Tuesday, October 30, 2007

It will be

Our fall session of Bible study concluded last night with our traditional meal and fellowship at the Chinese restaurant. We had a wonderful time laughing, chatting and boasting in the Lord. Our God has done such a work of grace among us! This go-round we studied 2 Corinthians, something of a quick overview as we covered all thirteen chapters in eleven weeks. The Holy Spirit had much to teach us through Paul's words and He of course was faithful to do so.

Our group is comprised of ladies from different churches, of different ages and different occupations. Yet God brought us to a place where our conversation was transparent and honest, where we were unafraid to ask the tough questions, openly admitting our struggles and questions. Truly it was God at work in our midst as we sought to work out our salvation with fear and trembling as God worked in us to will and to do for His good pleasure.

One theme we studied at length was the reality and benefit of suffering in the life of a believer. This lesson became a stark reality for us as two of our sisters are currently battling cancer. Both ladies will testify of God's faithfulness and will say with Paul that when they are weak, their God is strong. They each refuse to merely endure; they desire to bring much glory to God, wherever His path may lead. The boldness of their faith brings challenge and conviction as I consider the smallness of my own.

I've been beseeching God concerning a specific issue for years, even when He seemed far off and the outlook grim. I wish I could say my faith has been steadfast, that I've remained firm in my conviction that He could, and He would, and that I was waiting in hopeful expectation.

Instead, my requests were often offered with more doubt than faith; I would ask, yet sometimes even as I was asking I would remain convinced nothing would change. I stood and stayed despite discouragment and disappointment and difficulty, yet deep down I wanted more than once just to flee and leave the struggle far, far behind. I wanted to believe God was able to do more than I could ask if I would only wait on Him and His good timing, yet escape was a real temptation. I did in fact grow weary in doing good and I would doubt the Lord would reap a harvest here in this situation.

My friend tells of an acquaintance being told "if only you had enough faith, God would have healed you." Does God work that way? Measuring out our faith to see if it is adequate for Him to respond in kind? No doubt you've heard similiar testimony: Just believe God; have faith and He will ________!

Certainly God honors and rewards the bold, unashamed faith that believes nothing is impossible with Him. However these types of exhortations as I've described encourage a real temptation to place our faith in our faith, seeking to muster up just enough faith to manipulate God to action.

I say all that to say this: when God reveals His power and His faithfulness here in this present circumstance--and I did say WHEN because He WILL, He must, He alone is our hope--I will be unable to say that I believed and therefore God came, as if my faith were sufficient or adequate to prompt God to act.

My faith has been weak. Many days not even a mustard seed's worth. I've desperately wanted to believe He would hear and answer with awesome deeds of righteousness, I've deeply desired to be faith-full, yet so often the (perceived) impossibility of the situation seemed the greater reality.

I admit this with much shame and conviction.

When I behold the glory of God in this circumstance, I know it will be despite me and certainly not because of me. It will be because God is God and I am not. It will be because He is good and faithful and I am weak and unworthy. It will be because of His grace, undeserved, unmerited, freely and unreservedly poured out without measure. It will be so He alone receives all glory, honor and praise.

And so it will be.

1 comment:

  1. Oh I know that struggle all too well. The wait seems so long sometimes...yet I really think there is something that is woven into our lives during the process. If we got what we wanted instantly, where would the deep understanding of his faithfulness, and that knowledge of my utter dependence on him come from?

    I used to lament in my early christian life how I tended to be so up in the mountain the one moment and down in the valley the next. But I've come to understand that it has everything to do with seasons...and the spring's newness wouldn't be quite so precious if it weren't for the winter's barrenness. It's all about changing out the old wineskins for the new. (A bit off topic but that's where my scattered mommy-brain took me :D )