I wonder if faith that hasn’t been tested is truly genuine faith. It’s so easy to think casually about faith when you think you don’t need it—when everyone is healthy, finances are in good order, relationships are stable. But then something happens that threatens your little secure world, and you are thrown off balance. It’s not that you don’t trust God, but you don’t understand what He is doing, and you’re not sure how to lay hold of the faith that you need.
So I have been doing just that, wrestling before the Lord about how to lay hold of that faith. Mark and I are going through some testing in the area of our provision. I want to come out of this testing, as it says in the first chapter of James, mature and complete, not lacking anything. I want to get it right. But that has the scent of performance in it, that old bugaboo that comes back to haunt me. Then God in his kindness showed me there is something greater, something right in front of me that I’m not seeing.
Everyone is familiar with “the love chapter,” I Corinthians 13. I had even memorized it at one time, but I haven’t understood the scope of it. I can do many good things for God, but if they aren’t motivated by love, Paul says nothing is gained. He says if I have the faith to move mountains but don’t have love, I am nothing. Those words penetrate the soul, and they have gotten my attention. I see that faith and love are inextricably connected, that faith is the fruit of love, loving God and believing that God loves me.
How could I have missed this? Since the Lord told me that what is coming next in my life will require greater faith, I have been diligently in the Word, wanting to learn everything God has to say about it, as if I could learn how to possess it. But then the realization came over me like a flash of light–I have already been through trials much harder than this one. When my former husband died, it came out of nowhere. I didn’t study about faith to prepare for it. All I had been doing was pursuing God and loving Him. When the time of testing came, the faith was there. I was able to stand because I knew my God loved me. All the faith I needed in that moment Jesus supplied.
I could not have moved to Texas and left my precious family if I didn’t believe God loved me and would work it all for good. Was it hard? Of course, but not as hard as I thought it would be because God met me here. Yes, I do miss them, and sometimes I’m sad, feeling like I’m missing out on my grandchildren’s lives. But that doesn’t happen on the scale that I thought it would. The Lord has given me what I need most, Himself. He is everywhere in my life as He was (and is) in Arkansas. He is in my new friends, our life group, our church, and my marriage, knitting Mark and me together in a deeper way.
I don’t think I have ever truly grasped this truth about faith. I have had a distorted view. I have been searching out how to have greater faith, and God has shown me the answer is greater love. I was overcome with emotion as God revealed this to me, just at the thought of how much He loves me, that He actually chose me to be his child. There is no reason that I could know this except for God’s grace. I can honestly thank God for testing because I know He loves me, and He always proves Himself faithful.
I know as I get up from this writing and go about my daily business, my passion in this moment will fade, but the truth of what God has shown me will stand. And now I’m burdened for my sisters and brothers out there, many that we see in our home for ministry, who don’t understand how much God loves them. Oh, the mercy of God, to open my eyes and give me His heart for others.
Thank you, Lord. I say yes; tenderize my heart for your children. As I am learning to abide in you, my oasis, let your love flow through me to those you place in my life who need to know your love. Jesus, I don’t have the words. I just ask you to keep me on your path, the narrow path that is rooted in your love. Amen.
But now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.