Where Faith Gets Awfully Messy
"Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see." Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)
Last year I had emergency surgery on my ears. And while the pain went away, there is still a really loud, constant ringing in my left ear.
Because of this ringing, I've had many sleepless nights. But one night in particular proved to be more than I thought I could handle. The screeching in my ear reached an all time high and not even medication helped. My throat tightened as frustration of this situation threatened to spill out in a million tears. I could feel myself slipping over a terrifying edge... that edge where hopelessness steps into the moment and you feel too weak to resist it.
I whispered, "I'm slipping God. I can't stand this another minute. Much less five more minutes. Or five more hours. Seriously God. I can't. I'm trying to be brave. I've begged for Your healing. And I truly believe You are healing me. But I'm freaking out. And I'm so sorry if 'freaking' is a bad word—I'm still on the fence about that one. But God, I feel myself falling and I can't figure out what to grab onto."
This is where faith gets awfully messy, isn't it?
Most days, I'm like a little kid on the swing going higher and higher without fear. I know the swing will hold me. I know the chains are secure. I'm bold. Assured. Confident.
That night though, I was terrified of the swing. The chains felt more like unraveling threads with a screaming me dangling at the end. My faith felt small.
But my faith was right in front of me. And when one falls, out of instinct they grab onto whatever is right in front of them.
And I just want you to know that even small faith is completely able to hold you. It held me that night. Through the minutes and hours I didn't think I could press on.
I started recounting all the ways God made sure my faith was front and center for this slip. I thought about the ways I'd seen His hand even in the previous days.
Recounting His faithfulness secured the chains. Showed me I wasn't dangling by a thread out on my own.
One of those ways was discovering my husband's sound machine is a gift. That crazy sound machine has aggravated the stink out of me for years. But when put on the rain setting, it helps soothe the screeching in my ear.
Without having told my pastor about my ear, he sent me a text saying he was praying for me and God had put 1 Kings 18:41-46 on his heart.
And what are those verses about?
Rain. The sound of a heavy rain.
A rain that happens in between two vastly different displays of faith in Elijah's life. One minute he's swinging with great faith so bold and secure he calls fire down from heaven.
Then only a few verses later he's dangling by a thread as he runs and hides in a cave.
The Lord comes to Elijah in a gentle whisper and shows him what to do at the end of that thread. "Go back the way you came." (1 Kings 19:15a NIV)
God was saying, "Backtrack and remember all the places I've been faithful in your life. And know with assurance. And boldness. And confidence. I AM. I AM the same faithful God."
So, I let these words slip into my soul. I turn up the sound of rain. I grab onto my faith right in front of me. And discover, I am held by the great I AM. I guess I just wanted to be that friend today who reminds you, no matter what you're going through—the same is true for you.
Dear Lord, thank You for being so faithful, even when it feels like things are slipping away. Help me today as I let Your promises and truth sink deep into my heart. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Reflect and Respond:
What past trials has the Lord helped you through?
It is so important that we remember God's faithfulness. It can carry us through those dark times in our lives. Write down three specific situations when the Lord has proven faithful even when you felt hopeless.
1 Samuel 12:24, "But be sure to fear the Lord and serve Him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things He has done for you." (NIV)