I lost my faith

I’ll call him John (a pseudonym). He was a friend who died a few years ago. He was once a pastor and a good one. He preached the Gospel to many and led a thriving church in a small town. When I befriended him, he was a foul-mouthed, bitter, hate filled person! He candidly told me that he thought my work was a joke, that God was humanity’s invention to cope with life’s uncertainty.

In one of our conversations over lunch, he told me about the way that some in the church he served had abused him, about the disappointment that grew in him. He candidly told me that he had, in a time of inner turmoil, turned to a woman other than his wife for solace. When challenged by his elders to repent, he refused, and was dismissed from his position.  His voice dropped as he said, “Jerry, I just lost my faith.”  As much compassion as I felt for him, I could not agree. John did not lose his faith, he walked away from it.

I have served and loved God, through good times and bad, for 60 years since my conversion as a little child. And yes, there are days when I do not sense His Presence. There are days when my prayers are no more than simple petitions or when I just sit in silence waiting. I am not trying to shock you, but to let you know that up’s and down’s in our faith are quite normal. Fatigue, illness, brain chemistry, demonic opposition, and our personal choices are all factors in how we sense the Presence of God, the Holy Spirit. But,  my assurance of God’s love does not rest in how I feel on a given day. The foundation of His Covenant, His Promise, His completed work on my behalf is my rock-solid hope!

Just as I know the sun continues to shine behind the dense layers of rain clouds; I know that God is near even when I cannot feel Him. When it appear as though I have mislaid my faith somewhere, I do not fall into despair or disobedience.  I know that “We live by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7, NIV)

Faith is both a gift of God and a choice we make. Neither part can exist without the other.  God, the Holy Spirit stirs faith in us. But, we choose to accept it, to exercise faith. Mark’s Gospel records an incident in which Jesus cursed a fig tree. The next day when the disciples were passing by they saw it withered and were astonished. “How did that happen?” they wondered. Listen to what Jesus told them. “Have faith in God!” (Mark 11:22, NIV)  The Lord commanded them to choose – letting them know that they had a responsibility to exercise faith even when their feelings resisted that choice.

Though God’s work is unchanging and His Word is true, our faith must be nurtured. Just as our bodies grow weak if we do not nourish and rest them, so our soul will weaken if not cared for. Vital faith must be fed the Truth.  The Word reminds us that “faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ.” (Romans 10:17, NLT)  
Muscles are strengthened when we exercise them. Faith grows when we use it, live by it. Our faith grows strong when we choose to trusting God in ever increasing ways. Many of the faith choices I make at now are grounded in a faith that was beyond me 20 years ago. No amount of ‘wanting’ made it real! Faith has grown deeper and stronger through the tests and choices to trust the Lord, each new day.

Yesterday I stood beside a hospital bed that was occupied by an elderly lady, a Christian of many years who was troubled. “Pastor, God has abandoned me. Where is He?” Her sickness, her weakness, the uncertainty of the moment had simply overwhelmed her. How thankful I was to be able to sit down, take her hand, and pray for her, turning our focus from fear to faith. God’s Spirit came near. As I read some of the Psalms to her, her heart quieted, the peace of God visible on her face.  You, too, may feel as she did. But, fear not!  God is faithful, even when our faith wavers.

Troubled? Feeling that faith is failing?

Reach out to a friend. Pray together.
Enter into worship. Invite the Spirit to come near.
Re-center your soul in the Truth that is greater than your heart.
If necessary, make things right with God and/or others.
Feed faith and let God lead you to maturity, a life of trust in Him ‘come Hell or high water.’

 Here’s a word from the Word. Ponder it, pray it, live it. “Since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus … do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” (Hebrews 10:35-36, NIV)

____________

Blessed Assurance

Blessed assurance Jesus is mine
O what a foretaste of glory divine
Heir of salvation purchase of God
Born of His Spirit washed in His blood

This is my story this is my song
Praising my Savior all the day long
This is my story this is my song
Praising my Savior all the day long

Perfect submission perfect delight
Visions of rapture now burst on my sight
Angels descending bring from above
Echoes of mercy whispers of love

Perfect submission all is at rest
I in my Savior am happy and blest
Watching and waiting looking above
Filled with His goodness lost in His love

Fanny Jane Crosby © Words: Public Domain

One response to “I lost my faith”

  1. Beverly Botelho Avatar
    Beverly Botelho

    This message addresses a universal concern. It is something I needed to hear right now. Thank you.

    Like

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