Originally published Tuesday, 10 September 2013.
Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation. By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen. Hebrews 11:1-3
The very foundation of Christianity is faith. It takes great faith to believe God, that we’ve never seen, sent his son, Jesus, to die on a cross for us. Our faith is what gives us the assurance that even though we cannot physically see God, he is with us. Our faith gives us the strength to push through the difficult times when it seems that everything on earth is caving down around us.
Do you want me to help you feel really good about yourself? Listen to this. Hebrews 11 is the big chapter of faith for Christians, as it lists many of the heroes of our faith. There’s Abraham, David, Moses, Noah, and Rahab, just to name a few. And this group of believers did some pretty amazing things. Abraham believed God would give him a child, even when it seemed absolutely impossible. David killed a giant with a little stone. Noah built a big boat in anticipation of rain (something he had never even seen). Rahab aided complete strangers. Moses led a nation to freedom. Talk about faith!
But as the Bible shares these amazing stories, we also find some “hiccups” in the road of their faith journey. Abraham lied on two different occasions about Sarah being his wife and even offered her over sexually to protect himself. David committed adultery, then murder, to cover up his sin. Moses killed a man and ran to hide. Rahab was a prostitute. Noah got drunk and then was found naked. These are our heroes of faith! Why do you suppose God put this in the story? I mean, he could have just left those things out, right? Well, I am convinced it is to encourage us! God can use us despite our pasts. He can use us in spite of ourselves. Praise God that nothing we could ever do would separate us from the love of our Father. God can and will still use you for great things. Yes, you!
Maybe you think that your life has been too much of a train wreck to get back on course, to be used by God, to do anything significant for his kingdom. Not true.
Over the last couple of years, my family has undergone a large number of medical procedures and surgeries with two of my children and myself. It just so happens that the beginning of our medical concerns launched at a time when our finances were already quite challenging. It had been a trying year financially and medical bills just seemed to be one more thing added to an already extensive list of financial needs and obligations. It almost seemed too much to bear. But worse than the financial bills that accompanied the surgeries was my struggle with faith. No, I didn’t struggle with wondering if God was God. I never questioned that. I struggled with my own faith to see my finances rectified and my children healed.
In the middle of the multiple surgeries, I began to worry that our finances would catapult out of control. I worried that my daughter’s hip would never be repaired or that my son’s shoulder surgery would hinder his future collegiate basketball career. I was angry that my faith did not seem to be enough to heal my children. In Matthew 17:20, Jesus teaches the disciples that if they only had the faith of a mustard seed, they could move mountains. Was that my problem? Was my faith too small to move my financial mountain? My health mountain?
It was in the middle of this struggle that I felt the Lord just whisper to my spirit. I had been using Matthew 17:20 as an excuse to beat myself up that I wasn’t a good enough Christian, that my faith was too small. But He never meant for that Scripture to condemn me. It is to be used to challenge me, push me, encourage me.
God has moved many mountains in my life through faith. In fact, he has moved many mountains in my life that I have failed to thank him for, even though I was on my knees begging for their removal in the moment. Our God is a good, loving Father. We often struggle to believe that our faith is enough. We struggle to grasp that our faith plus nothing equals our salvation. We think if we work harder, pray harder, attend more church events, that God will somehow love us more and be more pleased with us.
Just as your children could do nothing to make you love them any more or any less, we could do nothing to make our Heavenly Father loves us any more or any less. Your faith is enough.
Author/speaker, Jennifer Maggio, is one of the nation’s leading authorities on single parents and women’s issues. She is an award-winning author and founder of The Life of a Single Mom Ministries. She currently oversees one of the nation’s largest single moms support groups and has helped to launch more than 1500 others in churches around the globe. She is a regular on radio and television. For more information, visit http://www.thelifeofasinglemom.com.