me of little faith

Posted: May 10th, 2010 | Filed under: life | Tags: | 12 Comments »

As much as I think I understand certain glimpses of God, I still come to the place of understanding nothing.

It’s one thing to read scriptures like these…

Look at the ravens, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, carefree in the care of God. And you count far more. -Luke 12:24

If God gives such attention to the wildflowers, most of them never even seen, don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? -Luke 12:28

…but, it’s another thing to believe them when you can’t make the ends meet and threats to crush you are mounting.

We’ve seen threats keep their promises. We’ve been cancelled on, unplugged, and sought after by heartless collectors. No matter how hard we try, these things are here and now and they don’t care what you’re intentions are. We’ve been left sitting in the dark hanging on to scriptures that tell us that God will take care of us, but it’s evident that His timing doesn’t work with our schedules. He tells us once and the threats remind us over and over. The squeaky wheels in our lives are louder than the still small voice and we start to panic and doubt.

I hate that feeling. We’re supposed to be living with ‘spiritual’ vision, but physical circumstances make it nearly impossible. Then, we feel like we’re failing spiritually because of doubt. It’s a helpless feeling and I don’t like feeling helpless.

Have you ever noticed that relying on God often has us in the position of accepting kindness or generosity from people? It’s one thing for an answer to need or prayer to just materialize and nobody knows the difference. You can walk among people and none of them have to know that you’re struggling. But, more often than not, God uses other people to meet your need. Accepting it is humbling. Putting off pretense of ‘having it all together’ is hard.

I’m a much better giver than I am a receiver. I can give until I’m empty, but I can’t take. I can’t accept. I don’t like to feel indebted. Some people have a hard time giving and no problem receiving. I think that God walks us through terrain we try to avert.

And now I’m about to show him what he’s in for—the hard suffering that goes with this job. -God to Ananias regarding Paul in Acts 9:16

In taking us through places we don’t want to go, God is shaping us. He never promised to work in our strengths, but promised His strength in our weakness. To constantly feel the weakness and never be able to get our footing in this terrain of living by faith is tiresome. It’s crushing at times. It’s ‘hard suffering’ in a sense.

I often wonder if it will always be like this. I ask questions in my head and Wisdom shows up to ask questions, too.

Always be like what?

Needing to rely on…

Me? Needing to rely on me?

In one way or another, we will always be weak and will always need to rely on Him. We can float between courageous and feeble faith, but that’s just our dance. He stays in one spot. Quiet  knowing and unmoved confidence.

He shows up. We’ve nicknamed Him the Eleventh-Hour God, but He shows up.

Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” -Matthew 14:31 ESV

When He shows up, we’re face to face with our lack and have to apologize for being so…human.

What did you learn?

To hold out in faith a bit longer.

Okay, let’s run it again.

If the goal is faith, then comfort isn’t important. Maybe we, I, can look at struggle and discomfort as exercises of faith rather than evidence of abandonment.

“God always ignores your present level of completeness in favor or your ultimate future completeness. He is not concerned about making you blessed or happy right now, but He’s continually working out His ultimate perfection for you.” -Oswald Chambers

fa


12 Comments »


12 Comments on “me of little faith”

  1. 1 StacyK said at 6:13 am on May 10th, 2010:

    Oh so true… it is my pride that keeps me from wanting to accept that God sometimes uses other people to provide… It's nice to know (sorry!) that someone else feels that way too:)

    I would much rather feel strong than fall prostrate on my knees in my utter weakness, but God doesn't seem to care what I want… He just keeps calling me back.

    Peace in the chaotic circumstances… in the suffocating grief… all I have to do is *slow down*and ask. Rarely do I get the answer I want, but always receive the provision I need and the presence of my living Savior Jesus.

    Repeatedly I have to remind myself that gratitude is the antidote to my discontentment…. when I stop whining and pay attention to God's presence and blessing, nothing compares.

    Grace is for sinners…. and I am the worst… and that is why I am so so so grateful.

  2. 2 Jason said at 6:18 am on May 10th, 2010:

    "Have you ever noticed that relying on God often has us in the position of accepting kindness or generosity from people?"

    I could write for hours on this question…but the short answer is yes.

    What I've wondered many times is if the blessings of God or the kindness of God through His people can be delayed from when we first could receive it because the giver is being disobedient to God's calling on them?

    For example, we feel led to give a burrito to the homeless man on the corner but we keep driving. We feel guilty, turn around and go back and he's not there. A few hours later we see him on the same corner and get him a sandwich then.

    I know some would say that God's timing was that he received the second sandwich when he did…but wasn't it His spirit prodding us at first? If so…didn't we delay that man's blessing because of our sin of disobedience?

