“And 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 seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6
Many years ago, I had two miscarriages in one year, and all three of my children had pneumonia, chicken pox, ruptured ears and encephalitis–all within two months! We had made a move to a very tiny town in Texas and I had no friends, Clay had no job, and we were almost out of money. I was quite tired and struggled with depression but was really seeking answers from the Lord. We lived with my mother-in-law at the time, and going for long walks by myself was the only way I could get away to think and pray.
One day, as I was walking the long, barren country road near our home, and pondering, it was as if the Lord said to me, “Sally, if I took everything away from you that you hold dear, would you still believe in me?” It was suddenly as though God was shining a spotlight onto the deepest part of my soul. And I found at the very bottom of it, that with all the difficulties that a fallen world could throw at me, I would still rather hold on to my faith in God and believe in His love and goodness for the rest of my life, than to choose a life of existentialism and despair. And a realization came to me that this choice would require constant vigilance–that I would have to guard my heart and feed it with the truth of God’s word and His constancy in my life if it were to continue to stand.
A part of me realized that day that faith was planting a flag, so to speak, in my heart, and deciding to settle it once and for all–that for the rest of my life, no matter what, I would choose to believe in the Bible, to know that Jesus was real, and to trust that God was loving, no matter what! Faith was the assurance of things hoped for but not seen. Faith was choosing to hope in Him every day, acting on that faith and hope, and understanding that without this commitment of my will to choosing to believe and hope, I couldn’t be pleasing to God or sense His wisdom and hand upon my life.
I would look back on that day as a day which would determine my present and future walk with God.
Making a decision to stand for faith meant many things. It meant I would choose to believe the best, and act in light of what scripture said He was–loving, righteous, good, kind, wise, and so on. I would believe in light when I found myself in darkness. I would believe that love redeemed and was a perfect bond of unity, even when I was confronted with unloving, immature people.
It meant choosing to believe that God did listen to my prayers and that the prayer of a righteous person avails much–and that in His time, I would see eternal results–even if it wasn’t on my time schedule.
I knew that if every time something difficult happened to me, I put God on trial again, that I would only be unstable and insecure in life–wondering and fearing when the next trial or danger would come my way. But I also had the sense that if I built my life on the foundation of believing in Him, sowing faithfulness and goodness, that I would reap the blessing of freedom and peace from sowing on true and eternal principles.
“Do not be deceived. God is not mocked. Whatever a man sows, this will he also reap.” (Galatians 6:7)
I decided never again to go to the active place of doubt–I would disregard it because of my once and for all commitment to believe in God, period. I pictured that in the same way that I made a promise that I would stay married to Clay and choose to love him unconditionally for all of our years–that divorce would never be an option–that I needed to picture my commitment to God like that–forever and final.
As I look back over the years, my commitment determined my behavior and always gave me direct instructions in which way to go–always to God, always to faith and always to obedience always to the word.
To take your study deeper today, take a few moments to complete the reflection and application below.
- “He who would please God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6 Have you made a decision to plant a flag of faith in your own life? What challenges that commitment?
- “As far as it is possible with you, be at peace with all men.” Romans 12:18 Everyone has times of relational difficulty, unless they live as a hermit! Is there someone you should make peace with today?
- “Ask and it shall be given to you, seek and you shall find, knock and the door will be open for you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks, finds and to him who knocks, it shall be opened.” Matthew 7:7-8 Do you believe that God hears you? That He will answer in time? How can you strengthen your soul in order to continue choosing rightly in the midst of daily challenges?