“Now faith is the assurance (title deed, confirmation) of things hoped for (divinely guaranteed), and the evidence of things not seen [the conviction of their reality—faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses].” Hebrews 11:1
I have been struggling a bit lately holding out hope for some things in my life that I have trusted and waited on God for many years for. As I have been working through this thorn bush of a time in my life God has shown me others around me who are having trouble with the same struggles in different areas of their own lives.
As I have been thinking and praying about my own struggles along with trying my best to be of encouragement to the others around me I have come to a conclusion that this is the essence of the early church, brothers and sisters struggling together but lifting one another up not only in intercession but in encouragement.
The other thing that it brought to mind is when a couple of friends younger in their faith have approached me. I will try my best to articulate how I feel about this. In my view maturity as a Christian isn’t dictated by age, how long we have been believers, or comparing ourselves to others. In fact God grows and moulds us each in different ways and at different rates depending on who He wants us to be. Because of that all I can do on these occasions is try to encourage my siblings in Christ to focus on God and allow Him to teach them and speak into their lives.
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” John 14:26
“These things I have written to you with reference to those who are trying to deceive you [seducing you and leading you away from the truth and sound doctrine]. As for you, the anointing [the special gift, the preparation] which you received from Him remains [permanently] in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you. But just as His anointing teaches you [giving you insight through the presence of the Holy Spirit] about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as His anointing has taught you, you must remain in Him [being rooted in Him, knit to Him].
Now, little children (believers, dear ones), remain in Him [with unwavering faith], so that when He appears [at His return], we may have [perfect] confidence and not be ashamed and shrink away from Him at His coming. If you know that He is absolutely righteous, you know [for certain] that everyone who practices righteousness [doing what is right and conforming to God’s will] has been born of Him.” 1 John 2:26-29
I love these promises from Christ. As born again believers of Christ we have the Holy Spirit to be with us and to teach us all that we need to know. As one of the commentaries that I read on these verses says this is not telling us to discount counsel from faithful ministers but that He (God’s Holy Spirit) gives us discernment as to whom we should trust and whom we shouldn’t.
The aspect of this that I struggle with the most is in having a childlike faith. As children we can’t wait to be adults and as an adult it is a struggle to have the purity of trust, the humility, and to be as forgiving as children (at least I do…).
Yet again I like the inline commentary style of the Amplified Version. “He called a little child and set him before them, and said, “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, unless you repent [that is, change your inner self—your old way of thinking, live changed lives] and become like children [trusting, humble, and forgiving], you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:2-4
One of the biggest challenges in my own life is having a faith like a child. It’s the faith that “Father promised me…” and even though it’s almost 24 years later and I’m still waiting that is very difficult sometimes. Not only that but it’s compounded by a similar request that still hasn’t been fulfilled after over 30 years of waiting that makes having a doubt free faith even more difficult.
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:23
“God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?” Numbers 23:19
“By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised.” Hebrews 11:11
“For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us. Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.” 2 Corinthians 1:20-22
If you’re like me this assurance is nice but keeping that faith without doubting and getting depressed during a long wait without seeing any change is very difficult. There is good news though. God is compassionate, He knows that we struggle, stumble, and falter. He is faithful to us in mercy and in His compassion and love.
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23
It is during these times that my cry to Him is “I believe; help my unbelief!”. Mark 9:24
Sovereign God, we come to you in humility and bring you our struggles, our doubts, and our suffering. We believe in You and we ask that You would help our unbelief. Please give us each a testimony to Your goodness and Your faithfulness to share with others as encouragement and to bring unbelievers to Yourself. Please show us Your glorious face each and everyday during our seasons of waiting and encourage us as You grow our faith. We love You God and we ask these things with the authority of the name of Christ Jesus our Savior and Lord. AMEN