Inside: A story for when your faith is tested
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Both of my children have owned a favorite stuffed animal or security blanket since they were babes. Brown Bear and Puppy go with us everywhere.
Somedays I think they may be too old for this, but it provides my children security and joy. And I know soon they will be too old to at least admit they have a security blanket.
My security blanket was a pink dinosaur T-rex that I received for my 6th birthday. (I was obsessed with dinosaurs and The Land Before Time). His name was Dino. (I know, the creativity of 6-year-olds…)
But I loved that dinosaur; he went with me everywhere (perhaps that’s why I don’t think it’s a big deal for my kids). One time, when I was 16, I left him in a hotel room. Dino was so important to me that I made my parents call the hotel to find this pink dinosaur for their teenager.
I even still have this dinosaur, though these days he mostly collects dust or rotates through my children’s rooms.
I don’t know why I kept that silly pink dinosaur.
But I keep going back to the security. I’m not even sure I would say a stuffed animal back then made me feel secure.
My security blanket these days lies in:
- Financial security,
- Food in my pantry,
- The predictability of schedules and routines.
- And even the luxury of all the little extras in our life
But almost all those have been yanked from our lives recently.
Before recent events, I would have said my ultimate security rested in God and in my faith.
And I would have believed it, and you would have believed it. It is, after all, the good Christian answer and what I want to be true.
But the reality is I’m scared.
However, if I truly place my security in our Heavenly Father and trust that He will fulfill his promises, then what do I have to fear?
What, then, shall we say in response to these things?
If God is for us, who can be against us?Romans 8:31 (NIV)
I believe God has good plans for my life,
But when my routine and security were shredded, I was reminded of how much further I need to grow. I’m reminded that faith in God requires more than hollow words. My faith requires daily actions and a renewal of my mind and confession every day.
After all, the only constants in life are change and God.
I am the Alpha and the Omega—the beginning and the end,” says the Lord God. “I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come—the Almighty One.”Revelation 1:8 (NLT)
So I must pray and choose every day to step forward in faith.
I don’t know about you, but asking God to increase my faith elevates my anxiety to the highest cliffs. (because if I pray it, then something tragic will have to happen to make my faith increase, right?)
But the thing is, as I learned recently from my friend and author, C.E. White, it’s not about if, but when. In her book, Trusting God When You’re Struggling with Faith, she talks about how people don’t want to pray for patience for a similar reason.
But it’s not about the prayer, because eventually, we will need patience. Not because God is waiting to send down rain on us, but because he wants to give us great things and he can only do that to the fullest when we throw off everything that hinders us and allow him to lead us to the finish line.
Ever heard the Christian joke about not praying for patience because then God will send you something you must be patient for?
Gods not twirling his mustache and gleefully dumping troubles on our heads when we ask Him to grow us. He wants to grow us so we have the tools we need to handle what’s already coming.
Pray for patience, because you’re going to need it. We’re all going to need it. We will have to wait for something-for lots of things, actually—throughout our lives. We will have to wait for big things and small things and petty things and desperately painful things.Trusting God When You’re Struggling with Faith: C.E. White
The same is true when we ask God to give us more faith. It’s not a matter of if we need more faith, but when. We must allow God to grow our faith so he can do great things.
Because just as we can be sure we will need patience, we know we will need faith.
God does not promise a life of ease, quite the opposite. The lives of Joseph, Esther, and Mary, mother of Jesus, just to name a few, were not easy lives.
- The betrayal Joseph must have felt when his brothers abandoned him into slavery. (Genesis 37)
- The trembling fear Esther must have faced to stand up to the king for God’s people. (Esther 4)
- And Marry’s utter incomprehension and plausible doubt of finding out you were pregnant with the son of God of all things. (Luke 1:26-38)
In our Westernized society, our lives of convenience and ease often hinder our outlook. We become trapped in the snare and secular thinking that the more we have, the more joy and happiness we will have.
And not only that, but any time a perceived threat comes barreling into our lives, we rush into the crowds and link up with the masses for toilet paper, gas, or gallons of milk thinking these things might save us or make us secure and happy.
But it’s just not true.
If that is your perspective you’ll never have enough and you’ll never be happy or secure. And we as Christians are called to a greater cause and to make people ask why we have the peace that passes understanding (Philippians 4:7 NIV).
If we follow the masses are we following that call?
While I’m not saying to sit at home instead of buying needed supplies, I am saying let’s consider the reason behind our impulsive pursuit.
I recently finished the book, The Blue Zones: 9 Lessons for Living Longer. While not a Christian read (obvious by the title I’m sure), one story caused me to be awestruck: (summarized from my memory)
The author and his colleagues traveled to different areas to study people who have been known to live to their 90s and beyond with minimal to no health problems. In one village, they visited an elderly woman who literally didn’t know where her next meal was going to come from. Later, one of the researchers returned to offer her $20.
The woman’s response is what caused my goosebumps:
She told the researcher, I knew God was going to provide, and here you are.
If someone, who literally has nothing, can have peace and assurance that God will provide, then I with my air-conditioned home, multiple clothes lying on my couch, and a stocked pantry and fridge can trust God to provide.
Blessed are the poor in spirit,Matthew 5:3 (NIV)
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
So, while I don’t know the future (truer words have never been spoken in our current situation), I do know who holds the future and we are in His hands.
Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. 24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.Ephesians 4: 23-24 (NLT)
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