MY JOURNEY TO REDEMPTION



Hosea 6:1

Come and let us return to the Lord

For He has torn, but He will heal us;

He has stricken, but He will bind us up








We cannot do great things on this earth, only small things with great love - Mother Teresa

Thursday, March 3, 2011

REGARDING FAITH




I wait for the Lord
My soul waits
and in His word do I hope

My soul waits for the LORD
More than those who watch for the morning
Yes, more than those who watch for the morning


One of the greatest challenges I have encountered in my walk with the LORD is learning how to exercise faith. Like many Christians, I have no problem believing the Bible and trusting in the validity of God's promises, but the challenge comes in resting in those promises, and incorporating them into my daily life.

Mt. 11:28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.

The Bible is filled with beautiful promises spoken forth by a faithful and loving God. We have absolutely no reason to doubt these promises, but still, there is this perpetual dichotomy – wanting to believe but still worrying...believing in His word, but not resting in His promises.
In the above Psalm, king David expresses his faith in the living God and compares it to the activities of a military watch.


My soul waits for the Lord
more than those who watch for the morning
Yes, more than those who watch for the morning

He repeats the last phrase as an emphatic statement, and refers to a soldier who stands watch until the sun rises. Notice what he says: he waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning. A soldier does not stand the early morning watch to make sure the sun rises...he stands watch until the sun rises, having full and complete confidence that the sun will rise. There is no doubt in his mind that the sun will rise, and why should there be? The sun has come up every morning since the creation of the world, and there is no reason to doubt that it won't tomorrow, for it is just a fact.

In the same regard, when you go to bed at night, there is little doubt in your mind that the sun will rise the next morning. In fact, it would be pretty ridiculous to worry about such a thing. You just go to bed and wait for the morning.

King David stood watch many times. He saw countless sunrises, but even so, he had more confidence and assurance in the Lord's faithfulness than he did, even in the sun's rising. This is powerful!! It expresses absolute confidence in the Lord's faithfulness. David trusted God for 2 reasons: (1) His faithfulness in the past, and (2) God's nature, which he knew very well because he was so intimately acquainted with Him.

Unlike king David, I tend to worry too much about things that God has promised to take care of. In this life, there are all sorts of worries and distractions that tend to keep us from focusing on the Lord and His faithfulness. Worrying is a part of living in this world, but God tells us not to worry for anything.




Mt. 6:34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

The Bible calls David a “man after God's own heart,” which tells me that this is the faith that God desires for us to have.

David uses the analogy of being watchful, or watching for the morning. When a soldier stands watch, he is not sitting by idly, or slumbering, but on guard and aware, with an acute knowledge of all that is going on around him. Not only are we to be expectantly waiting on the Lord, but we are to be on guard and aware – watchful of what is going on around us until God moves, with the expectation that He will move. This reminds me of the parable of the ten virgins in Matthew 25:1-13, who slumbered while waiting for the bridegroom to come. They were called “foolish,” because although they knew that the bridegroom to return, they were not watchful.

I wait for the Lord
My soul waits
and in His word do I hope

Psalm 37:7 also talks about waiting on the Lord:

Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him

What does it mean to rest in the Lord? The word rest here means to be silent to the Lord. The idea is that of waiting in silent patience or confidence of His interposition; in other words, leaving the whole matter with Him without being anxious for the result (A. Barnes). Throughout the Bible, God identifies Himself as our “rest.” We are to be anxious for nothing, resting in the Lord and His promises while expectantly waiting on Him. Not only will God come through for us, but will give us rest and peace about the situation.

So, then, why is it so difficult to rest in the Lord? Why do we possess worries and doubts when God has declared Himself faithful to His promises? Well, for one thing, I think that many of us lack a real intimate grasp of God's character and nature. I have found that those who seem to have the most faith are those who are closest to God. We know that David was very close to God. We see the intimacy he shared with God throughout many of his Psalms, and the awesome displays of his faith throughout his life – although he did have weak moments, he also brought those to God.

It seems that many of us know of His character – His faithfulness, lovingkindness, and mercy – and how the Bible defines Him, but on a personal and intimate level, we lack a personal understanding of His nature -- an understanding which comes through deep and intimate fellowship with Him. Just like we find it harder to put our trust in people we don't know, our trust is limited by our lack of intimate relationship with God. It is easy to trust in His ability, but not as easy to trust in His will. What if His will involves something that we may not want?

