Surviving Adultery and Divorce, Uncategorized, Waiting

Walking by Faith

For we walk by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7)

Several months ago, I was reading Mark 9. It contains the story of a man whose son was possessed by a demon. The man came to Jesus begging him to help. He said to Jesus, “If you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us” (v 22). Jesus responded, “If you can? Everything is possible to the one who believes!” (v 23). Immediately the father cried out, “I do believe! Help my unbelief” (v 24).

How often I have been just like that father—I believe, but I really need help overcoming my unbelief. I waver between faith and doubt. I find myself crying out to God to help my unbelief.

And, therein we remember the old adage to be careful what we pray for.

Yes, God is in the process of refining me—of helping my unbelief. He is teaching me what it means to walk by faith and not by sight. And, through the process, my faith is growing exponentially. But, it is not a process for the faint-hearted.

I was recently asked what it meant to walk by faith and not by sight. I referred to the call of Abram in Genesis 12. God called Abram (later named Abraham) to go out from his land to a place that God promised to show him. So, Abram went (vv 1-4). God did not give Abram any specifics; He simply said go and I will show you. That’s the perfect illustration of walking by faith.

I have had many opportunities to walk by faith throughout my life, and I really thought that I was pretty good at it. Usually if I am confident that God has told me to do something, I can act in faith. I’ve been blessed to experience His presence in such circumstances in the past, and I can see how He has led me through the years. But, usually the blessings and answers have come relatively quickly.

Abraham didn’t receive immediate answers. God promised him that He would be the father of many nations, but Abraham had no children. As he waited for God to fulfill the promise, he became impatient and took matters into his own hands. (See Genesis 16…His wife was also in this decision, and she later regretted it.) It took many years for Abraham to see the promise fulfilled, but God was faithful.

I feel a lot like Abraham right now. I am wandering in an unknown land, waiting for God to fulfill His promises. I have begun to take steps of faith even though I can’t see how His promise can ever be true. I find myself returning to the Word, to scriptures He has given me throughout the last year, just to make it through the day sometimes.

And, isn’t that what He wants more than anything?

You see, God could have told Abraham to go to Bethel. He could have easily laid out the entire plan for Abraham from the beginning: “You will start at point A and end at point B, but you will face obstacles C, D, and E along the way. This journey will take years, and you will make some mistakes along the way. But, don’t worry. I’ll take care of it all.” But that defeats God’s purpose.

God’s purpose is for us to be in relationship with Him. We work so hard to teach our children independence, and He works so hard to teach His children dependence! He wants us to need His direction every step of the way. He wants us to seek His will at every turn, in every circumstance. He only wants us to move when He tells us to move—and He wants us to wait when He tells us to wait. He wants us to trust Him to lead us into the future one step at a time.

When the Israelites were led out of Egypt, they were forced to wander in the desert for 40 years (don’t feel too sorry for them—it was their choice because of their rebellion). Instead of living in the Promised Land flowing with milk and honey, they were wandering, existing on some unknown food known only as manna. Granted, they saw the manna provided every single day. Every single day, God gave them their daily food and met their needs. Their shoes and their clothes never wore out. God was so good to them!

But, if God had told them about the journey they were to take, I am willing to bet that they would have chosen to stay in bondage in Egypt.  Over and over, they grumbled against God and against Moses for bringing them out of slavery because they enjoyed rich foods and pleasures back in Egypt. Over and over, they experienced God’s judgment because of their lack of faith and their disobedience.

God never promised an easy journey, but He promised that He would walk with us, lead us every step of the way. The Israelites were blessed to have a cloud leading them by day and a pillar of fire by night. But, they had to rely on Moses to get their directions. They didn’t have the opportunity to enter the Holy of Holies and bask in the presence of a Holy God like we do. Thanks to the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross, I can go directly to God for my marching orders!

The Israelites eventually made it to the Promised Land, a land flowing with milk and honey. They enjoyed the best of everything, and they saw God completely annihilate all of their enemies! And, they were all descendants of Abraham—the fulfillment of God’s promise to the father of this great nation! All of God’s promises were fulfilled. But, they had quite a journey—one that they never would have chosen on their own.

Where are you today? Are you clinging to your bondage out of fear—fear of what the journey might hold? Is it better to remain in chains, or to step out in faith on a journey that will test you and try you at every turn? Is it better to cower in fear or to place your faith in a Savior who will lead you every step of the journey?

I’ve chosen to journey with my Savior, and I find myself clinging to Him more each day. The more I cling to Him, the more I hear Him giving me directions. The more I obey those directions, the more I experience His peace and His presence. The more I experience His peace and His presence, the more opportunities I find to glorify Him. The more I glorify Him, the more abundant my life becomes.

Is it all a bed of roses? No, not by any means. I have traveled a long and difficult road, and I know that the days ahead are full of trials. But, my faith grows deeper every day. I become more confident in my Savior’s love and care for me. I become more certain that His promises to me will be fulfilled—when my faith is at the depth He wants it!

Do you want to please God? Hebrews tells us there’s a key.

Now without faith it is impossible to please God, for the one who draws near to Him must believe that He exists and rewards those who seek Him (Hebrews 11:6).

I want my life to be pleasing to God. Therefore, I will let Him perfect my faith through times of testing and trial as I seek Him and walk daily with Him. Will you join me on the journey?

