Tuesday, January 15, 2013

FOR 2013: ENDURING FAITH



For several months I’ve been focusing on faith.

As with most people, I keep running into circumstances for which I need God’s help—and faith.

James tells me, “Count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience” (James 1: 2-3KJ).

So there is a purpose, after all, for my battle with believing for great things.

The writer of Hebrews has even stronger words about faith. “Therefore, do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise: For yet a little while and He who is coming will come and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him” (Hebrews 10:35-38NKJ).

Hebrews 11 is the famous “Faith Chapter.” I do well with this verse: “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible” (verse 3). To me that’s the only thing that makes sense out of the marvels of our bodies and the universe--and even what we know about the laws of thermodynamics. For instance, matter can't be created or destroyed.

I think about the story I heard about God and Satan having a discussion.

"I can do anything you can," the devil bragged.

"Okay," God said. "Make a man."

So Satan stooped and began scooping up dust.

God tapped the evil creature on the shoulder. "Use your own dirt!"

But I digress for a joke.

Faith is an amazing force. I look back at Hebrews 11:1 and stand in awe,hoping and wondering whether I have faith like that: “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."

That’s the New International Version. Here it is in King James: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

I pray for that kind of faith. I want that kind of faith. I need that kind of faith.
Why?

I could say to meet my needs and the needs of my family, spiritual, physical, financial and emotional. But there is something deeper and more important: “For without faith it is impossible to please him (God), for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).

We have testimony after testimony of people who believed God, and I have testimonies of God’s mercy and faithfulness also. He has done great things. He has done miracles in our lives. Our children and grandchildren are serving the Lord and have His Word in their hearts. We’ve had miracles and healing, God’s leadership, faithfulness and blessings.

Yet, I don’t always have faith and not every prayer I prayed in faith was answered the way I would have liked.

I need strong faith for the miracles; and I need strong faith when things don't go as I’d like them to.

Yet, I feel I don’t see nearly as many answers to prayer as I should because of lack of endurance. I read one version that talked about “staggering at the promise.”

Jesus told the father of a child who needed healing, “If you believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”

The father cried out with tears running down his face, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:22-23).

That’s my heart’s cry, too.