Throwback Thursday – When FAITH is Fragile or Broken

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I was scrolling through some posts on my blog the other day and landed on this one… and boy! did I need to hear these words again!!!  Seems lately that when I look around at what my eyes can see and the sheer “impossibility” of being able to make things work on our own… my faith feels fragile and sometimes broken.  I have to CONSTANTLY remind myself that “We walk by faith, not by sight.” (2 Cor. 5:7)  Otherwise, I will fall into a pattern of discouragement, and I’ll drag along with me anyone else who will listen… expecially those in my household.  It’s hard to “Trust God” when we have no earthly idea what He is up to… But isn’t that exactly what Faith is?

“Faith is the assurance of things you have hoped for, the absolute conviction that there are realities you’ve never seen.”  Hebrews 11:1, (VOICE translation)

So if your “Faith” seems a little fragile or cracked today, may the Lord use these words to glue you back together.  I’m clinging to Jesus, and praying for you!  🙂

Throwback Thursday on SmellingCoffee.com

Hello, my friends~ I am thinking of and praying for all of you that God brings this way. I’m especially praying for those of you who presently need encouragement, and am praying that what the Lord gave me to share today will be used in a powerful way. It’s honest and humbling… and long. I thought about dividing it into two or three posts, but just didn’t feel God’s peace in doing that. So…I’m trusting that if you need it, God will provide the time to read it and soak in His Truths. And if you don’t need it today, maybe you can tuck it away for a time when you will. Because every once in a while, as long as we are living on this side of Heaven, our faith will feel a little fragile.

Not too long ago, I was doing a little dusting, and my “Faith” fell off the shelf and part of it shattered.

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As I picked it up and tried to put it back together, the Lord showed me that this was a picture of my own faith from time to time. Faith has a fragility factor about it – or it wouldn’t truly be faith, would it?

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I saved this cracked-and-pieced–back-together-FAITH because it was still valuable to me, and I knew that one day {and not for the first time} I would look just like it.

Today is that day.

Lately, my “FAITH” has been enjoying a promising presence on the shelf of my life and I’m afraid it had become a little dusty. We’ve been plugging happily along, seeking to live by the mantra God has given to our family: “Obey Me for today and trust Me for tomorrow.”

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We have watched God step in and provide and orchestrate, and were making plans for the future based on what we thought to be the next “thing” God would do for us.

However, this week we learned that what we “hoped” would work out, what we had “counted-on” and “planned with that in mind” would not be immediately coming to fruition. And my FAITH fell off the shelf, and then cracked a little.

You see, back in 2009, our family began a walk of faith like we’d never before known – one of those times When the Rubber Hits the Road and you get those precious chances to actually live out what you believe. (The Story can be found here.)

Back then, in obedience and faith in what God led us to do, we placed our house on the market, knowing that God would be moving us to “somewhere He would show us.”  In God’s perfect timing, He did exactly that and moved us to Cleveland, MS. We are so happy to be where we are, and are never planning on going back. Though God has continued to confirm our call here, He has yet to sell our house there.

In 2011, after our Nashville house was on the market for almost two years, a couple asked to “lease to purchase” it from us. We sought the Lord about it, feeling that this was God’s provision for both them and us, and gratefully accepted their offer. They were to purchase the house after two years of leasing (which was supposed to be this past April) and we were counting down the days! We made plans for how God must be planning on using the timing of the sell to provide for some rather big and present needs. All was good.

Then April came, and they asked for an extension through August. Again, we sought the Lord’s counsel, obeyed, and began another countdown as we waited on the Lord. Because it’s now July, we once again started making plans for how God would be meeting some needs through the sell of that property. (Notice a not-so-wise-pattern here?  as in We were making plans for God…)

All was good, until this week, when we found out that it will be a year or more until the family can purchase the house; and even at that, they may never be able to do so.

That’s when my dusty FAITH fell and cracked.

Immediately that famous fight between “faith and sight” began as I tried to understand God’s reasoning for continuing to NOT work this out and release us from that home-responsibility.

