Faith by not what we see
It’s the way God works. It’s how he relates with us. For the times we do not see the next step and choose to act on faith, we also take a step towards growth. We grow our spirit man, we grow our soul, we grow our character and we grow our love for God. To choose to live by only what we see is to refuse to grow. A friend of mine jokes when quoting Psalm 119:105. He says, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and not a floodlight unto my path.” Yet in that jest, a profound truth rests. To walk by faith is to have the lamp just light the next step and it is within our jurisdiction to take it without stressing over what the rest of the path looks like. Not so with a floodlight that shows you feet ahead. It is the way our Lord works and it is beautiful.
Human nature has a knack to take things for granted and I believe Christ knows it too well. We take the cross for granted after hearing the story for so long until we watch a Mel Gibson movie. And even still, we say it’s just a movie and take it for granted. We take nature for granted until we watch a video by Al Gore on how we’ve killed mother earth. We take our spouses, our family and our friends for granted with increase in familiarity until one of them rests on a deathbed. And so do we take grace for granted having forgotten the depth of that very word. I mean, you’re reading this and guess what? You’re not among the 3 billion illiterate people in the world who cannot decipher the strokes of a pen. Have you taken it for granted? And it might be possible that if we lived a life of what we saw as opposed by faith, we would take Christ’s blessings and intervention for granted. For a long time I believed that if only I had what I wanted, then I’d be thankful. Yet, Christ impresses in my heart that if only I’d be thankful for what I already have, will I then be happy. Having and lacking are dependent on a zillion factors, more than half beyond our control. Being thankful is within the control of one person, you. Happiness and Joy are dependent on thankfulness. So happiness is just a thank you away or a wait-till-I-have-it away. If you ask me, the latter may even never come.
Habakkuk 3:17-18 says, “Though the fig tree may not blossom. Nor fruit be on the vines; though the labor of the olive may fail, and the fields yield no food; though the flock may be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls- yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.”
You say, that’s a nice verse Ernest but is God saying that he wants me to compare myself to impoverished children in Africa and be content even if my lack is hurting me? The answer is no. God, more than your mama and your Landlord, wants you to be prosperous and successful. He says in Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) “For I know the plans I have for you…plans toprosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Emphasis my own). Then why doesn’t he? The oven needs to be cleaned before we bake a new cake. The broom needs to be picked before it can sweep clean. The shirt needs to be mended before we can put it on. And the human needs to have the right attitude and standing with God before he can be in it for a blessing with a promise. Look at Habakkuk 3:17-18 again.
Habakkuk 3:17-18 “Though the fig tree may not blossom. Nor fruit be on the vines; though the labor of the olive may fail, and the fields yield no food; though the flock may be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls- yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.”
I don’t think the issue is your lack hurting you. I think the issue is you finding more satisfaction in having what you lack than having satisfaction in the God of your salvation. God is more interested in you being holy than in you being rich. Hard truth huh? What if I even told you that God’s desire for marriage is to make you holy before making you happy? You say, Ernest, you’re beginning a cult here. Ok, let me quote some scripture then. God’s overall purpose for humanity is to be conformed to the image of his son. What is that, you ask? That means to become like JESUS in every way. And he will work everything (both evil and good) to ensure that that happens. He purposed this even before the dinosaurs roamed the earth. This is found in Romans 8:28-29.
Romans 8:28-29 “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to his purpose. For whom he foreknew, he also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.” (NKJV)
His ultimate course for you is to be as Christ Jesus was i.e. to be a Holy people. And by holy I’m not talking about doing stuff to please God. God loves Ernest the same way he loves Hitler. In fact Ernest may be worse than Hitler in the eyes of God. His love for us is not based on us being good. But his rewards are based on us being faithful. Holiness is not a state of taintless nature but a pursuit towards being taintless. We can’t live taintless cause we sin even after we receive Christ. The only person who can be taintless in a human body is God a.k.a Jesus Christ.
What does that have to do with paragraph one about waiting on God? Everything. As we wait on God and take a step of faith where we do not see, our focus shouldn’t be on waiting for the time to come so that we can move on. Our waiting is upon a blessing, a door or a reward based on practicing holy living. Therefore our waiting should be as God intends us to wait. Holy waiting, if you like. Wait, God has one of those? Yep. He pretty much has everything figured out. That should comfort you if you have given your life to Christ cause it means you are his child, like a blood relative (see John 1:12). So here’s how we should wait.
