Welcome April from Hearts on Guard. She's an army wife and working mother who has great words to share with us.
"Faith must trample underfoot all reason, sense, and understanding."
Doubt. Fear. Worry. Reason.
These all can shake our faith.
I'm sure we've all been there. Sobbing with grief. Wracked with worry. Fearful of what the future holds for us. Questioning our understanding of God and His promises.
Nurturing our faith is a daily undertaking. You see, the enemy is around us always, seeking to disconnect us from God's word, planting seeds of doubt wherever he can. None are immune to his attempts. Remember even Jesus could not avoid the devil's attacks on his faith, although He is the only one who could ever truly resist.
"Be sober-minded; be watchful.
Your adversary the devil prowls around
like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering
are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world."
- Peter 5:8-9
But how can we ensure we are "firm in our faith"?
We may think to ourselves... if only Jesus were here. If only I could touch him, see him, talk to him. If only I could witness God's miracles firsthand. Oh how much easier it would be to have faith.... if only......
But remember, dear friends, that those who saw Jesus -- those who lived with him, traveled with him, served with him and learned from him -- those people all failed to be firm in faith at some point as well.
Luke 8:25 shows the disciples marveling and questioning who Jesus was after he calmed the storm with simple words. They let common sense take over, despite what they were witnessing firsthand.
John 20:1 tells of Mary Magdalene going to the tomb on the third day with her spices to anoint Jesus's body. Yet, had she been firm in faith, she would have believed and trusted all those times when Jesus had foretold of his resurrection. Instead, she let logic and reason -- and perhaps overwhelming grief -- cloud her faith and distract her from what she'd seen and heard from Jesus himself.
And in the Old Testament, how often did the ancient Israelites walk away from God and turn to idolatry? Despite God's saving them and providing for them repeatedly, they were not firm in faith either.
We do not have the benefit of seeing Jesus in the flesh, or witnessing amazing miracles of God such as the parting of the Red Sea. But that is okay. For we are no different than the disciples or the Israelites. We, too, would have wavered in our faith. We, too, would have still questioned and would have still doubted.
Instead of wishing for clearer, tangible signs of His truth to strengthen our faith, let us pray for the Holy Spirit to help us let go and leave everything up to God.
"One of the noblest and most precious virtues of faith is to close one's eyes to this,
ingenuously to desist from exploring the why and the wherefore,
and cheerfully to leave everything to God.
Faith does not insist on knowing the reason for God's actions,
but it still regards God as the greatest goodness and mercy.
Faith holds to that against and beyond all reason, sense, and experience,
when everything appears to be wrath and injustice."
I leave you today with this prayer...
Lord, God -- today I pray that you would help us to cast our burdens on you. Help us to remember that our help comes from you, whether we can see it or feel it or not. May the Holy Spirit strengthen our faith and lead us back to your son each day, strengthening our hearts so we may resist the devil's advances. Help us to trust your words and your promise that you will not forsake us. In Jesus's name we pray. Amen.