My countenance fell as I named to God those “needs” we thought He would take care of through the sell of that property. Next came those questions of logistics… How are we going to…? What about…? But we…? Square one… Really, Lord?

On the heels of the logistical questions came the most painful one: “Why, Lord?”

Then came the one I’ve learned to ask following the “Why?” question: “What is it that you are doing, Lord, that you could do in no other way but this?”

At that time, my answer came. I don’t yet know the specific activity that the Lord is accomplishing through this presently discouraging turn of events, but I do know what He is doing in me/us…

He is dusting off our FAITH, moving it around a bit, and giving us the opportunity to continue to trust Him “even though.”

 

Even though the fig trees have no blossoms,
 and there are no grapes on the vines;

even though the olive crop fails,
 and the fields lie empty and barren;

even though the flocks die in the fields,
 and the cattle barns are empty,

yet I will rejoice in the Lord!
 I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!

The Sovereign Lord is my strength!

He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights.
(Hab. 3:17-19, NLT)

Things in the Walker world certainly aren’t as bad as this… but I must admit that the sudden turn of events has left my FAITH a little fragile.

My head knows these things:
• God’s timing is always right and perfect. (Hab. 2:3)
• God has a better plan worked out – for our good and His glory. (Rom. 8:28)
• The housing market is much better than it was back in 2009. (our Realtor)
• God is not depending upon the sell of this house in order to provide for our needs. We were. (Psalm 50:10)
• Nothing is too difficult for the Lord! (Jer. 32:17-19)
• Do not worry about this. Keep praying. (Phil 4:6-7)
• Do not grow weary in waiting. (Gal. 6:9)
• What seems impossible (to me) is right up God’s alley. (Luke 18:27)
• Remain content with what we presently have (and don’t focus on what we need for tomorrow) because God has NOT and will not abandon us! {My theme verse: Heb. 13:5)
• Are today’s needs met? Yes. God gives us what we need when we need it. (Psa. 145:15) Our Daily Bread. (Mat. 6:11)
• Get busy gratefully praising and thanking the Lord! (Psa. 103)

Not only does my head know these truths… I’ve memorized them, taught them, written them, printed them, posted them, passed them along to others. My head is in the right place.

It’s my heart that seems to be the problem.

Jeremiah 17:9 tells us that the heart is deceitful… and that we can’t trust it. [That’s why the advice “Follow your heart” is one of the most dangerous things we could ever tell someone to do.}

One reason the heart is deceitful is because the heart can be deceived.

We cannot let ourselves trust what we feel. Our feelings respond to circumstances, and circumstances will change as frequently as the weather. And when those circumstances change from clear-skies-and-sunny to dark-and-stormy, our feelings will usher in doubt of what we KNOW to be true. That’s just what they do.

“…For the one who wavers (hesitates, doubts) is like the billowing surge out at sea that is blown hither and thither and tossed by the wind.” James 1:6

Even though we may be “praying about it,” if we allow our emotions, actions, and reactions to be based on what we can see or what we feel at the moment of discouragement, and let this override what we know to be truth, we will be battered… tossed back and forth, “blown hither and thither,” and jerked wildly around.

The Message Translation puts it this way: “People who “worry their prayers” are like wind-whipped waves.” James 1:6

Ouch.

Especially during times when Faith is fragile, giving into “worrying our prayers” is exhausting. And painful. And stressful. And bruising…

So, what are we to do in times when we realize that Faith has fallen off the shelf and cracked a little or a lot and the heart won’t believe what the head is saying? This is what God has entrusted to me, and what I’ve been practicing this week (and it’s working, btw):

How to make the Heart believe what the Head knows to be God’s TRUTH:

1. Keep repeating in your head what you KNOW to be TRUH – until your heart believes it.
2. Keep what you KNOW to be TRUTH in front of your eyes (write it down and post it around) – until your heart believes it.
3. Keep walking forward in what you KNOW to be TRUH – until your heart believes it.
4. Breathe in and Breathe out – Praising God aloud while Repeating steps 1-3 – until your heart believes it.

