Faith

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I used to have this verse hanging via decal on my living room wall. Then I moved from Waco and never replaced it. Still I find myself doodling it a lot

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the men of old gain approval. By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible…and without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” –Hebrews 11

If I told you I took a spiritual gifts test on Sunday and faith came back as one of my strongest spiritual gifts would you believe me? Honestly, I was somewhat shocked. The knowledge and wisdom aspects didn’t surprise me as much. I am a learner. I love gaining knowledge about anything and everything. Scripture is no exception to this rule. Concerning wisdom, I understood how I ranked so highly on that. From my knowledge, I had experienced spiritual maturity and began to be able to practically apply that knowledge I had grown up with my entire life.

But faith…really…faith? Faith is for the crazy people that believe God is capable of everything right? Faith is for people like Abraham, Moses, and David. But me? God granted me the gift of faith? I was honestly taken aback. This simply cannot be so. Yet then again, I did mark a five out five on the line “I feel assured that a situation will change for the glory of God even when the situation seems impossible.” 

Then I read the text box for faith:

Faith trusts God to work beyond the human capabilities of the people. Believers with this gift encourage others to trust in God in the face of apparently insurmountable odds. (1 Corinthians 12:9)

If you want to talk about yelling at God for saying a situation is impossible, I am probably your poster child. Still, I realized this very reason is why it hit me so much.

Make no mistake, I am always the first person to say “don’t doubt God, you never know what He could be up to.” But saying it and believing it. Well, those are two completely different scenarios. Yet here I sit, faith tied for the highest score on my spiritual gifts.

The faith one is the one that hit me the most because it’s the one that has felt so real in my life for the past few years. I had to go beyond hearing it and knowing it to living it and believing it. Ultimately, it was this faith that God is in the midst of everything and is able to overcome seemingly insurmountable odds that my ex and I became so close.

He was going through one of the, if not the, toughest time in his life up to that point at least. I could sense his anger. I could sense his hopelessness. I could sense there were moments he wanted to ask God why He would place such an egregious situation in his life.

As he went through these circumstances, I would sit with him and try to make him talk to me. I knew he didn’t want to, but I still encouraged him by letting him know that I was there 24/7 if he ever needed a support through everything he had to face. Although we weren’t yet dating at this point, let’s be honest I inherently knew I loved him (whether I was ready to admit it or not is a topic for later discussion), and all I wanted was assurance he would be okay no matter what happened.

I distinctly remember one night at our local city park. He and I and a few other friends all went down to the park to hang out, goof off, be kids, whatever. We were 16 year olds that wanted to stay out until curfew. Though while we were all joking around, he separated himself from the group. He climbed up to the top of one of the slides and just stood there analyzing his surroundings. I figured his mind had to be racing with thoughts so I climbed up there with him to see what was going on. Like I said, my goal in the entire situation was to always make sure he was okay.

He opened up to me that night. He told me how angry he was at everything. He told me how he felt alone, almost like his other siblings didn’t quite understand the feelings he was trying to work through. And most importantly he told me he just didn’t get it. I sat there and listened and then proceeded to talk him through his anger. I told him God had an end to this situation but it would require a lot of faith on his behalf. I told him God would use the hurtful and seemingly impossible circumstances in his life to not only grow him stronger as a person, but also bring glory to His name. I remember telling him it may seem weird now, but you’ll see how God will work this out.

I held his hand (literally and figuratively) as he moved forward with a battle he never thought he would have to face in his life. It’s coming up on seven years, and I pray he is able to see how God used and is still using this situation and how everything worked out because I know I can.

Little did I know, however, that years later God would use him to shatter my world, and in my heart-broken state I would have to begin uttering those same words of faith I gave him on the slide that night to myself. I could no longer look at him and tell him everything was going to be okay and move on with my life. I had to learn how to hear and believe the truths God was speaking into my life, even though I can recall pulling into the parking garage at Baylor one day and in my prayer simply saying “God…it’s impossible”, to which his response to me was “I am God all-sufficient. I will make it possible.”

My faith grew that day.

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El Shaddai in Hebrew

As I discussed this aspect of faith with those around me, I realized the journey God brought me down was one very much of faith-solidifying. God knew the faith was there, but I had to realize it. I had to dig deeper into myself than I ever had before and cling to God harder than I ever had before (which I am still doing). It was either that or fall WAY off the deep end. I would think my friends and family are happy I chose the former as opposed to the latter.

But faith-solidifying is really where I fell at. Once that was laid out before me, I could see the truth in my spiritual gifts test. I could tell God had given me this faith for a reason, even if I cannot yet see what that reason is.

I was brought to the edge of myself so I could reach something greater. It was an unknown. It’s still an unknown. But I have faith one day I’ll see that place, whether on earth or in Heaven. The important part was I didn’t step out in blind faith, but instead in all-consuming readiness to be used by God through what I viewed as insurmountable circumstances.

I have said it before but I want to reiterate it – my faith grew stronger because in seeking explanation from God, I found revelation instead, and through this revelation my mind was elevated. I know longer saw my circumstances for what they were but instead saw God for who He was and the things He is capable of (which is a lot).

While it was weird at first, faith was actually spot on. Faith is that God is who He says He is and will do what He has said He will do. Faith that in God I can experience immeasurably more.

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