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15 thoughts on “Walking by Faith”

  1. Walking by faith… not always a easy thing to do. Where I am presently in my life, a life filled with uncertainty, I have frequent struggles with anxiety. Going through a painful divorce has left me with a lot of unknowns, an unknown financial future, an unknown future regarding family and an unknown future regarding where my home will be. The thing that enables me to get some sleep at night is knowing the Lord is at my side, but I still have fears. I hold on to “I will never leave you or forsake you…” And my God will supply all your needs…”
    I can definitely relate to your statement “I feel a lot like Abraham right now. I am wandering in an unknown land, waiting for God to fulfill His promises” (I am doing a lot of wandering right now…or maybe its wondering)
    I know from experience God is faithful but I am first to admit, I freak out at times when I see the size of the waves. Yes, walking by faith is necessary but not always easy. The father in scripture saying “I do believe! Help my unbelief”
    Hmm..I know what that’s like.

    1. There is NOTHING easy about walking by faith! But, the more we do it, the more faith and confidence we develop in God’s promises to carry us through. The Israelites saw God provide for them every single day, but they still grumbled and complained. We are human. God understands the difficulty of walking with an unseen God.

      We all freak out at times. I promise that I have a lot of unknowns–even five years after filing for divorce. I’ve seen God make drastic improvements in my life, but there are times I still cry out in pain and anxiety. Last fall, I went through a time of depression–so drastic that I went to the doctor convinced something had to be wrong with me. When I finally got alone with God, He opened my eyes to the source of depression, wrapped me in His arms, and simply said, “Trust me! I’ve got this!” I wish I could say I was instantly cured. I was instantly better, but I still have my fears and anxieties over what He has shown me. I still have periods of unbelief.

      In April, I ran my first half marathon (see the entry titled A Run to Remember). I likened my life to that race. The first mile or two is hard. You are trying to establish a pace. You are looking at how far you have to go. It’s overwhelming! Then, you get to phase two (miles 3-10) and you settle into a pace. You begin to enjoy the run. You can see familiar landmarks from a new perspective. You feel like you could keep it up forever! Then, you hit phase 3 (miles 10-13). Your body begins to feel the exhaustion. Your legs ache. You are hungry. You begin to wonder if you can make it. Finally, in phase 4, your round the corner and see the finish line. You see those you love on the sidelines, cheering you on. With a final burst of energy, you power across the line into the arms of Jesus who is waiting to welcome you, to say, “Well done!” You are in those first, difficult miles of your journey. You have yet to establish a pace, and the rebuilding process is overwhelming. I promise that if you just keep pushing, you will make it to a place where the anxieties and depression lessen, where the moments of fear diminish, where you find it easier to trust your Savior. You will eventually find a new depth to your love for God, a new level of faith and trust. You will find that you have walked by faith back into a beautiful life that only God could give!

      Hang in there! You are in my prayers!

    1. I heard a sermon this morning about Elisha. The pastor said that we usually only are about 60% certain that God will do what He says. We stand there, proclaiming what God has told us, HOPING He will come through! That resonated so much with me. I don’t know where this journey is leading, but as long as I walk with Him I know it will work out. What an adventure!

      1. I have a feeling that it’s the next two years that are going to BLOW MY MIND! I’m with you–I want total and complete confidence in God and His word to me!

      2. 60% hmm… sometimes my faith is at 80 and sometimes 40. Sometimes it depends what has happened this morning.
        Right now, I feel like David facing Goliath and I can’t remember where I put my sling!!

      3. You know, I feel the same way many times. Over the last year, God has revealed something to me that will happen in the future. I spent a year wrestling with Him, trying to make sure it was His voice not my own. I finally accepted it as coming from Him, and I have begun to walk in faith that it will happen in His time. However, it is completely dependent upon someone else–and I have no idea what God has said to this other person! I have moments where I am completely confident that God will bring it to pass. Minutes later, I can find myself thinking that I am a complete fool! To top it all off, most of my friends in whom I’ve confided simply say, “Maybe so…” No one can see and hear and comprehend the amount of time I have spent in prayer over this matter, and many think I’m trying to read my own will into God’s.

        Gideon was much the same way. God called Him to lead an army into battle. Gideon’s response was like mine: “Are you sure, God? Give me a sign.” And God did. So, Gideon said, “Well, I see it, but give me another sign.” And God did. So Gideon began to act on what he’d been told, and God began to whittle his army down to 300 men. The beauty of the story is that every turn, God reaffirmed His word to Gideon! He didn’t tire of Gideon’s weak faith; instead He offered reassurance. God has been the same way with me. When I’m in those moments of 40% (or less!!), God always gives me a scripture or sermon or something to reassure me! He has never failed to encourage my faith when it was wavering! That’s why I am constantly in scripture or listening to sermons. That’s why I have Christian music playing in my home 24/7. That’s why I read Christian books all the time. I never know what God will use to give me that little piece of encouragement.

        Listen for God’s reassurances all around you. Bathe your life in scripture and sermons and Christian music. Let Christ renew your mind. And, I guarantee He will reveal where you left that sling shot!!

  2. A step of faith is indeed a difficult one to take, but when we overcome the unbelief and eventually do take one step, it builds our confidence to keep going. God help me…

    Thanks for referring somebody to my blog. I love your blog and would love to read more from you. God bless you always..

  3. Yes, I want to be on this journey as well. Knowing that all that is going to matter is a life that is lived for my GOD, I too pay that HE will help my unbelief and enable me to be led by HIM.

    1. Ram, Through all of the trials, I am finding my faith growing by leaps and bounds! He is so faithful to hear and answer the prayer lifted to Him in humility. It’s great to have a fellow traveler on this path!

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