 

I have absolutely no idea what God will do and how He will work all of this out. I really don’t understand why it has been such a long, drawn-out issue.

In addition to that, I know that for some of you reading this, you are wishing that the sell of a home would be the biggest of your troubles right now. I’m so sorry. This need certainly isn’t earth-shattering… especially when I look at pictures of African children who are grateful for new pencils, tattered dresses, and shoes that fit their feet. (The Kenyan Mission Team gave their report at church last night – and I was overwhelmed and convicted at how little they had, and how joy-full they were. How can I be any less joy-full???)

But here’s what I’ve figured out: Putting our hope in God working one way, then realizing that He isn’t doing it that way, in whatever circumstance it is… is faith-shattering.

Except, did you notice something in the sentence above?

“Putting our hope in God working one way…” is NEVER where our hope should be placed. No matter the circumstance, determining to “Wait on God to do ___”  is a misplaced wait that shatters faith.

Instead, Scripture tells us to simply “Wait on God.” Period.

Adding anything else to the equation will wear us down, leaving us disappointed. Because, God does NOT work as man works. His plans and ways are higher than we can imagine (Isaiah 55:8-9). God knows the exhaustion that comes from waiting on Him to do something specific, so He wisely tells us to just wait on Him.

In fact, instead of wearing us out, singularly waiting on God energizes us, detangles the weights of “feelings” and “sight,” and frees us to soar above it all on His Victorious wings.

 

Why would you ever complain… or whine… saying, “God has lost track of me. He doesn’t care what happens to me”?
Don’t you know anything? Haven’t you been listening?
God doesn’t come and go. God lasts. He’s Creator of all you can see or imagine.
He doesn’t get tired out, doesn’t pause to catch his breath.
And he knows everything, inside and out.
He energizes those who get tired, gives fresh strength to dropouts.
For even young people tire and drop out, young folk in their prime stumble and fall.
But those who wait upon God get fresh strength.
They spread their wings and soar like eagles,
They run and don’t get tired,
they walk and don’t lag behind.
(Is. 40:27-31, MSG)

Is your FAITH a bit cracked and fragile today?

If so, I am praying for you as I take the pieces of my own fragility and hand them back to the Lord.

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In time, when we get to the other side of the circumstances, we will be able to look back and see what God was doing during the wait. God never wastes a wait.

Sweet friends, I am praying that all of us will choose to keep setting our eyes, minds, feet, and hands on what we KNOW to be true from God’s Word. His promises are TRUTH-GLUE to hold us together in Him as our fragile FAITH is being repaired.

When Faith is Fragile

 

For additional encouragement, read this fabulous post from Liz Curtis Higgs: 20 Verses You Love Most #8 Fret Not , where she says this: “Your concerns are not a burden to him. They are not a nuisance. They are beautiful gifts of faith and trust and gratitude.”  A men.

 

One more thing – I just couldn’t end this post without putting this out there: If any of you know of anyone looking for a one-story, 3 bedroom, 2 bath house in the Nashville suburb area, 1-2 miles from a boat launch at the lake, in a nice, quiet, and safe neighborhood with a swim/tennis/exercise club, and excellent schools… please send them my way. It’s a wonderful ranch-style home with a long front porch, a back patio, fenced in yard, storage barn, mature trees and shade, and it comes stocked full of love and our fondest memories. We grew our family there. It would be perfect for a young family or a retiring couple, or a rental investment. I’m just sayin’. Thank you. 😉 

 

Joyfully edited to add on July 24, 2013… THE LORD DID IT!!!!  The house is sold! Here is the story.  Thank you, my friends, for helping us along the way. 🙂

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About SmellingCoffee

I'm a Jesus-loving, husband-loving, family-loving minister's wife and mom to two teenagers, making our home and serving our Lord in the Mississippi Delta. I study, teach, speak, and write for the greatest Boss in the universe. "Faith, Family, Food, Fun, and Living Life brewed in the fragrance of the knowledge of Jesus Christ in every place": That's what you'll find at SmellingCoffee.com