Does my faith triumph?
That’s a question I have had to ask myself several times in the last few months. For years, I struggled with doubting my salvation. I’ve mentioned the sleepless nights before in previous posts, wondering if God really saved me, if He was really there, if He was really hearing my prayers and caring about me. I would spend nights in prayer, wondering why He wasn’t answering, but finally, I discovered the two things that were missing;
- I wasn’t meditating on His Word. The only time that I opened my Bible was during church services. After that, it was closed and forgotten about. When I did decide to read, I would read a single verse, then close it. God speaks through His word, and I was ignoring Him.
- I wasn’t actually trying. I lacked repentance. I had no desire for faith. I didn’t really understand what being a Christian meant, and the thought of spending so much time in prayer and in the Word seemed so boring and annoying to me. I didn’t know God, not really.
But eventually, I began searching more. I got serious, and during a church service, I rededicated myself to the Lord. I found my faith, but it wasn’t strong because I would have a good few days, then I would slip back into my old ways and go a week without pursuing Christ. I went back and forth for a long time and then, at another service, I was very convicted by the Spirit and went to the alter in prayer. The Pastor’s words spoke to me and I felt God urging me to go up to the alter…at this church that I had only gone to a few times, full of hundreds of people that I did not know.
God, that’s a bit outside of my comfort zone.
But then, the Pastor said these words in a very serious voice. “Yield to Him. Yield to Him.” And for whatever reason, those words pricked my heart and I realized that I had never yielded. I hadn’t given Him my life, not really. He’d saved me, but I was still holding onto certain things. I wasn’t willing to move out of His way, either. But that night, I yielded. I went to the alter and I prayed, other young people surrounding me and praying as well. I prayed with the Pastor, I got my heart in the right place. Since then, I have had bad days. A lot of them. But I’ve found the way to get out of the bad places. Through prayer and His word. During trials, I tend to lock myself in my room, my phone and TV shut off, a hymn playing on my computer, my Bible in front of me, my knees on the ground, just spending time with Him. Slowly but surely, I started to do that during the good times, too. I’ve found out how to ground myself, how to plant myself and plant my faith and water it. How to make it grow. How to yield to Him. I was finding out what my faith was made out of.
Then this week came along, and everything started falling apart a bit. I went slipping back down into my old place, feeling like I was ready to flee. I felt ridiculed. I felt worthless. I felt like everything that I had been doing was only making matters worse. I felt like I was pushing away friends, ruining relationships, and you know what all of those ruined relationships and ridiculing boiled down to? What was causing all of this strife?
That faith that I was so proud of. That faith that I was clinging to with everything I had in me. It wasn’t a prideful faith, I was truly devoted to God and I was proud of Him. Oh, the love I felt for Him. I was listening to sermons again, enjoying church, studying my Bible more, praying more…and because I am so very flawed, these trials put a big crack into my foundation. Suddenly, I realized, once again, that my foundation has to built by God, not built by myself. So I prayed and asked God what I was doing wrong. Why am I ridiculed? Why is my faith causing so much strife? Why am I being put through these trials?
He gave me a very clear answer, and I had a big “duh” moment. What does the Bible say about trials? They are there to make us stronger, to remind us about why we’re following Christ in the first place. They remind us to turn to God and let Him strengthen us. James 1:12 says that those who go though trials and tribulations will be rewarded. Why do we endure these things? Because we love Him.
Perhaps, my faith failed all of those times before because I didn’t love Him enough. How can you love someone that you don’t truly know? I wasn’t seeking Him out and so, I didn’t love Him. I couldn’t. The love that I needed in order to get through trials wasn’t there before. But this time around, I had that love. I read books written by great Christians; Charles Spurgeon, Oswald Chambers, A.W. Tozer, Leonard Ravenhill, John Bunyan, Amy Carmichael, Fanny Crosby, Jim & Elisabeth Elliot…none of those people were without trials but they persevered. I want that faith. I want to be able to stand firm no matter what anyone else says, and no matter how many people ridicule me for it. The Bible also says,
2 Timothy 3:12 – Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
Am I living as Godly as I could be? Absolutely not. I fail Him on a daily basis. I don’t pray enough, I don’t study enough, I don’t think of Him enough. But I am slowly starting to attempt this life, and Satan isn’t going to let go of me without a fight. And a fight he has given.
My faith couldn’t triumph because I wasn’t even trying to get there. Those trials showed me what I was made of, and here is what I was made out of…
I was spineless. Faithless. Unrepentant. Unwilling. I was an actress, pretending to be something that I wasn’t. My foundation was made out of sticks, not stone and bricks. Satan blew, and there went my foundation, falling down with his breath. I want to be the exact opposite of who I was a year ago. Two years ago. When trials come and show me what I’m made of, I want my humanity to be peeled back until all people can see is the Holy Spirit moving in my life and holding me up. I want people to see where my strength is coming from, where my faith is coming from.
Amazingly, I went through this trial with an even greater respect and love for God. He reminded me that He let Job go through terrible trials. He let King David suffer. He let Paul suffer. All of His children have gone through terrible things, far worse than I have ever been through, and their faith triumphed. Nothing is too hard for God, and He is very capable of carrying me through these tribulations. Suddenly, the girl with terrible anxiety was no longer crying in her bed at night, wondering if God was there, but she was sitting in that same room, head in her Bible, ready to face whatever Satan through at her next.
I’m learning “where my help comes from” and that help is from the Lord. Not from me, not from Christian friends, but from Him. Everything that came along and inspired me, like the sermons, the hymns, all came through God. Because for once in my life, I let Him speak. I let Him take the battle on for me, and He triumphed.