1) We should seek God by spending time in the word to know his will.
God will speak more clearly to you through his word than through a false preacher asking you to send 5000kes to receive your blessing. Believe me, you don’t even have to touch your TV and spell the letters on your screen. I mean personal time. I don’t mean Sunday’s powerful service. If you only depend on that for your week’s spiritual nourishment, you are basically giving your spirit one meal per week. If we could see our spirit bodies, yours may look worse than those impoverished children in Africa. Feed your spirit man DAILY.
2) We should wait patiently.
There’s a reason why this is point number two. If you’ve applied point number one diligently and faithfully, chances are that you KNOW FOR SURE what God is saying about your situation. You will know if he really wants you to change jobs or not. You will know if you should get married to him/her or not. You will know because He speaks through his word, granted! (These points won’t be applicable in one seating. It may take weeks to get to point 2) So, point 2. We must wait patiently knowing that God will do what he said he would do. For us humans, it may look like waiting, but to God it may be something else. He says in Habakkuk 2:3 that the vision is for an appointed time and though it tarries, wait for it; because it will surely come. It will not tarry. So it’s not that God is holding it in his hand until he see’s you’ve cooled off and learned patience. He’s purposed the reward, the blessing for the PERFECT TIME and that time WILL come. He says in Ecclesiastes 3:11a “He has made everything beautiful in its time.” (NKJV). So it will not only come, but it will be beautiful as well. It simply has two options. To either come…or to come. Wait patiently.
3) We should wait on God alone.
God shouldn’t be on a list of “Thing’s to try and make it work.” And even if you have that list, God should not be number one. He should be the only one. The words in 1st Corinthians 1:27 tells us that God uses the foolish things of this world to shame the things that are mighty. You may have placed your hope in other things as a back up plan, just in case God doesn’t come through. (It sounds bizarre to be honest. How can the God who split the Red Sea fail your situation?). However, God used murderers to split Red seas. He used unschooled folk to spread Christianity and the love of the church. He used a pregnant teenager to come on earth (not a famous politician or a King’s daughter or wife). And he used you to do his will. Yes, you. You with all your frailties, you know your weaknesses. You know you’re not that great and awesome. And still he used you. So, depend not on chariots and horses. By the way, did you know that the middle verse in the Bible is Psalm 118:8. It reads, “It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man (NKJV)” If that’s the middle of the Bible, it should be the centre of my life cause the word is our life. It died on the cross to give us that life. And it is alive. It is a HE. Trust in Him. Some trust in horses and Ferraris but our trust in the creator of the Galaxy! Wait on God alone.
4) We should wait awhile counting our blessings and being thankful.
We covered most of that in paragraph 3. Read it again if you must. However, I cannot belabour the point further than that we owe Christ everything and he owes us nothing. GRACE. It’s why we have eternal life for accepting him in our hearts. GRACE. It’s why we can mess up so much and yet Christ can still forgive us. Think of the worst thing you’ve ever done. Have you? Now, thank Jesus for forgiving that too. Isn’t he awesome? Find out as far back as you can, how good he’s been. Nasty things may have befallen us, but look at Job. Look at a man who was whipped with hooks and leather and bled to death on a cross and see that though troubles and storms prevailed, we are alive and we have the hope of renewing our lives. Think of the worst thing that has happened to you. Have you? Now allow Jesus to heal that because he can. He can heal rape trauma, he can heal infidelity, he can heal broken hearts and he can heal physical diseases.
So say I to you, “Be strong do not fear, tarry awhile, hold fast. He will come and save the day.”
5) Finally, act on His instruction.
If you’ve been praying for a wife, waited and God brought one, act on it. Do not just be a man of faith, be a faithful man and act. If you’ve been waiting for University and God brought a response, or even maybe three responses (lucky you!), start looking through their websites and choose the one you desire. The funny thing about us is that after we’ve waited on God for so long and we’ve fasted and prayed and cried, and God finally answers and brings it at the appointed time, a beautiful thing, our response goes something like, “I’m praying about it and waiting on God.” And I go like aaargghhh! You just read a whole blog about waiting and you still want to wait. Sigh! Maybe other bloggers out there may help you. I just hope your Internet doesn’t keep you waiting.