Sunday, April 14, 2013

Warning: Peaks Ahead

One of my favorite verses in all of scripture comes from Hebrews.  This little book hails from the New Testament, not the Old, despite what some may think because of its name.  Inside is a poignant and inspiring description of faith: "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen" (11:1).  It is with assurance that we know God's promises are true, and it is with conviction that we can then craft our whole lives around that fact.

Faith requires a leap, for even its scriptural definition acknowledges a certain lack of proof.  It's a conviction of things sometimes unseen.  Recall Jesus speaking to his disciples after his resurrection.  There was Thomas seeing and touching the holes in Jesus' hands from the crucifixion.  And our Lord says, “Have you believed because you have seen me?  Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe” (John 20:29).  Jesus knew about the leap his subsequent followers would need to make, but he promises blessing.

Faith in its own right is our greatest blessing.  Indeed, there are times in our lives that it serves as our only leg to stand on.  There are times when everything else disappoints.  And just when we think our faith may let us down too, that's when we can respond with faith's conviction.  Conviction that we are not alone.  Conviction that God's goodness is alive in our broken world.  And conviction that new life out of ashes is always possible through Christ.

If I am honest, the times that my faith is the most tried is when there are mountains ahead.  I can get overwhelmed by their presence and revert back to selfish ways.  Instead of trusting, I can look for an easy way out.  But not only does this undercut my belief in what God can do, it prevents God's glory and all of its blessings from coming to absolute fruition in my life. 

Are you currently facing mountains as a mom?  If so, I invite you to read the following devotion.  It comes from a booklet by Sarah Young entitled 40 Days with Jesus: Celebrating His Presence.  She writes as if Jesus is talking to you:

Follow Me one step at a time.  That is all I require of you.  In fact, that is the only way to move through this space/time world.  You see huge mountains looming, and you start wondering how you're going to scale those heights.  Meanwhile, because you're not looking where you're going, you stumble on the easy path where I am leading you now.  As I help you get back on your feet, you tell Me how worried you are about the cliffs up ahead.  But you don't know what will happen today, much less tomorrow.  Our path may take an abrupt turn, leading you away from those mountains.  There may be an easier way up the mountains than is visible from this distance.  If I do lead you up the cliffs, I will equip you thoroughly for that strenuous climb.  I will even give My angels charge over you, to preserve you in all your ways.

Keep your mind on the present journey, enjoying My Presence.  Walk by faith, not by sight, trusting Me to open up the way before you.

Young's writing style is intimate and therefore powerful as Christ talks to us and makes faith personal. She presents a great lesson to remember on the road of life.  Sometimes faith is the road, and sometimes it is all of the tools we need to make the journey.   Whatever you might be facing in your personal life or in the care of your child or children, remember the blessings that God promises for standing strong and choosing right.  When we walk by faith and not by sight, that leap will never disappoint us.

Prayer:  Dear God, Help us to stay tuned in to your voice and your directives.  Give us the ammunition we need to walk by faith and not by sight, trusting in your promises instead of fearing the mountains ahead.  We praise you for your faithfulness in advance of our journeys.  In Jesus' name, Amen. 

Note: Young's devotion is from "Day 3" in her booklet.  In addition, the scripture referenced above comes from the New Revised Standard Version.

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