Stepping out in faith.
I have a list of titles for my posts that I occassionally jot down. This is one of my favourites, however, I don’t have anything in mind that I want to write about. So we shall see what inspiration comes about from it…
When my sister in law took this photo, life for me was in a weird place. I wasn’t quite sure what was next and in regards to walking, I didn’t even know which direction to take at the time. I may be smiling in the photo but in reality, I wasn’t really enjoying this stage. To be fair, I did try to be content where I was but the unanswered questions of what I was to do was constantly permeating my thoughts. As well as this, I wanted to know not only what I was to do but when I was to do it! I had a lot of questions and not that many answers. I only knew that I had to wait for those answers. I wonder what I would have said, if someone had told me at the time of this photo, that soon I would be moving across the world. Would I have been ready to know that? You see, sometimes, we say we want to know what the future holds but do we really? Of course, as finite and limited humans, we do not posses that knowledge and I keep trying to remind myself that that is a good thing and stop viewing it as a bad thing. If I knew what the future held and all the answers in that, then I think my faith would be limited and weak. Why would I even need faith to trust in a God who holds my future if I could know what will happen tomorrow, or next year or fifty years down the line? To step out in faith every day is like ‘walking on the wild side’ in the sense that it can be freeing, it can be adventurous and it can bring about things that our mind cannot even conceive. Sounds exciting and too good to be true. So what about those days when you feel burdened with those unanswered questions? God has a place for them and they are in His hands and not our own. He wants us to step out in faith and walk with Him.
1. Doubt and unanswered questions. I think a lot of the time we attach a judgement or a negative connoctation to the word ‘doubt’. We believe that we do not have any faith if there is doubt present, but what if we viewed doubt as a way to run to God with all of the questions and not some scary, lonely path. What if we gave room and comfort to the person doubting in order to see the presence of faith? It is always encouraging to hear what thoughts come from the young ladies at their group on Thursdays. We have begun looking at the subject of creation under the theme of God’s best or intention. It reminds me of a verse in Hebrews 11, the chapter on faith, where it says “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was invisible.” The reason I mention this is because it reminds me (as well as the girls group) that we don’t have all the answers, but God has revealed what is necessary to understand about who He is, about the world and about our place in it. Along with an understanding of who He is and along with our questions comes faith; faith binds the two together and plays an integral part in trusting in God.
2. Trusting God. The Oxford dictionary begins it’s definition of the word trust, with the words ‘Firm belief’. It implies that it is unwavering and it requires us to believe. The Bible says “To trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” Trusting God involves having a firm belief in Him despite the circumstances around us, despite our emotions at times and despite that we cannot understand how He is going to be at work but that He is. I think that we especially learn what it is to trust God when we are swimming in our sea of questions. It is very easy to say “Just trust God” but when it comes to be in the midst of confusion or heartache or whatever form of obstacle it may be, how do we really put those words into actions. For me, I think not worrying is a huge factor to trusting in God and His plan for me.
3. Not worrying. For some, worrying may be the first thing we do when faced with some sort of challenge. It may be a big worry, such as someone you care for becoming ill or it may be a small worry like what will I wear for the next event. But is one worry ok and the other not? If we consider Matthew chapter 6, it says not to worry about what you wear or what you eat. We are reminded that God takes care of the birds and provides for them and how much more He loves us, that He will provide for us also. A good question follows where we are asked whether worry will add a single hour to our lives? Wow, makes you think about what worry actually does. Does it change our circumstances? No. Does it change us? Most of the time, yes, but not really for the better. It can makes us frustrated, burdened and fearful. When we do not trust God, we are not living complete freedom and we can be shackled by our worries. I think that we need to release every worry, big or small, and trust that God is in control and that He is the source of change and worry isn’t. Worry is doubting God and His power and perhaps that’s why He takes it so seriously. It is a reminder for me not to worry about where I will be next year or what I will be doing but to trust that God will provide for me along the way.
4. Surrender. Matthew 6 goes on to say “Seek you first the kingdom of God”, and we are challenged to put God’s ways before our own. This involves surrendering what we think is best and trusting in a God who promises to always have our best interest. When you are surrendering and seeking the Lord, you are showing your trust in His power and His charactor- that He is trustworthy! “I had imagined my life being different to this but I am surrendering my thoughts of what I think is good for me and trusting that where God has me right now is what is good for me.” “I have a good job and am able to provide luxuries for my family but I think God is asking me to cut back on the hours so I can spend more time with my kids. I am surrendering what I think is providing for my family and trusting that God will provide all our needs despite the cutbacks.” Can we understand more of what it means to surrender in our everyday circumstances? I think sometimes when we read the Bible we are stuck with how do I turn that word (surrender etc) into an action and live it out.
5. Being sure and hopeful of what we do not see. Faith is described in Hebrews 11 as having confidence in what we do not see and assurance in what we hope for. With faith, we have a confidence in a God that we do not see with our eyes and an assurance in what we hope for in His promises -that He will provide for us day by day and that we will spend eternity with Him. We certainly live in a world of ‘seeing is believing’. I think that we all have some sort of faith in something, the question is, is it trustworthy to build your firm belief upon? How sure or how hopeful are you in what you place your faith in? Does it promise and provide so that you don’t have to worry? Does it seek your best or does it even give you a hope for your future?
Faith is walking with God through our doubts and questions. It is trusting Him along the way. It is saying ‘no’ to worrying about His provision for the journey. It is saying ‘yes’ to the direction He leads us. It is being sure that He is there to guide us for every step of the way. This is truly walking on the wild side- with abandoning our worries and our ways and living each day with an excitement to follow and worship a God who cares and loves us beyond our capacities.
I can continue to walk on the wild side, months after this photo. Knowing that God will make known and direct me when He thinks best. It is a great reminder to keep trusting in the difficult moments because sometimes just right around the corner, enlightment will come and illuminate the path for the next part of the journey.