Friday, September 7, 2012

What faith

I'm trying to decide whether to name this post "What Faith!" or "What Faith?"

First of all, I was lovingly chastised by my cousin Jen this week that I am not blogging enough.  She is right, and so I am blogging again.  Or at least tonight.  Which is better than not at all, I suppose!  Only time will tell if I continue.  I love blogging, but this year it has been hard to steal away for quiet moments and still my mind enough to pour it out onto paper.

Back to faith.  I've been reading a very small book by George Mueller called Answers to Prayer.  Have you ever heard of him?  He started an orphanage in the 1800s simply to prove that God did not need man's help to accomplish anything, and discovered along the way that God provided him with the faith to ask only God for his needs the rest of his life.  Mr. Mueller never once even told people he was going to start an orphanage.  He simply prayed, and suddenly people came out of the woodwork to give him money toward the cause.

The book is a slow read, but not for lack of interest on my part. It is slow because I need time to absorb all he writes. 

"Either we trust in God, and in that case we neither trust in ourselves, nor in our fellow-men, nor in circumstances, nor in anything besides; or we DO trust in one of more of these, and in that case do NOT trust in God.
"If we, indeed, desire our faith to be strengthened, we should not shrink from opportunities where our faith may be tried, and, therefore, through the trial, be strengthened. In our natural state we dislike dealing with God alone. Through our natural alienation from God we shrink from Him, and from eternal realities. This cleaves to us more or less, even after our regeneration.
"Hence it is, that more or less, even as believers, we have the same shrinking from standing with God alone--from depending on Him alone--from looking to Him alone: and yet this is the very position in which we ought to be, if we wish our faith to be strengthened. The more I am in a position to be tried in faith with reference to my body, my family, my service for the Lord, my business, etc., the more shall I have opportunity of seeing God's help and deliverance; and every fresh instance, in which He helps and delivers me, will tend towards the increase of my faith." I said, deep. I was reading the Bible to the kids tonight before bed and the story was about Jairus and his sick daughter. You can find the entire story in Luke 8:40-56.  Jairus came to Jesus, obviously upset and overwrought with emotion over his daughter. He fell at Jesus' feet and pled with Him to come home with him because his daughter was dying.
Then Luke says that as Jesus went with Jairus, He was followed by a crowd.  In the crowd was the woman with the blood disease, who reached out and touched the hem of His robe and was healed.  Jesus stopped the entire crowd to find out who touched Him and talked to her and the crowd about what had happened.

As I read the story, I started to think about Jairus.  If I were him, I would have been extremely impatient with Jesus at this point...probably starting to get testy or angry.  I mean, here is this woman who has touched Jesus and it's great that she got healed, but what about his daughter who is dying?  I imagine that minutes and even seconds were precious at this point, to ensuring that Jesus could heal her.

At that moment, a messenger arrived from Jairus' home who told the crowd that his daughter had died and "there's no use bothering the Teacher now."  But Jesus said to him, "Don't be afraid, just have faith and she will be healed."  I'm not so sure what I would have done or felt at that point.  I mean, I've been there.  Five miscarriages and 3 difficult pregnancies teaches you something about hope...mostly how to not have hope so you won't allow yourself to be disappointed in case you lose another baby.  I'm not saying it's right, I just know how that feels--what it's like to battle fear and faith when all earthly knowledge is telling you there's no use.  Who's to say that Jairus hadn't gone through similar circumstances in his life?  And yet, here is Jesus telling him, "Don't worry, just have faith."

So they get to his house, and Jesus won't let anyone else go in the house except Peter, James, and John, and the girl's parents.  The house was filled with the mourners at this point and Jesus says to them, "Cut it out!  She's just sleeping, she's not dead."  The crowd laughed at Him because they all knew the "truth."

But here it is:  "Jesus took her by the hand and said in a loud voice, 'My child, get up!'  And at that moment her life returned, and she immediately stood up!"  This reminds me much of my dear friend's journey with her daughter, which begins Here and after 3 years is Here!!!  The faith and consistency in praying of Jordan and Rob is just amazing and their sweet daughter's victories bring all the glory to our God.  He is so worthy to be praised!!!

All that to say:  What Faith!!!  And I am asking myself:  "What Faith?"  If I shrink back from the hard stuff, from not wanting to walk the difficult road because I'm too tired or I just don't think it's fair that others don't work as hard as I do...I won't see the victory, won't get to feel the thrill of seeing God come through for me in a way that doesn't even make sense.  I've had some hard weeks with my job lately and some trying times personally.  Yet, the times I remember to ask God for guidance, to ask Him to make a way where there really is no way, He has shown Himself true each and every time.

"Would the believer, therefore, have his faith strengthened, he must especially, give time to God, who tries his faith in order to prove to his child, in the end, how willing He is to help and deliver him, the moment it is good for him."  --George Mueller

**This post is dedicated to my dear friend Susan Hinkley, who passed away on Wednesday after a long battle with ovarian cancer....but not before letting God try her faith and ultimately bring her closer to His heart.  Susan, I love you and will miss you.  Give all my babies in heaven a kiss for me!**