Faith . . .
My friend fell in love with Jesus. That was a crime in his home land. When he arrived in the U.S. he prayed for two things. One, to start fresh. Two, that his wife would become a believer. She was disillusioned by religion and declared that she was now an atheist.
One day I met his wife. She was beautiful. She came to church to appease her husband. Over the next few weeks I had the chance to get to know her better. One day she came up to me after church. I don’t know if it’s possible for a mere human’s face to shine with glory, but hers radiated. She told me that she had become a follower of Christ.
Her husband stood beside her, his face just as filled with joy.
She worships all day long, he said. She’s so hungry for the Word. She has the Bible on her lap any time she has a moment.
Now that they are both believers they are both in danger if they return home. When my friends asks for prayer, it’s that his father’s faith will shine if death knocks at his door. It’s for friends and neighbors who are believers and suffer for that faith, because they are targets.
When I think about my friends’ stories, I imagine being in their shoes. They started over with no family around to help. They had to go back to the university for years, because their education was not accepted in their new country. They face prejudice from a neighbor or a stranger who has no idea how amazing they are or what they’ve endured, and who labels them as “different.”
Can you imagine spilling over with gratitude, even in all of this, because of Jesus?
Yesterday we looked at changing our negative conversations with others, but today we are changing the conversation about faith.
- Faith isn’t tied to what God has done for us lately.
- Faith isn’t valuable only when things are going well.
- Faith isn’t about meeting our every need.
Faith means that Jesus saved us, rescued us, gave his life for us. It means that he walks with us daily. It means that the Holy Spirit lives within us, and we are empowered to live a life that makes a difference.
Because of faith, we are blessed far beyond what we understand.
Because of faith, we have a promise of eternity with Christ.
Because of faith, we are identified as a child of God.
Faith is being loved, but it’s also is loving God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.
Faith is loving others like Jesus loves us.
[bctt tweet=”The goodness of God is not shaped by our circumstances, but we are shaped by the goodness of God as he walks through circumstances with us. #ComeWithMe” username=”suzanneeller”]
When we start to live a life of thank you in our faith we become noticers of the good in our faith, because Jesus is good.
I will never be able to totally relate to my friend’s struggles. I’ve not suffered persecution. I’m not judged by my ethnicity, though I have friends who are. My spouse has always loved Jesus. I’ve not been asked to discard all my education to start over. I have friends and family close by who would scoop me up in a moment, if I felt alone.
Yet I’ve experienced cancer — four times. Twice for me. Once for my sweet guy. Once for my daughter. I’ve stood by my son’s broken body in the hospital room after he was critically injured by a drunk driver. I’ve wrestled with medical bills piled high. I know what it is to be left behind by a biological father that should have treasured all of his children. I know what it is to see a business fail, though we placed our heart and soul in it. I know what it is to feel sad or uncertain.
Paul describes his walk of faith in this way:
Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked. I spent a night and a day in the open sea. In my frequent journeys, I have been in danger from rivers and from bandits, in danger from my countrymen and from the Gentiles, in danger in the city and in the country, in danger on the sea and among false brothers, . . . (2 Corinthians 11:24-26)
That is why, for the sake of Christ, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:10)
Paul’s story is one of hardship, but there was also joy.
In the midst of all of it, his faith — his relationship with Christ — was his anchor. In his weakness, he was strong due to his utter dependence upon Christ.
Paul didn’t ignore the hard parts of his faith. He simply added the good in.
[bctt tweet=”Faith does not equal an easy life. Faith equals a full and abundant life that has nothing to do with our circumstances. #ComeWithMe #livingfreetogether” username=”suzanneeller”]
And that defines faith that says thank you.
Yes, I’m struggling in this area but I have the freedom to be honest about that. I will be grateful for who God is in the midst of this battle.
Lord, I almost forgot that my faith isn’t so that I might live an easy life, but that I would have life to the full. A life of intimacy with you. A life marked as a daughter of God. A life of walking with you, wherever you lead. Thank you for that.
Adding the good in changes the trajectory of our faith.
Like my friend, and like the apostle Paul, it leads to untapped joy just waiting to be discovered because of our faith.
Day #7 of Living a Life of Thank You
Q: Paul describes the hard places in his life. Share yours. Don’t be afraid to be honest about it. Then, share the good of your faith in that same circumstance.
Q: Paul said in 2 Corinthians 12:10, “For when I am weak, I am strong.” What does that mean to you personally?
- On page 131 of Come With Me, it reads:
Gratitude is one of the easiest and most profound ways to give. That’s why we verbalize the blessings, not just on a busy day when we are juggling and nothing is going right, but when the stakes are higher. Saying the words out loud are a kiss on Jesus’ cheek.
- Will you do that right now? Will you stop and thank God for rescuing you? For redeeming you. Don’t tie it in to your current circumstances, or what you hope he’ll do, but for what he’s already done for or in you.
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