t…You believe or you don’t….It’s on or off. So, I think of it as being stubborn in my faith. Persistent. If God’s word is true, it’s always true, no matter how I feel or what I see or what others see.

So I’ve just decided to believe. And I keep deciding to believe every time I get the chance 🙂 And if I stumble, and I look at the waves and become fearful, I just remind myself of God’s word and decide again to believe in it 🙂

I’m not strong in my faith, but I am super-stubborn about it. The thing is, there’s really not anything I can do in my own strength, but I can do everything God has planned for me by stubbornly believing His Word, over and over again!

He has so much truth for us…

Truths that guide our everyday life…

Do not worry about your food, what you will eat…

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or your clothes, what you will wear…Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away, but your Heavenly Father feeds them…(Matthew 6:25-26)

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Truths that lead us ever-closer to Him…

Seek first the Kingdom of God…(Matthew 6:33)

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength…(Luke 10:27)

If you Love me, you will obey my commands…(John 14:15)

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It’s not always easy…

In this world, you will have trouble…(John 16:33)

But it is simple…

But take heart! I have overcome the world! (John 16:33)

The Word of God is true, it’s alive, and it’s always with me, teaching, instructing, reminding, guiding. I know that I’ll never have a strong faith, myself. But I will continue to be stubborn, returning always to the Truth that guides my life.

Your Word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light upon my path…(Psalm 119:105)

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