What I’ve learned: Faith and Struggle

faithstruggle

So I’ve been really wrestling with what faith means and how faith works in my life, especially on this journey to add to our family.  There are been moments on this journey that I have been told that I need to really lean into my faith because everything in my pregnancy is going to be fine, and I don’t agree that having enough faith equates in receiving the desires of your heart or that things will go the way you plan them to.

And I want to expand on that.  Let’s start with Job.

I studied Job right after my first daughter died.  And it opened my eyes to what faith really means.  Job was a faithful servant of God.  He was righteous.  He was obedient.  He had the respect of his peers.  And what I learned about faith from this is that faith puts you on the devil’s radar.

The story goes that Satan came to God one day, and God pointed out his faithful servant Job.  And Satan responds with, “if he didn’t have all those nice comforts and protections around him, he would surely curse you.”  So God allowed all of Job’s comforts to be taken away, but Job remained faithful.  Then Satan made the argument that Job still had his health, and if God allowed that to be taken away, then Job would curse God.  So God allowed it.  And Job stayed faithful.

Of course, Job also wished he had never been born, and his friends weren’t all that helpful either.  But something else I learned from this story is that struggle removes all of the blinders and allows us to see who we really are and what flaws we have.  Job proved his character to be one of faith and obedience in God.  And eventually, God gave him more wealth and children than he had before.

But when Job was struggling, he didn’t know that would be the outcome.  He could only answer the hard question, “If I never have the desires of my heart again, would I still choose to stay faithfully obedient to God?”  I find that when I’m in my darkest moments, I reflect on this same question.  Honestly, I struggle with the answer a lot of the time, but it is an opportunity to work through the hard stuff with a very patient God willing to work through it with me.

As I continued studying about faith, I looked in the New Testament in the definitive chapter about faith, Hebrews 11.  Right in the middle of the chapter, there’s this verse:

13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. 

I think that struggles without answers are a reminder that this earth is temporary.  And that faith in struggle keeps our eyes focused on the bigger picture, the understanding that God has a plan that will work out perfectly in his own timing.  I’ll admit, this is really hard.  It’s hard when I’ve had to say goodbye to my children.  I still have the struggles I shared with you two weeks ago, but it only acts as a reminder to lean into the promise of the bigger picture and in God’s timing.

And finally, I learned that faith is a gift that must be acted upon.  In James 2, James talks about how faith without deeds is dead.  In 2 Peter, Peter talks about how faith grows through goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and into love.  Faith is rooted in love, and love is an action verb.  If we believe that God is real and that we have a faith in his promises, then our lives, our words, and our deeds must reflect that.  Our faith is shown in the way we spend our money and our time.  It’s shown in how we treat other people, our neighbors, or our enemies.  Especially in the midst of struggle.

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love. – 1 Corinthians 16: 13-14

Above all, in faith, I have learned that it is all about love.  Having faith is about doing everything in love because we believe that God has got this.  Wherever I go in life, whatever struggles I have to face, I need to stand firm in the promise that God will not let go, and that I can just let God.

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One thought on “What I’ve learned: Faith and Struggle

  1. Pingback: In Case You Missed It: Saturday Summary |

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