In Ecclesiastes 3, we read that there is a time for everything. The writer says that, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven” (vs. 1). Not sure if you have ever noticed it, but doesn’t it seem that God calls us to take faith steps at the most inopportune times? We look at all the details of our lives and try to find a rhyme, reason, or purpose for why God would be asking us to step out at that particular time in our lives, and it does not always clearly make sense. But does it have to make sense? Does it need to make sense in order for us to take that step, or is it simply enough to know that God’s thoughts are higher than our thoughts and His ways are above our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9)? Does that truth alone compel us to believe that every season we experience, even the inopportune seasons of faith, are times that He has designed for us to experience?
The churchy answer is yes, it should be enough. However, my heart does not always follow with this same confidence. In fact, I can easily become fearful, overwhelmed and even start the process of rationalizing things away…until by the end of day, I am convinced that I just made it all up. Can you relate? There are even times when those things outweigh my hope and faith, and I find myself doubting my calling, my salvation, and even the love of God for me. Why do faith steps have to be so difficult, and how can I overcome this doubt?
The most obvious answer is that it wouldn’t be faith steps if it did not require faith, trust, and obedience in the One who calls us to take the step. We have already established this is not easy to do, but although it isn’t easy, our entire relationship with God is based on nothing more than faith. We are saved by the grace of God through faith (Ephesians 2:8). Therefore, if the very basis of our relationship with God is faith, we should not be surprised if God continues to sanctify us through continuous steps of faith.
A second answer, one that has truly been the fuel to my faith fire, is to remember. Even the most inexperienced of us, who have not taken many faith steps, must try and remember what God has done for us. The cross alone reminds us that we can trust the God who gave His life to save ours. For those of us who have experienced the blessings of taking faith steps in the past, we must try and remember God’s faithfulness through that season. If all else fails, that seems to be the one thing that drives me to obedience.
A beautiful example of this is found in the book of Lamentations. This is a book written by the prophet Jeremiah, who was given the difficult faith step to plead with God’s people to turn from their disobedience. Of course, a large majority of them refused to listen to Jeremiah, and experienced the judgment of God. However, Jeremiah found hope in the middle of his circumstances. Jeremiah says his soul continually remembers his affliction and wandering, and he actually gives the picture of his soul being “bowed down” within him. I don’t know about you, but that is a perfect description of how my soul can often feel. But, and this is an important but, he says, “This I call to mind (this I remember), and therefore I have hope. The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; great is Your faithfulness. The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in Him” (Lamentations 3:19-24).
What an amazingly beautiful example of what drives our faith as believers. Although God calls us to take faith steps at the most inopportune times, and although our soul wanes at the thought of what these steps will require of us, we MUST find our hope in the love and faithfulness we have experienced from God in the past.
I love you guys, and I’m praying that this truth can be encouraging and empowering for you.