  3. 3 Serena Woods said at 6:32 am on May 10th, 2010:

    StacyK: I love this: 'gratitude is the antidote to my discontentment.'

    Jason: I remember one time when I spent two days struggling with something and not knowing what to do about it. I was the homeless person needing a burrito. On the third day, someone gave me the sandwich. While I was gratefully eating, they told me that they knew they should have given me the burrito two days ago, but they struggle with believing they're hearing from God when it pertains to that sort of thing.

    I thought about the past two days and knew that eating was proof that I wasn't going to starve and I should have had that kind of faith through the two days.

    The person who gave me the sandwich saw that it was God who directed them and they wished they had the faith they should have had in the first place.

    We both learned lessons of faith in the struggle and I think that was the point. Our doubt, delays and disobedience were turned into something that was good for us.

    You can look at it either way, I guess. One way has you kicking yourself when you think about it, the other leaves you snag-free and grateful for the lesson.

  4. 4 Jennifer said at 6:44 am on May 10th, 2010:

    I am SO there with you: on growing in my faith, on waiting for that 11th hour when He shows up, on having trouble accepting from others. We are believing for some things that need to happen THIS week. I know He will do something to meet our needs, but I have no idea what. Instead of fretting, I'm trying to wait with anticipation to see how He's going to work this time!

    It's hard, but I know God has a plan, and it's for my good.

    ~Jennifer

  5. 5 Julie R. said at 8:38 am on May 10th, 2010:

    I struggle with this issue, sometimes constantly. My question has been… in the presence of doubt, is faith always absent? I know there have been soooo many times when I have teetered between the two so finitely that I could have been the middle point of a teeter-totter. I believe God works things together for those who are called according to His purpose, but when you are without groceries or toilet paper …. it is hard to know what it is He's trying to say… if I ask for help, have I lost faith? Is it truly God at work if I ask for help from someone and receive that help? Doesn't faith mean believing God will answer our prayers and attend our needs WITHOUT our butting in, (which is what I have felt I have done in the past when I borrowed money for milk or gas or toilet paper… ) and don't you know satan is there every time to tell me just what a great big 'Thomas' I really am…. great post Serena, as always…

  6. 6 Serena Woods said at 8:45 am on May 10th, 2010:

    Jennifer: encouraging. 🙂

    I love that thought process, Julie. I've been there!

    Then, if you wait long enough, the sun goes down on the day and then you wake up to another one. Somehow, the days keep coming and the world doesn't fall in on us. Somehow.

    🙂

  7. 7 Robyn said at 9:52 am on May 10th, 2010:

    Sometimes I have to remember………..

    This world is not about "me"…

    it's about………Him.

    Lovely post! God Bless!!!

  8. 8 m* said at 6:16 pm on May 10th, 2010:

    this is kind of where we met

    stuff i used to believe

    i do want to hear of your hopes realized – i would believe your accounting of a miracle

    i haven't seen any myself and i am continuing to adjust my expectations downward

    my faith will remain – and perhaps only that

  9. 9 Robin said at 5:51 am on May 11th, 2010:

    Thanks for this post. I struggle with the timing and trust. Where are you when I can not pay this bill and things are tight and I need many things and get another unexpected bill that I'm not sure how to come up with the money for.

    Nothing in my experience prepares me to trust but I am trying to trust God. I believe his promises but the timing is oh so hard.

  10. 10 Marilou said at 4:17 pm on May 13th, 2010:

    I like your line about "Ok, let's run this again". Maybe you are using it in a different way (such as to say, "let's review what we've learned) however I read it as…"ok, let's try this again, God" after God shows up and I then realize how miserably I failed the period of testing or spiritual attack I was just under. I am immediately humbled by my lack of trust and God's sufficiency. Then I start making plans for the next time I am in the thick of things and how next time I will persevere. Well, hasn't happened yet, but I sure hope God will keep giving me chances to grow in the trust.

  11. 11 Serena Woods said at 4:29 pm on May 13th, 2010:

    Marilou: Like a coach teaching His team plays and making them run the play over and over until they can do it in their sleep. 🙂

  12. 12 Bruce said at 9:38 am on May 19th, 2010:

    I am SO there with you: on growing in my faith, on waiting for that 11th hour when He shows up, on having trouble accepting from others. We are believing for some things that need to happen THIS week. I know He will do something to meet our needs, but I have no idea what. Instead of fretting, I'm trying to wait with anticipation to see how He's going to work this time!

    It's hard, but I know God has a plan, and it's for my good.

    ~Jennifer


Leave a Reply