Monday, May 23, 2011

extraordinary faith

So this month’s topic for my happiness project is faith. Faith is a tricky thing. It’s is easy to say that we have faith, but actually living out your faith difficult is much harder. Can you have faith if it is not put to the test? Life is hard. Life hurts. And it’s in those tough moments that we have a choice. We can let life overwhelm and drown us or we can stand firm on our faith and trust that God will sustain us and bring us through. In her book ‘Extraordinary Faith,’ Shelia Walsh says, “Either we believe that God is good and He is in control of everything that happens in our lives, or we don’t. I believe He is. I believe it with all my heart.” Do you believe that?

This month has been a testing of my faith. (Actually the past two years have been, but who is counting?) ;) I always seem to learn the hard way, but sometimes I think that is better. I’ve mentioned in previous posts about plans and letting go. Often the hopes and dreams we have for ourselves fall apart and we don’t understand why. It is devastating and lonely to feel as though you’ve missed the boat and blown God’s plan for your life.

I’ve felt that many times in the past couple years. If only I had done (fill in the blank) instead of such and such, my life would be better and different. It’s a vicious cycle of regret that gets us nowhere. I constantly feel as though I’m at square one without a map. As Shelia said, “Perhaps that is the whole point of faith: that we follow God faithfully when nothing makes sense anymore.” That’s exactly the point, isn’t it? It wouldn’t be faith if we didn’t have to put our trust in what we cannot see and cannot know. That is part of the beauty of faith.

So what do we do? We trust and obey. And many times, we wait. Shelia goes on to say that if you find yourself feeling as if you have lost your way, these are the questions to ask: “Lord, where have You brought me from?” “Lord, where do you want me to go?” It is so important to seek God and He is big enough to handle all our worries and burdens. And I find it so reassuring to look at God’s track record in my life. God has never left me. God has always provided me with just what I need. God has always shown me the way I should go.

Shelia said, “Often the path that leads us to the place where God can use us most effectively is a path of suffering.” I don’t like hearing that, (I’m sure no one does) but we are reassured that whatever we are facing, whether good or bad, we are loved abundantly and unconditionally by God, who is always faithful to us. Although isn’t this true with most things in life? We learn the important lessons through mistakes we make and the hard things that happen in life.

So once again, I am not sure where I am headed or what is next in my life, but I am certain that God has it figured out. One of the most beautiful things I’ve learned (re-learned) this month is that God is ALWAYS with me. Isn’t that a duh statement? Hello, how long have I known this?! God is with ME! He will NEVER leave me! Corrie ten Boom said, “There is no pit so deep that God’s love is not deeper still.” No matter what happens in life I can depend on God. Thank God for His love and faithfulness to His children!

Shelia Walsh said, “Faith is believing that no matter how things appear on the surface, God is in control. I think that is both faith’s challenge and reward. The challenge is that humanly we want to see with our own eyes what God is doing. We are willing to give an unwavering yes to God if we know His plan and are given the opportunity to sign off on it. But the adventure and reward of faith is that He asks us to trust based on who He is, not on what we can see.”


James 1:2-4 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

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