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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

By Faith, Not By Sight

Today is link up day at GMG and our study this week of Sally Clarkson's book 'The Ministry of Motherhood' is on faith. Specifically how do we give our children the gift of faith.

What is faith, really? This is just my humble opinion.. but for me:
faith is choosing to believe and trust in the unseen. Choosing to believe that a God, whom I cannot see, loves me and will take care of me.  Faith is that intangible thing that holds me together in the trials and tribulations that life throws at us all the time.

Abraham is known as the father of faith.. no other man in the bible displayed his level of faith in God. As we well know, even to the point of giving over his son to die at his own hands because he chose obedience to God over his love for his son.

For me, obedience to God and faith are tied up together. If I profess to have faith in God then I must be obedient to Him.
This is part of my covenant with Him. I can trust in His provision and care but I have to uphold my end of the bargain by being obedient in all He asks of me. Interestingly enough,  there are many instances where God takes care of us, even when we are not doing His will, but that's for another post.

One day when Jesus was weary He asked the disciples to take him out on the lake so He could rest from the demands of the crowds who pursued Him. After He fell asleep, a violent storm blew up and the disciples were terrified.

 Matt 8:24 "So they woke him up saying, 'Save us Lord, we are lost!' And he said to them, 'Why are you so frightened, you who have so little faith?' And then he stood up and rebuked the winds and the sea and there was a great calm'

The disciples were afraid, even though Jesus was in the midst of them. They ought to have had faith that he would not let anything happen to them, but they had not yet achieved that level of faith. I'm sure after this incident, their faith began to grow.

So it is with us, in the storms of life, when our little boats are being rocked and fear is the natural human reaction, we are called to remember that Jesus is with us and that we are safe. We have to trust that He will take care of our needs, protect us from harm, guide us onto the right paths and teach us to know His will.

 As we go through our trials our faith begins to grow and, if we take the lessons from those trials with us, we achieve new heights of faith and trust in God.

This, in essence, sums up the content of Chapters 9 and 10 of  'The Ministry of Motherhood'... teaching our children to have this kind of faith, faith that will take them through the storms of life that WILL come. We cannot shelter them from hardships and trials so we have to teach them how to handle them. 

In Chapter 10 Sally says "The best way to give the critical gift of faith to our children, in other words, is to exercise faith in our own lives - to accept the difficulties of life and choose to trust God in the midst of them"

She goes on to say that we have to expose them to stories about faith, both in the bible and real life examples around us of people living out their faith."We must teach them about faith, yes, We must live as examples of faith. We must urge them to do what is right even if that means taking risky chances that makes us a little nervous" 

Well, this quotation particularly speaks to my heart!  My husband and I strive to live out our faith every day. It is not always easy, believe me! Our children do not always understand our choices, especially when measured against the secular world, but we pray that they are, nonetheless, receiving positive and life-giving impressions deeply printed on their hearts.

I have conversations with my two older girls (20 and 18) about our choice not to use contraception but to leave my womb open to God's will, our choice not to do tubal ligation, even after four c-sections. They, who are bombarded by the world's point of view, struggle to understand and accept but this is what living out our faith is for us.. being willing to leave even my own life in His hands. It is scary, from the world's point of view even stupid and risky.

 Ah, but that is what God calls us to do if we truly have Faith.. do the risky, the stupid, the scary.. in obedience to Him and  because we trust in Him.

My children can see that God takes care of us.. that He works miracles, if necessary, to fulfill His Covenant with us. They cannot argue this point, it is before their eyes constantly. They see us go through hardships, our eyes firmly on Heaven. We struggle many times to keep the faith and we may not always have the solution we thought we would, but always there IS a solution!

Last weekend my husband attended a Charismatic Day of Renewal at our church. It was a day of praise and worship, a healing session, digging into God's word and being filled anew with the Holy Spirit. The theme was "By faith not by sight". That sums up the meaning of faith for me.. to be led like a blind man.. trusting in the One who leads to make sure your path is secure, nothing to trip you up or hurt you. 

I pray for all of us to be filled with that kind of faith.. may our children learn from our examples and may the gift of faith be theirs to take them through the storms of life.. may we trust God to calm all of our storms and lead us to safety.


"Ima" said...

Well, this whole post was wonderful. I was ready to point out a part that I really liked, but then I realized I liked the whole thing:)What a great reminder that our trials grow our faith. Loved this!

Lisa Maria said...

Thank you Ima.. your encouragement is always a blessing.