Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "We're Marching To Zion"1 (Lyrics)
During the past number of weeks, I have been struggling through a number of losses. In my head, I think, How do people without faith cope without the comfort of God? How do people cope without His promise, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you"? (Hebrews 13:5b NIV). Usually, these promises give me great comfort and inspire me to be positive. Right now, however, even knowing these promises, my heart is struggling to be grateful, my brain is struggling with the blues, and these factors have made recent weeks challenging.
Perhaps you are familiar with one of the times when Jesus and the disciples were crossing a body of water. Jesus was asleep in the boat when a bad storm arose. In a panic for their lives, the disciples woke Him up.
Luke 8:24b-25a – He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. "Where is your faith?" he asked his disciples. (NIV)
I recently heard Jesus asking me, "Orlanda, where is your faith?" I was struck by how the story of the stormy water applies in general to the storms of life, and how His reply also instructs us where to look for the answer to life's many difficult and dangerous situations. I have heard this echo in a very special friend, new to Christ, who has repeatedly said to me, "We have to trust; we have to have faith." I can see you nodding your head and echoing, "Of course, we have to have faith. This is the essence of our belief as Christians." Practically, though, what does faith mean when we find ourselves in sad and difficult situations?
Two Bible verses came to me as I pondered this question. First is the biblical definition of faith:
Hebrews 11:1 – Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (NKJV)
Aha! Yes, faith is believing that God has this — no matter how nonsensical, no matter how painful, no matter how personally difficult this situation may be. God sees the unseen evidence that causes all of this to make sense in His plan. Here is the second verse:
2 Corinthians 5:7 – For we walk by faith, not by sight. (NKJV)
I find it helpful to insert "and not by emotion" at the end of this verse. The times when we may cry out, "Where are You, God? Why are You not answering my prayers?" are exactly those times when we need to walk by faith. Just because we cannot "feel" God does not mean that He is absent. Let us walk by faith in this world until we can see God in the next world!
Friends, are you, like me, stuck in a situation of loss — whether to health, finances, grief of physical loss, or separation? Can you hear our Saviour asking you, "Where is your faith?" If you, like me, find yourself in this situation, I would suggest that we first penitently pray Daniel's prayer:
Daniel 9:19a – O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and act! (NKJV)
Then, let's claim the promises that we have:
Philippians 4:5b-7 – The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (NIV)
Pray with me:
Prayer: O Lord, as I pray Daniel's prayer, forgive my unbelief, when my heart disconnects from the faith in my head. Give me strength to focus on Your Word, Your will, and Your way. Help me to trust; help me to have faith in You and Your plan for me. You are all-wise, all-seeing, all-knowing. Even when things are difficult and do not make sense to me, You are always there in control, and You have a plan. All will be well: You will never forsake me. Amen.