This is when we must continue to rest in Him, even when the trials come and things seem to be so chaotic around us.

We also have trouble applying the character traits of God to our own situations. We know that God is merciful, but we don't know how that mercy will pan out in our own lives. We read the passage that God works all things together for good to those who love Him, but seldom do we rest in that when things seem to be out-of-control. We are afraid that what is for our own good may make us uncomfortable, or that God's mercy may not be according to what we want. Perhaps having all things work together for good means that we may have to undergo some suffering?

I do believe that when we have truly come to terms with the reality and nature of God's character – His unwavering faithfulness and mercy – then we can truly “rest” in His promises, and the full assurance that whatever happens, it is for our own good. We all have a tendency to doubt God from time to time, and this stems from our skeptical human nature. We don't intend to doubt God, but its just in our flesh, just as Eve doubted God when she ate of the fruit.

David also talks about hoping in the Lord:

I wait on the Lord,
My soul waits
and in Him do I hope

David's hope was in God and in His word. God esteems His own word very highly, even above His own name, as the Bible teaches:

Psalm 138:2 I will worship toward Your holy temple, And praise Your name for Your lovingkindness and Your truth. For You have magnified Your word above Your name.

God's word is reliable. It is what we, as Christians, place our hope in. It is a hope of expectation, which the New Testament refers to as eagerly waiting.

Rom 8:25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perserverance

Gal. 5:5 For we, through the Spirit, eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith

Phil. 3:20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ

Heb. 9:28 To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation

Everything that Christ said in His word He will do, and we must eagerly and watchfully wait for Him to do so. This is hope, a confident assurance in the faithfulness of God. King David was so sure that God would come through that he trusted in it more than the rising of the sun. Now that is real faith.

Its pretty amazing to think that the surety of God's word is more certain that the rising of the sun, but if you really think about it, it's not all that inconceivable. In Mt. 24:35, Jesus says heaven and earth will pass away, but my words by no means will pass away. There will come a day when the sun will no longer rise....but there will never be a day when God's word returns void. In my mind, and in my heart, we all know this, so then why is it so hard for many of us to live by this faith, to rest in it, and to act in accordant obedience to it?

Faith is complicated and difficult, because it involves letting go of self entirely, and putting one's full reliance in God. 2 Cor. 5:7 tells us that we walk by faith, and not by sight. The word sight here is rendered appearance. The main idea is, that we are not influenced or governed by the sight. We are not governed or controlled by the things which we see, and we do not see those things which actually influence and control us. In both it is faith that controls us, and not sight (A. Barnes).

Hebrews 11:6 says that without faith, it is impossible to please God. Believing in God on an intellectual level, though, is simply not enough. We must put our complete trust and faith in Him and His work in our lives. For someone whose life has been marked by letdown upon letdown, and whose trust has been continually shattered, this can be very difficult. Even if a person consciously understands the concept of God's faithfulness, complete surrender is more difficult, because there is that nagging, subconscious fear. Even so,

2 Tim. 2:12 If we are faithless, he remains faithful. He cannot deny Himself.

God understands our frame, that we are dust. He understands our insecurities and our fears. He gives us grace and through that grace, He builds us up. Trust is a matter of the will, but God does not ask us to trust Him in vain. We trust in God because of His faithful nature, and who He is....not in case He comes through for us, but because He will. We trust, not only in His word, but also in His character – His faithfulness to carry out His word. Surer than the sun will rise tomorrow, God remains faithful to His word.

Here are some other passages about waiting in the Lord:

Ps. 27:7 Wait on the Lord, be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart. Wait, I say, on the Lord.

Isaiah 40:31 But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up on wings as eagles. They shall run and not be weary. They shall walk and not faint.

Lam. 3:25 The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.

2 comments:

  1. I just found your site - what a wonderful reason to begin a blog! We all need to be reminded of God's Master Plan - thanks for sharing!

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  2. Thank you, Sylvia -- and thank you so much for subscribing. Yes, God is so good!! You are so right. We all need that reminder!!

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