Courage to Trust; Courage to Stand

The first time I asked God for help as a new believer I was stunned by His response: “Kathie, will you trust Me in this?”  Huh?  Back then I did not know HOW to respond to God’s “answer” that came in the form of a question.  Thinking that He misunderstand my question, I very carefully re-framed it.  Funny thing though, His original response seemed to hang in the air everywhere I looked: “Kathie, will you trust me in this?”  It took a while but over time I finally “got it.”  I eventually understood that, whether or not we fully understand what God says, does or allows, is not nearly as important as our willingness to trust in Him alone.  That is essentially the gist of what the apostle Paul meant when he wrote about the challenges of living on this earth in II Corinthians 5:

“For we live by faith, not by sight.” (Verse 7)  

Building a faith relationship with God often requires courage.  Cambridge Dictionaries Online defines courage as, “the ability to control fear and to be willing to deal with something that is dangerous, difficult, or unpleasant.”  The best way to  “control fear” is to interject our faith in God by giving thanks to Him for His love and mercy.   It is as we “live by faith, not by sight” that courage helps us face danger, difficulty and the unpleasant stresses that are part of life.

In an earlier entry I wrote about how a living faith requires courage to love and forgive.  (Click here to check it out.)   Along with loving and forgiving, a living faith may also call for courage to trust and to stand as God gives us strength.    I find it ironic (and somewhat amusing) that God called me to be a counselor even though I am fearful, hate confrontation and am a people-pleaser!  Were I to work with clients in my own strength, my counsel would be of little significance because much of it would be based on fear or strongly influenced by the opinions of  others.   What gives real meaning to the counseling process (and life in general) is the interjection of faith (commitment/courage to trust God) as His Holy Spirit and the Scriptures speak to the heart and mind.  Ultimately, the blessing for the majority of my clients is that as they rely on the Scriptures for guidance, they also discover their place to stand.

Are you facing a challenge that is overwhelming you?  Me to.   At times like these I am tempted to let my fears take over.  (Deep down, I want to be any place other than where I am.)  But that “answer” that came in the form of a question so long ago (“Kathie, will you trust me in this?“) continues to provide the courage needed to trust in Him.  The blessing is that when I let go of those old fears, He provides the courage I would otherwise lack to stand, to wait and to marvel as His amazing Plan is worked out.   I promise you, no matter what you may be facing, HE is so very worthy of your trust!

All to His Glory!

The Miracle of Faith

Heartache or disappointment can unexpectedly hit our lives every bit as hard as a physical blow.  When that happens and we manage to catch our breath, we begin to wonder: “Why?”  “What did I do?”  or, “What’s wrong with me?”  The problem with such questions is that many times there is no logical answer.  We want to come to grips with some understanding in the hope of “fixing” the problem.  We forget the real problem, that we live in a broken and corrupt world that has rejected God’s goodness.  I believe the better question that God has challenged me with gets more to the point:  “Kathie, will you trust Me with this?”  It is in our willingness to trust God with our hurts that the companion question arises, “How strong is your faith?” 

There was a time when I desired the faith of the Roman centurion because he so impressed Jesus.  As a new believer, I wanted to impress Jesus too.  Over time I came to realize that my motive was about feeding my pride, a far cry from what Jesus so delighted in when the centurion approached Him saying:

“Lord . . . my servant lies at home paralyzed and in terrible suffering.”
Jesus said to him, “I will go and heal him.”
The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof.  But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
When Jesus heard this, He was astonished and said to those following Him, “I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.   Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! It will be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that very hour.  (Matthew 8:6-10, 13)

I may have craved the faith of the centurion but I did not appreciate that it was his love for his servant and the humility he demonstrated that were so precious.  Also, the centurion demonstrated a respect and confidence in Jesus’ ability to heal his servant that must have been like a refreshing breeze, delighting the heart of God’s Son.

While I continue to desire the faith of the centurion, I must confess that my faith is often more in tune with the father who sought  healing for his son in Mark 9:

“. . . if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”
“‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes.”
Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
(verses 22b-24)

Jesus did not send the father away saying, “Come back when you have your spiritual ducks in a row!”  No, Jesus healed the son.   I confess that often, when facing those reeling times when I can’t make sense of things that have happened to me, it is Jesus’ response to second man that encourages my heart as I pray: “Lord, I believe . . . help me in my unbelief!”

The thing that I have come to appreciate about faith (great and small) is that it is a miracle granted to us by a gracious and loving God.  

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–“  (Ephesians 2:8)

 As I look at the interactions between Jesus and both men I marvel at  His kindness in meeting them where they were (and where they weren’t) in their faith and am comforted.

Over time I have learned that to answer God’s question with, “Yes Lord, I will trust you,”  has been the largest contributor to strengthening my faith.  Are you looking to strengthen yours?  Then remember the miraculous gift that your faith is as you trust Him with the challenges you face.

All to His Glory!