Toss and turn all night, wake up early…
Hoping, Praying, digging for faith…..
God will make a way….
Luke 1:37 “For with God nothing will be impossible”
I grew up in a church. Going to youth group weekly, helping out in the nursery, lighting candles for the service, playing the piano at the sunrise service on Easter. Yet the closest I seem to make it to a church is helping out at the youth group and going to a small group…..
I often wonder, am I worthy. Its a question that enters my mind from time to time. I pushed God away for so many years. I also question Him a bit, ok at times I question God a lot. Its a difficult fence I seem to straddle between faith & God and nothing, no belief.
Its been almost 14 years now that I truly questioned and just didn’t seem to understand and stepped away from God. Has God been with me for the past 14 y? I believe he has been there every step, but it has been me, my faith, that has not been there. My belief that I can not seem to get to that place. My faith can’t get completely up and over the mountain.
I can not understand, no I simply can not comprehend, fathom, suffering of kids. Though deep inside I know God is there, that God has a purpose, and the devil likes to reek havoc causing pain. Yet, it has not made it any easier. My cousins daughter. She was 6 and a twin. She had cancer for 4 years and lost her battle almost 14 years ago – August 31, 1998…
I continue my walk to get closer to Christ and at times there are questions that plague my mind, and the hardest at times is feeling the uncertainty of it all……
My faith depends on the situation and seems to be unique. It is dependent on my closeness to God and how much of the burden that has been handed over to him.
There are days where faith is like breathing to me. Where I walk in confidence that God is taking care of things without doubt. Hebrews 11:1 says “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” When I take the time to stop, just for a moment, I am in awe of that feeling, that knowing, that God is here. There is no other feeling like that. Its quite amazing. I wish I could say that I have this type of faith constantly, but I don’t.
There are days where it seems the battles are never ending. Those constant uphill type of days where nothing goes right, completely overwhelmed and emotions all come together allowing my mind to be plagued with doubts and questions. These are the days I wonder where God has gone, yet buried deep in the back of my mind I know he hasn’t forsaken me. Its those days where I struggle with my faith, I know God is pushing my faith. James 1:3 says “Knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.” In all honesty that doesn’t always bring comfort. I feel distant from God and everyone else. Yeah, like I am the only one in my own little world. The hardest part is the doubts. Yet 2 Corinthians 4:18 reminds me “While we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” In the end, while I struggled to maintain my faith, I can say I kept my faith like 2 Timothy 4:7 “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
Then there are those days where, yes, I am also egotistical. I feel as if I can do anything, and it is those days when it seems God has taken a step back. I will be honest on these days, I think, I’ve got this, I can do this, oh this is all mine and God is not the priority. Has God stepped back or away? Oh no, he is still there, it is me, the “I can do anything” Christian that has pushed God to the side like a child pushing back at a parent for independence. I think of my kids. When we work together and talk, things run smoothly. Then their are the days when my kids show their independent side, pushing you away and you look at them realizing they still need your help but they don’t want it. We the parent have not moved, or stepped back. We have just watched and seen mistakes made, and lessons learned.
Whether I struggle to maintain my faith or have a strong faith, I know God is there, pushing me, testing me and in the end growing my faith and my patience.
Song is in my head when I get home: “Step by Step, Heart to Heart, Left, right, left, we all fall down like toy soldiers”. Ok so I am sure what I view from this verse is quite different than the true meaning behind this song. Interestingly I only heard this part and it made me think of two things. Is God talking, oh absolutely.
First I think of walls that have been built up. Yet “Step by Step”, God is with you through the good and the bad, “Heart to Heart” God talks to you, molding you, making you into the person HE wants you to be, until those walls fall down. Yes finally, with God, the walls fall down. God has gone in step by step and heart to heart going brick by brick, excuse after excuse, and He removes the wall of pain and disappointment that have been built up over the years.
Second, I think of the verse Roman 3:23(NKJV) “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” and continue to read on to Roman 3:24 “Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” We all fall down, we all sin, we all make mistakes, and we are all human. Yet Jesus died for our sins so we are all forgiven. Interestingly, the bible verse of the day.
As I continue this walk with God, this “unsettle me”, through ups and downs, I know he’s working on me. Quite frankly, he’s been working on me for a while now and I have been too blind, too hard-headed to see it. But when I look past myself, I can see what God has been teaching me, I can see that God has been taking each of my excuses, hurts, disappointments and slowly removing each brick I so neatly built as a wall…
He speaks quietly, and truth be told, I haven’t listened all that well, I never do. So as always with me, His voice always became more distinctive. Today I hear not once, but over and over, “What excuses do you have now?” None God reminds me. Yes in my rationale I think of an excuse or a reason and God continues to butt in and reminds me how each excuse I make, is not valid. God tells us in Psalm 32:8 “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with my eye.”
So, “Step by Step, heart to heart” God is there. “Left right left, we all fall down” God is there.
I hear the song “You’ve got to stand for something, or you’ll fall for anything.” by Aaron Tippin. I’ve heard it before in my mind, but it’s been quite a while. Do I stand for anything? So I wonder, am I too in the middle? Could I be the double-minded man the bible talks about? James 1:8 (NKJV) States: “He is a double-minded man, unstable in all his way.”
Double minded can be multiple things: uncertain, half-hearted, doer, divided in his interest or loyalties, wavering, and two-faced.
Uncertain – James 1:6-8 “But let him ask in faith with no doubting, or he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” I have to admit, I have prayed with doubt and at times self-centered. My words would appear strong and good, but the Lord knows that I have doubts. Frankly, my prayers have been self-centered as well. It’s the doubts like “I will pray, hope for the best and expect the same or worse to happen.” or even the “I will pray but the Lord knows in my heart my motives are self-centered.” Oh my prayers look strong, sound strong, but in reality 1) I doubt and 2) my motives are self- seeking and not God- Centered. God wants us to come to him in confidence. 1 John 5:14 tells us “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hear us.” and God also wants our motives to be right. James 4:3 says “You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.”
Ouch! Reading both of those really hits home. Not only do I have doubt in the back of my mind, but I ask for ME! And MY Selfish reasons!! So I have learned to take it one prayer at a time. Making sure there is honestly no doubt and truly, whole heartedly believing God will answer my prayer. I also ask myself if this prayer is self-centered or God-Centered. Yeah I have had to “re-write”, “re-focus”, “re-center my prayers. Realizing that my prayers, though seeming whole hearted and God-Centered was more Sef-Centered.
Doer – James 1:22-25 “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.” So I am somewhere in between. I do and I hear. In all honestly I probably just hear more than I do. This is something that needs to change, needing to be more like Christ. Christ even tells us in Matthew 7:24-26 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and it did not all, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these says of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand:”
Again OUCH! Living the life of the Libra – Everything in balance- Going with the flow – is not going to work that well for me! Frankly, it hasn’t been working out that well. I now have to decide to continue living so-so or am I choosing to live and do as Christ said and did. This one will be a struggle. Living quietly in the background and in the middle has always felt “comfortable” and honestly, it has not gotten me anywhere. Frankly, it’s left my life feeling blah, full of worry and at times out of control.
James 1:8 (NKJV) “He is a double-minded man, unstable in all his way.” This verse could fit me perfectly, not that I want it too, but unless I stand for something, “I will fall for anything.”…..
So now I must decide which one of Three kinds of Christians I relate too:
Tow Boat – they only go if someone drags them along
Sail Boat – they go in fair weather
Steam Boat – Go at all times