Faith is a fragile thing. One day it soars to the clouds far above all doubts and fears, and the next day it takes every ounce of strength to keep it from vanishing like the morning dew. Our Christian faith never changes and is an absolute, but our individual faith which carries us through day by day is quite a different story.
Time and again during Jesus' ministry he met people who received healing simply due to their faith. "Thy faith has made you whole" is a statement made by our Lord to more than one person. It is this usage of faith to which I devote this outpouring of my heart.
I have walked with my God for almost 40 years now. At times that walk has been in the clouds far above any fiery dart of doubt or temptation to fall away. Other times that walk has been through the very valley of the shadow of death, where fears abound and questions buffet the mind constantly. The walk of faith is not like walking on a nice cement trail through the park. Many times it is much more like climbing Mt. Everest.
To be a person of faith does not imply perfection in one's life. To be a person of faith designates and defines a person as one who at least is trying to trust God with all their heart and is endeavoring to do what is right regardless of what the results imply. The walk of faith is in many respects the most difficult of all things to define and do.
When the storm exploded on the Sea of Galilee and the disciples were alone in their little ship; their hearts became full of doubts and they allowed the fear of death to seize them like an animal caught in a trap. Jesus' response to them was stern yet simple; "Oh ye of little faith..." This is the same thing he told Peter who after walking on the water looked at the waves and began to sink. As Jesus reached out to save him, He lovingly looked into Peter's eyes and said; "Oh ye of little faith..."
Many times I feel as the disciples must have felt after hearing from Jesus that they need to think or do what to them was impossible. Their request of Him was; "Lord increase our faith." As we look around at the never ending flood of negatives bombarding us from all directions, our heart's cry should be; "Lord increase our faith". As the Lord sees us crumble under the pressures of doubt and fear, His cry to us is; "Oh ye of little faith..."
The struggle to rise above doubt and fear is fierce and ongoing. Just when we think we have mastered the whole thing, another crushing situation comes our way which forces us to retrench and re-stoke the fires of our faith. When the cold winds of doubt blow into our hearts, we must run to the woodpile and grab an armful of wood to throw on the fire of our faith lest our heart grow cold and our faith burn out.
Just a few days ago I was "walking on sonshine" as my faith had been injected with much needed adrenalin. I was ready and willing to face the physical perils which lie ahead. My heart was ablaze with the roaring fire of total faith in God's Word. Hallelujah and Amen. Then the other day happened.
Between having to cease taking a medication which had dramatically helped my pain and a very lukewarm response to some things I had written on various sites; lifelong demons took advantage of the situation to resume their relentless attacks on my faith. By early afternoon I was tired, aching in pain and apprehensively listening to a nurse tell me of all the potential pitfalls awaiting me February 11th, when I have my procedure done to place the stents in my heart.
That evening, for what seemed like the billionth time in my life, I had to go out in the cold and gather up sticks to get the fire of faith burning again. It is never easy to venture out into the dark cold night, but when one's life depends on it, it simply has to be done. Despite the howling of animals, the bitter cold wind blowing and the slippery slope of newly frozen ice; I found my way to the woodpile and brought back to the furnace of my heart the fuel needed to start the fire once more.
How did I allow the fire to go out so quickly? What is my problem anyway? Do I not trust my God enough to believe Him for more than a day? Such foolish questions I had to squash and toss them into the fire. Then I had to scoop up all the "What ifs" laying around and throw them into the ever growing fire of faith. Finally I had to grab the huge log of fear and cut it up into small pieces and one by one use them to add fuel to the fire.
FAITH will literally burn up fear. FAITH will turn doubts into ashes in no time at all. FAITH turns foolish and childish questions into paper which burns in a moment of time. FAITH when properly burning in our hearts incinerates the enemies which seek to destroy us-doubts, questions, and fears. Once FAITH burns again in our hearts, it continually burns up all our enemies.
So what causes the fire to burn out? What makes the roaring fire of full faith in God's Word become a smoldering pile of ashes? Mainly it comes from neglect of the Word of God and failure to lead captive every thought that is contrary to the Word of God to Christ. When we allow doubts and fears to break through our defenses, the corresponding problems that arise are paramount to throwing water on a fire.
So, we can either use doubts and fears as fuel to stoke the fire of faith or we can allow them to drown our fire and chill us to the bone. We can either lead captive every thought which is contrary to Christ, and walk in the freedom of unbridled faith in God's Word; or we can allow doubts and fears to lead us captive and throw us into their dark and cold dungeons. Please pray for me, and I will pray for you that together we succeed in turning up the heat sevenfold through casting every anxious thought and fear into the furnace of our faith.
[quote]So, we can either use doubts and fears as fuel to stoke the fire of faith or we can allow them to drown our fire and chill us to the bone. We can either lead captive every thought which is contrary to Christ, and walk in the freedom of unbridled faith in God's Word; or we can allow doubts and fears to lead us captive and throw us into their dark and cold dungeons.[/quote]
I like this. You said it so well. This is what it means to walk by faith and not by sight.
For B2Y on Feb 11,2009
What though the path be all unknown?
What though the way be drear?
Its shades I traverse not alone
When steps of Thine are near.
by Unknown Author
B2Y -Thank you for sharing this. It is an enlightening encouragement.
Sometimes my "Faith" seems like it's gone on a wild roller coaster ride and I always "feel" like such a failure at those low times. Then I realize my enemy is at it again trying to render me useless and then as you so vividly put it:
" I had to go out in the cold and gather up sticks to get the fire of faith burning again. It is never easy to venture out into the dark cold night, but when one's life depends on it, it simply has to be done."
Yup- the fire burns away the ugly and leaves you renewed!
"Please pray for me, and I will pray for you that together we succeed in turning up the heat sevenfold through casting every anxious thought and fear into the furnace of our faith."
Praying for you my Brother
Thanks for the encouragement and prayers. It was a nice warm day today so there wasn't much need for gathering wood. I hear its getting colder this week so I am sure I will need to stoke the fire a few more times to "keep the faith". Thanks all.
My Lord, God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself,
and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in
fact please you. and I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though
I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever
with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.