I remember as a little girl how I would often talk and sing to God. Like a friend. Like a father. My favorite place to spend time with Him was in the outdoors, in the wildness of nature, beneath a lovely canopy of oaks or near a gently flowing stream. There is something about the quiet and peacefulness of the forest that has always soothed my soul and lifted my heart towards heaven.
It’s our secret place, a hidden refuge, where me and God can spend time together.
I wonder sometimes if I’m abnormal, the fact I began talking to God early on, even as a young girl. Having lost my father when I was only four years old, perhaps God knew I needed a tangible dose of His presence in my life. For that, I am deeply grateful.
Faith, I do believe, is a gift.
But it is not an exclusive one.
It is available to anyone who seeks after it, who desires to receive it. As Jesus mentions in the parables, it is a hidden treasure, a gold coin, a string of pearls. While it may require some searching, some perseverance and possibly even some suffering before you find it, it’s there. And once you have it, it is like a precious jewel, full of incredible worth and beauty and power that nothing else compares to it.
But walking by faith is a process, a lifelong journey, full of highs and lows, mistakes and doubts, but also hope in what’s to come.
Ways I can choose to either walk by faith or by sight:
- When I look at the events of the world around me, I wonder: Do you care God? Are you going to step in? Why are you letting evil win? Therein, lies a choice: I can choose to doubt His goodness and His power and His sovereignty over all things and become hard-hearted. Or I can pray: Father, I trust that Your ways are not our ways and your thoughts are not our thoughts. I trust that You are in control, even when it doesn’t look like it. I trust in Your goodness and lean on the promise that You are making all things new and that one day, there will be no more tears, no more suffering, no more pain.
- When my children throw tantrums, when they fight, yell, and scream, why they are outright defiant and disobedient to me or other adults, I cry out: Lord, I don’t know how to do this! Am I doing this wrong? I’m terrible at this! Maybe I wasn’t meant to be a mom! But then I hear you say: You have everything You need. Lean on me and I will equip you with the wisdom and discernment to parent these precious children.
- When I see a friend hurting whose suffering just seems to continue with no end, I wonder: Lord, when will you let up? Isn’t it enough already? To which you respond: Trust me, my child. I am working in her life, just as I am in yours. No suffering is pleasant at the time, but I have a plan and it is good. I am working all things together for good, even when you cannot see it. Trust me. One day, you will see.
- When I look at myself in the mirror and see the wrinkles and saggy skin, I think: Oh Lord, I don’t like growing old! I’m not pretty anymore. My body isn’t the same as it used to be. Does everyone say: My, how she’s aged? Should I get Botox?!?! A tummy tuck? A boob job (lift)? To which You respond: Oh my precious one, you are beautiful. You are the apple of My eye. Outward beauty is fleeting. But inner beauty, that which fills your heart and mind and what you meditate on, desire and worship most, is everlasting. (He hasn’t answered me on the Botox/tummy tuck/boob job question!).
- When someone hurts me or angers me, my tendency is to distance myself, to avoid, to back away, to be silent. But then You whisper: They are precious in my sight, too, my child. Love them, just as I have loved you. Forgive them, just as I have forgiven you. Lean on Me for the power and wisdom and desire to do this, for while this seems impossible for some, you know that nothing is impossible with Me.
For me, walking by faith is a choice, an act of surrender, a willingness to submit to the One who is greater than me, the One who reigns over all things, in heaven and on earth, and who will one day establish His kingdom over all peoples and nations and tribes and languages.
Each day, I have a choice. I can demand my rights, cling to my comforts and sulk in my sin, or I can choose to walk by faith, leaning on His grace and love and power, laying all of my needs, my fears, my wants, my hurts and my hopes at His feet.