Jun. 11, 2017

Faith

I’ve struggled. Many who came to my sister’s funeral asked me for a copy of my notes. I led the service for my sister and presented her eulogy. It’s a difficult request because what I shared is so personal and is, after all, about her; not me.

I smiled sweetly when the first person asked. I remained grateful for the feedback from others, but when I received many requests I knew I needed to prayerfully consider sharing my notes. My fear is that this comes across as somehow being about my ability. I needed to wait until God’s Spirit could assure me that sharing this message has nothing to do with me. The message is one of testimony to Him and admiration for my sister.

Here is what I’ve decided (with a little help from a friend and lots of nudging by the Holy Spirit): I will share the message portion of Debbie’s service. I will remove anything that personally relates to her. I believe it is okay to share my thoughts with you about faith.

“Anytime anyone is asked to speak at a memorial service, we must juggle between what we feel we want to say, what we believe needs to be said, and how to best serve the family – all of the family. When you’re a Christian, you pray.

Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen.”

Faith is easy when times are easy. Faith is excruciatingly difficult when we face difficult circumstances.

The interesting thing about faith is that we choose to embrace it, deny it, minimize it or we allow it to lay dormant. The choice is ours.

Genesis 1:1 launches the journey of faith. It tells us that “In the beginning, God created the heavens and earth.” If we don’t believe in God as Creator, faith is foreign to us.

When we look at the final words in the bible, we’re told, “He who testifies about these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly. Amen! Come, Lord Jesus! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints. Amen.”

These words assure us that Christ will return and that His grace will be with those of us who exalt Him through our faith. Faith promises that His return will recreate an environment where we will thrive; an environment of health, happiness, and harmony.

God the Creator wanted our existence to be healthy, happy and harmonious. Evil ruined God’s original plan. Yet, faith believes that God’s original plan of something better will happen – either by death and our transition into the promised eternity OR by life when Christ returns to reestablish it.

Our faith tells us He will return.  He promised. Faith chooses to believe He will keep that promise.  

Another interesting thing about faith is it isn’t just built on the first verse in the bible and it doesn’t merely hold on to the final verses in the bible but it trusts everything in between. Faith believes completely even when it doesn’t understand fully.

John 3:16 says that “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but will have eternal life.” If we choose to believe Genesis 1:1 and we believe all the way to the end of the bible, it is easy to believe John 3:16.

At some point in all of our lives, Hebrews 11:1 must kick in for faith to survive.  We must trust that God does know what He is doing even when we don’t agree with or understand His actions. If faith were easy, it wouldn’t be faith. Faith isn’t based on fact, figures, or feelings. Faith is based on belief and trust.  Faith is a confidence and assurance that it’s going to be okay even when we’re not okay. We continue to hope for those things unseen existing now in eternity.

Faith isn’t something God needs to prove to us. Faith is something we prove to others despite those times God doesn’t do things our way.

Some say this “faith stuff” is all a myth; merely the silly beliefs of weak human beings. That isn’t faith at all.  Faith is tough. Faith is strong. Faith is powerful. Our deepest faith grows in the darkest valleys.”

My prayer for you, my reader, is that you will choose to have faith, keep your faith, and hold tightly to it regardless of what comes your way.

The God of Heaven loves you very much.