Recently, I was having a conversation with a friend who is teetering on the precipice of some major life changes. For months she has been having to keep on with her life and wait while the process of this change evolves.
It involves decisions of other people, but ultimately it will be sovereignly led by GOD. There is nothing she can do but wait.
Which Way to Go?
Which way will the decision go? At this point, only GOD knows. I’ve been there before. Some of you have too. Some of you are in the Waiting Room now. It is rarely pleasant. That’s not to say that good things don’t come from it, but we usually don’t see them until we are looking back on the experience.
Does Being a “Good Christian” mean I’m Bland?
Many of us would like to think that if we are really “good Christians”, we would gently float through life calmly, unruffled by difficult circumstances. I don’t think you will find that in Scripture. We were created with emotions as part of who we are. We are not robots. Neither were the characters in the Bible. They were rarely calm or emotionless.
GOD understood that when He told these people “Fear not”. He knows “not fearing” at certain times in not normal. It doesn’t seem to be an absolute command as much as a realization that as humans, frail as we are, we will be naturally fearful at times! Often the statement regarding not being fearful often has more to do with where our focus is. Is our focus on the circumstance or on the Father? cf. Matthew 14:22-33.
Waiting is Often Painful, but We Grow from It as Well
Waiting like this is another form of pain we would all like to avoid. None of us enjoy that up and down existence where we have no idea what our future holds, we are just quite sure it holds some major change for us.
In order to grow, we must go through the pain of waiting and hurting. Getting our hopes up and having them dashed in disappointment and pain. Often, feeling like we can’t go on anymore in this balance…or should I say, imbalance?
What Does It Mean to Walk by Faith?
We talked about what it means to live by faith. Does it truly mean that we are totally calm in the middle of all kinds of change looming in the distance? Rarely. When we are going through dark times and walking by faith, we hold onto our Heavenly Father all the harder. But fearful children, though they hang on tightly in the dark may still cry and feel fear.
Who or What are We Hanging Onto?
The question is: Who are we hanging onto? Are we hanging onto our self-sufficiency, our own ability, our own strength to do more…and make needed adjustments smoothly? Or do we realize that we have nothing to offer to GOD and even people around us who count on us? We have nothing to hang onto but HIM! In the darkness, when we are crying or screaming, we can still hang onto Him. Often, He is the only solid thing around!
Don’t you think this is often what faith looks like? Our common view of faith tends toward the one dimensional and sterile. But when you look at the people in Hebrews 11-12:2 who made the list of people known for their faith, you can find some colossal failures from our perspective.
Think of Abraham. He didn’t always have faith. It certainly didn’t fit the definition of someone who never faltered. He succumbed to Sarah’s pressures and had a child with Hagar. There were other times he faltered as well. Take a look in Genesis 12-25 and read the account of his life.
From GOD’s perspective, He lived a life of faith. He had faith that GOD would keep his promise despite all odds. But there were times he faltered for sure! That gives me hope. Is the pattern of my life one of faith like Abraham’s?
What Lies are You Listening To?
When our life doesn’t look smooth and unruffled during times of difficulty, we listen to the lie in our heads that hounds us and says, “See, you aren’t really walking by faith! You aren’t really believing GOD enough. You are putting Christ to shame by your behavior….”
But it is all a lie! No one walks by faith perfectly! But when a believer is trusting Christ for their future…a future they cannot see, they ARE walking by faith, however halting it is. As their life becomes more and more stressed, they hang on tighter to their Heavenly Father. Where else can they go? Fortunately, we are in relationship with Christ, the Founder and Perfecter of our Faith. (cf. Hebrews 12:2) Remember what the disciples said?
Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” John 6:68-69
Are Others Seeing Evidences of Your Faith While all You See is Black?
One way I encouraged her was to tell her that I see all kinds of evidences of faith in her life. Yes, I was more specific. I also reminded her that she is going through the blackest part of the storm…right now! God is with her. He has not forgotten her. He is at work in this situation. He is going ahead of her. He is taking care of details that she would be fretting over if she had the opportunity.
This is the time for living one day (or less) at a time. Can you tell I’ve been in this position before? I don’t have all the same concerns as she does, but I’m sharing from the concerns I did have and they are close enough for her to identify with.
The places to meditate are below, not on the what if’s, or the maybe ifs. Be encouraged as you read some of the following passages to replace the lies floating around in your head.
Don’t be put off by references to Israel. Remember that all the people of GOD are now part of the house of Israel.
Listen to the TRUTH!
But you, Israel, my servant,
Jacob, whom I have chosen,
the offspring of Abraham, my friend;
you whom I took from the ends of the earth,
and called from its farthest corners,
saying to you, “You are my servant,
I have chosen you and not cast you off”;
fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
But now thus says the Lord,
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
I give Egypt as your ransom,
Cush and Seba in exchange for you.
Because you are precious in my eyes,
and honored, and I love you,
I give men in return for you,
peoples in exchange for your life.
So we are always of good courage…
for we walk by faith, not by sight.
II Corinthians 5:6-7