Shortly after my divorce, I found a plaque that now hangs on my wall. It says, “Faith is not believing that God can. It is knowing that He will.” The more I journey through this phase in my life, the more I come to understand this saying. I have never doubted that God could do anything. The question is will He do what He has promised? Or, perhaps more appropriately, do I believe that God will do what He promised?
I have spent the last few weeks contemplating the work God has been doing in my life over the last years, and the common theme I keep seeing is the building of my faith. I always thought my faith was pretty strong, but I am beginning to realize just how weak it really has been.
On the morning my husband was planning to resign from our church, I heard the song Voice of Truth:
Oh what I would do to have
The kind of faith it takes to climb out of this boat I’m in
Onto the crashing waves
To step out of my comfort zone
To the realm of the unknown where Jesus is
And He’s holding out his hand
But the waves are calling out my name and they laugh at me
Reminding me of all the times I’ve tried before and failed
The waves they keep on telling me
Time and time again. ‘Boy, you’ll never win!’
“You’ll never win”
But the voice of truth tells me a different story
And the voice of truth says “Do not be afraid!”
And the voice of truth says “This is for My glory”
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth
(HALL, JOHN MARK / CHAPMAN, STEVEN CURTIS)
In that very moment as I listened to those words, I knew that God was leading me to a deeper faith, calling me to step out of my comfort zone and that He was waiting with outstretched hands. I knew that the journey to which He was calling me would stretch me, but I never imagined the many twists and turns it would take. What I did know, however, was that He was planning to prove Himself faithful to me, to take my hand and teach me to walk on water. I knew that whatever He had planned would bring Him glory. I knew that all I needed to do was to willingly respond to His call, “Come.”
The journey that I have been on for the last four years has not been one for the faint of heart. It has been difficult and painful, and yet it has been some of the best years of my life. I find myself a little closer to my Savior every day, a little more in love with Him, hopefully a little more like Him. I enjoy life more and worry less about what the future holds, about what people think about me. I find myself trusting the promises of my Savior more each day, and I hear His voice speaking directly to me more than ever before. I love His Word and desire to have an unparalleled obedience. I find that words of encouragement just flow naturally from my mouth, and I have the joy of encouraging others and leading them closer to God.
But, the faith building process continues.
There are so many things I don’t know, that I don’t understand. I don’t know when this season of my life will be over. I don’t know when His promises to me will be fulfilled. I don’t know what my life will look like a few years from now. I don’t know what ministry He has for me. I sometimes want to just tell Him, “Hey, God! It’s really simple! Just take A + B and it will equal C!”
But, God reminds me that My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9). From my vantage point, it really would be a simple process. But, God has so much more in mind than I do.
My perspective is truly about what I want and what I (think I) need; God’s perspective is from eternity to eternity. My perspective is about getting out of this season of life; God’s perspective is about developing me into His image. My perspective is about joy and happiness; God’s perspective is about holiness and maturity.
Even though I may not always like the way God does things, I know that His way is best. I know that His timing is perfect, and I cling to the knowledge that all His plans for me are good—to prosper me and to give me a hope and future (Jeremiah 29:11). I know that in scripture we continually see examples of God completing His work when the time had been fully accomplished (see the story of the birth of Jesus). God has a grand plan, and if I’m smart I will let Him work out all the details in His time and in His way.
I have another plaque that hangs in my house. It simply reads:
Faith in God includes faith in His timing.
I am learning to trust God and His timing, to rest in Him. As I persevere in prayer, I find my anxiety diminishing and my peace increasing (Philippians 4:6). I find that He gives me exactly the encouragement and faith I need to get through the day—or even the moment. I find that He is always there, comforting me, strengthening me, leading me, whispering to me. He is the constant in my life, the one I can always turn to, the one I can always trust.
As difficult as this journey can be and as impatient as I get with God, I am excited about the outcome. I am excited to see the finished product, to see the great plans He has for me. I am excited to one day look back and see the changes that He brought about in my life and in the lives of my kids—just because I chose to trust, wait, and persevere.
And I am certain that God, who began the good work within ME, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns (Philippians 1:6).
Thank you, God, for loving me so much that you wouldn’t leave me where I was! Carry out your work in me until it is complete!