Faith through the Tough Times
“To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.”- St. Thomas Aquinas
Have you ever been to a place very often, but surprised that you cannot give directions for someone else to get there? You cannot remember the names of the streets along the route, but you can tell someone to follow you. This is my experience in sharing the story of my journey with faith.
Definitions and descriptions may confuse me, but I can tell what faith is in my life.
- It is a belief that my incapabilities become capabilities in cooperation with an invisible Higher Power whom I know is God.
Eric Dierker, respected fellow writer on HubPages, invited me to contribute to the current relay of faith articles, which is a noble though challenging venture.
The Faith Relay Starters
Faith began the series with a question: “What would happen if all of us worked together to express and share our faith and inspirational stories?” Well, let’s see.
Shanmarie took the baton and paired these two attributes, stating that “hope leads to faith and faith provides hope.”
Eric Dierker took the baton at the third station and shared: “Faith and love together form bonds not just between God and man but between people.”
These three worthy writers have set the stage for participants (1) to search our souls and discover what we really believe about faith, and (2) to share the faith we know in a way that will empower ourselves and others.
Faith has been my companion through sunshine and fog. Her light on my path has not always been bright, although thank God, it has never been extinguished. For, faith will grow dim when it is neglected, but when the tough times kick in, the human grasp tightens with every breath. I have learned through the years, that tough times are more manageable if they meet you in the embrace of faith.
Beginner's Faith: Ask, Believe, Receive
My first prayers of faith were copied from grandmother’s prayers—for daily protection, healing for the sick, money to purchase what we need and so on. We did not ask for much. I thank God for answering the simple prayers of children to help build their faith, because “No” and “Wait” can be discouraging to a faith beginner.
My earliest memory of a tough time in my family happened when I was nine years old. There was never any doubt in our minds that God would respond to our faith; and looking back, I think it is the situation which taught me at an early age not to ask God how.
High school education was not yet available to everyone, and it was a paying privilege. I passed the entrance exam, and joined my mother and grandmother to wrestle with faith concerning the school fee. It was a gigantic leap from what my mother paid for private school, and we had no clue how to solve this problem.
Through the anxiety, the doubt, the financial and emotional turmoil, our faith never wavered. One week before school began, I was awarded a scholarship, which we did not even know was available.
I Survived So I Could Share
Intermediate Faith: Obstacle Threatens Belief
As the journey continued, it became obvious that faith does not always follow the praying-believing-receiving pattern. It gets complicated. Several obstacles get in the way and threaten the believing, as they did in my most traumatic adult experience.
My marriage was ending. I couldn’t believe God was allowing it to happen after I thought I had done everything by the Book. Faith was waning, and I began to wonder how different life would be if I let go of faith altogether; but faith insisted that I would hate the alternative. How would I deal with the loneliness, the misery, the humiliating stigma without a spiritual anchor?
It is possible that someone else’s faith and prayer worked on my behalf in the midst of my tough times. One night I was home alone, sitting on my bathroom floor as despairing as can be. I stood up (I sensed some help) and looked in the mirror. “Go ahead,” faith said, “tell the woman you're looking at what you will tell the other women when all this is behind you.”
The same message which I gave myself that night, I have given to thousands of other women: that tough times cannot kill their purpose; that they survived the tough times because God wants them to contribute to the lives of others; that He will lead them to their success destinations one faithful step at a time.
Mature Faith: No Focus on Rewards
There is no graduation from the tutelage of faith, but mature faith advances past the expectations of rewards. There is no longer an ask-believe-expect process. Faith becomes a sweet surrender to God, with the assurance that being in His will is more important than the outcome.
The case of Abel in the Faith chapter was an eye-opener for me. His faith testimonial reads:
“By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous . . .” (Hebrews 11:4 NIV)
"By faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead." Hebrews 11:4 (NIV)
So how was Abel’s righteous faith rewarded? Abel was killed for his very act of faith.
The point of mature faith is not the reward; it is the joy and satisfaction of being faithful.
So in my present companionship with faith, I refuse to worry over the fact that I’d rather be elsewhere having a different kind of life. Caring for an Alzheimer's patient is the toughest it can get, but faith keeps me focused on the fact that God is in the tough times with me. I do not worry about how this will all turn out. Faith tells me that God has a plan on which I cannot improve.
My favorite faith anchor is found in Deuteronomy 33:27 (NIV). "The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.”
No matter how far down the tough times push me, I will always be above ground nestled in the peace and comfort of His everlasting arms. I couldn't get here without faith.
Passing the Baton to Denise W. Anderson
Now with joy and anticipation, I pass the baton to the very capable Denise W. Anderson whose faith shines brilliantly through her informative articles. We can look forward to some valuable content in Faith and Family. Thanks, Denise.
© 2014 Dora Isaac Weithers
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