It was well after midnight. I was in the middle of one of those cry-so-hard-til-your-tongue-sticks-to-the-roof-of-your-mouth-and-cuts-off-your-breathing ugly cries. My first husband had left me and I was devastated. Everything I’d worked toward was falling apart. Drowning in a lonely darkness without boundaries, I had the crushing thought, “There is no one in the world who knows I’m crying right now.”
As I lie there struggling to breathe, something happened. I had an identity-shifting encounter with the Lord that set my life’s course in motion. I had always believed in Jesus. I had a good relationship with Him, but I had never needed Him this way. In that dark moment, I felt His presence and the hint of a touch on my cheek. Without anything audible being said, in every part of me that processed words I heard, “I am here.” And then, I felt peace.
That moment was one of my worst/best. I wish I had never lived through the pain that birthed that ugly cry, but—at this stage of my life—I wouldn’t trade it for anything. The experience caused me to fully understand the phrase, “Take it all, but leave me Jesus.” The beauty in enduring that season is that I’ve never been afraid to face hard things since. I may not like having to navigate them, but God’s, “I am here” assurance in that dark hour replaced the fear with a new deposit of faith.
I think “faith” is often misunderstood. Have you heard—maybe even said— “I need to have more faith”? It’s framed in the context of putting the responsibility on the individual…that if “I” can just force my mind to let go of all my fear and reason, I will be able to manufacture more faith. And, if “I” can have more faith, then I can do better business with God. He’ll hear me more clearly. He’ll be more inclined to answer my prayers. He’ll send healing. I just need more faith….
Our response to the faith God gifts to us is to believe it. In Matthew 21:21-22, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt what was done…If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”
Let’s run the idea of “I need more faith for God to answer my prayers” through this biblical filter:
- As we pursue God’s will first—pray to ask what He wants before telling Him what we want—we are available for new deposits of faith that will guide us in following His will.
- God initiates the faith. He provides us a picture of His will for a situation through the principles contained in His Word. (Romans 10:17)
- When we have spent time in His presence through prayer and meditating on His Word, we can understand His will.
- Our response is to not doubt that God has given us guidance. We believe that what God wills is what will be, and we act out of the empowering faith He gifts to us.
For a more in depth look at faith through this lens, I liked how this article explored the topic.
If we aren’t seeing the results in our lives that we want, let’s not layer misplaced shame on top of the difficulty. We cannot “get more faith” by any formula. Instead, we pursue God. We ask what He wants us to do in a situation. As we understand His will—which will never contradict the principles in His Bible—He is giving us faith.* Sometimes, what He shows us is not the way we’d do it, but He invites us to act…to walk by the faith that He gave (2 Corinthians 5:7).
When my life was broken and empty, God graciously filled it with a faith deposit. At the time, I wasn’t being super holy nor spiritual—the faith was a gift. My response was to believe He was there and to pursue Him even more.
What kind of faith-deposit moments have occurred in your life?
*I know some folks struggle to know, “Is it God or is it me?” Next week’s post will be about a method of journaling that helps me get clarity.