Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Great Faith Is Hard

Do you know how hard it is to have great faith??  I mean, really.  I read about some of those Old Testament folks, and I'm absolutely AMAZED at the unbelievable leaps of faith they took.  They left the land of their forefathers.  Noah built a boat, and it had never rained before on the earth.  But he built a boat anyway.  Abraham tied up his only son and lifted the knife above his body, moments away from offering him as a sacrifice.  But he had faith that somehow God was in control and he trusted Him no matter what.  Elijah told the heathens to pour water on the altar just a few moments before he prayed, asking God to send fire from heaven.  I wonder if he ever doubted?? I wonder if it ever crossed his mind what would happen if God didn't come through??  

These men had GREAT FAITH.

And in the New Testament, too.  Fishermen left their nets to follow a Man walking by who said "follow Me."  A tax collector left his job to become a disciple.  Two men who were already followers of John the Baptist left him to follow Jesus.  Paul abandoned his entire life's work and belief system to follow Jesus and preach the Gospel to the Gentiles.  And he endured persecution, stoning, beatings, and yet he clung to Jesus and he had GREAT FAITH that no matter what, Jesus was with him.

They all had GREAT FAITH.  And I know that while the pages of the Bible don't go into much detail of what those men were feeling during those moments of decision, I can only imagine the faith it must have taken to do what they did.

I will admit my faith has been far from great recently.

My beautiful mother took 4 chemo treatments this fall . . . but was just too tired and weak to take the 5th and final dose.  So the doctors decided to give her a break for a few weeks to build up some strength before "maintenance chemo" begins.  And just when she was beginning to feel better, just when she had started to drive again and go to the grocery store by herself and putter around in the yard, she bent over to take off her shoe last week and her back started hurting.  After several hours at the Emergency Room Sunday morning they discovered a compression fracture at L3 in her lower back.  My mom has osteoporosis and arthritis and her bones are weak and brittle.  

There's really nothing they can do to fix the break, it will just take time to heal.  So they sent her home with pain medicine and muscle relaxers.  The muscle relaxers make her very sleepy and loopy so she isn't taking them at all.  She takes 1/2 dose of the liquid pain medicine, but it has some side effects as well.  My mom is tiny and frail and weak and struggles to eat enough just to maintain her tiny weight.  She desperately wants to feel better.  She wants to be normal.  She wants her old life back.  We all do.

I'm being brutally honest here, so if want a light cheery blog post you should probably leave now.  But if you trust in Jesus, I urge you to stick with me . . . just for a few minutes.  
Cause I'm gonna be real.

These days I look at my mom, and I look at the situation, and my faith feels so tiny it's almost non-existent.  Negativity and doubt have crept in.  Those emotions, and other situations in my life, have robbed me of joy and peace.  I had begun to accept the lies of the enemy.  Lies that said my Jesus wasn't going to come through.  Lies that said I was on my own in the midst of this raging, relentless storm.  Lies that told me to give up.

But today I saw a post on Instagram that was exactly what I needed to read today.  Stephen Furtick of Elevation Church said this --


I have been trying desperately to run from this battle.  I want to take my toys and go home.  I am tired of praying.  Tired of trying to praise in the middle of a storm so ferocious I see no way out.  I am tired of watching my mother's health deteriorate.   And so I've tried to run from it all.  But in the moment I read that quote from Stephen Furtick, I realized that I can't run.  God never rewarded a quitter.  He never rewarded doubters.  He always asked His people to do something.  They had to take the first step, and then He took care of the rest.  He told those Old Testament guys to go fight, and then he would take care of the battle.  But they couldn't sit around in their tents while God did battle for them.  He said do all you can do and then stand.

He never said run.


And I have spent a lot of time desperately wanting to run from this battle.  The most difficult battle of my life.  I'm tired, and I just want God to fix everything.  Today.  

Fixing everything today would be awesome.

I don't want to run anymore.  Because I know that God is in the midst of the battle.  If I can't endure the battle, if I'm running from the battle, then there is no blessing.  I can't have both.  Because running means I don't trust my Jesus.  I have to stay in this, and I have to pray, and I have to trust Him.  

No more running.  

What testimony do I have if I run when things don't go my way?

What am I showing other Christians if I can't say with all my heart "no matter what happens, I'm gonna have GREAT FAITH in Jesus."

God isn't in the midst of my negativity.

God isn't in the midst of my pity party.

Stephen Furtick also said "the enemy can't prevent God from blessing you, but he might be able to prevent you from receiving it." 

I will not allow the enemy to rob me of God's blessing.  The blessing of His peace and His joy and His comfort. I want to receive everything God has for me.

I'm still praying for my mother.  Praying for complete and total healing.  Praying for a miracle.

I'm not running from the battle anymore. I want to be fully present no matter what.
I want to stand before Him one day and hear "well done."
I want others to see my Jesus in me, even in the midst of the storm.

Great faith is hard.  But it's not impossible.
Not when you trust in Jesus.

NO MORE RUNNING . . . . . . . 

Hebrews 6:19 - We have this HOPE as an anchor for our souls, firm and secure.

Jesus is my Hope.  I'm running to Him.