YOU GOTTA HAVE FAITH
Faith. So many sermons, quotes, phrases, mantras – even songs – are about having faith.
· Just have faith.
· Faith over fear.
· Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.
· Faith of a mustard seed.
· Even the musician, George Michael, sang, “You gotta have faith…”
I am quite confident many of you have heard countless reminders that when something doesn’t turn out the way you want it, you should demonstrate faith. Well, it has been my experience, and possibly yours as well, that ‘having faith’ is easier said than done.
Philippians 4:6 tells us not to worry about anything; instead, we are to pray about everything. The purpose of prayer is to connect with God about all things all the time. How often have we heard that we should “cast our cares on Him” and leave them there? Time after time, however, we go back, pick up our issue, and start our process of worry all over again. How difficult it is for our flesh to leave our problems with God!
We do this – I do this – because I don’t always demonstrate having the faith of a mustard seed. Do you know how big a mustard seed is? It’s tiny. In fact, when I frequent my favorite Christian bookstores, I have seen necklaces that have a clear vial containing a mustard seed that can be worn as a constant reminder to show faith. Jesus tells us in Matthew 17:20 that having the faith of a mustard seed can move mountains! If only we would apply that concept of faithfulness.
Several years ago, my oldest son asked if I would get a tattoo with him. I said, “No,” and I didn’t think much about it after that. He asked me again a year or so later while vacationing in Florida, and I agreed. His response? “I always had faith you would get a tattoo with me.”
The following day, we found a reputable tattoo artist in Fort Lauderdale, and my son had the Scripture “Philippians 4:13” beautifully scripted on his left forearm. Never having a tattoo and realizing this would be permanent, I obviously thought long and hard about what I wanted. I chose to have the word “Faith” in a beautiful font on my left forearm. It’s my only tattoo to date, but I often look at my arm when my faith feels weak. I sometimes have to remind myself that my faith needs to be permanent, like my tattoo.
However, too often I find that instead of having the consistent radical faith that I desperately want to possess, I allow fear to creep in and overtake my thoughts. I allow the enemy to get a stronghold on my peace and disrupt my mind. Because of this “stinkin’ thinkin’” I allow the enemy space to create and sow seeds of doubt. Discord. Worry. Stress. This cycle only continues if we let it.
A few months ago, we found out that our youngest son, Zion, had a health issue that cannot be cured but managed. We were pretty overwhelmed as a family upon learning this news, and I admit, I began to worry. In this instance, Google was NOT my friend. In fact, my accessing the internet only exacerbated the situation. My peace had been robbed, and I allowed it because I didn’t lock the door to my heart and mind. Had I put on the whole armor of God and placed the sword of the Spirit in my hand, I would have already been guarding the door and not allowed the enemy to step foot in my situation.
After several appointments, medications, and treatments, it was highly recommended that Zion have surgery. His condition was relatively rare for someone 17 years of age. We learned about the risks, potential consequences, and future treatments that would need to take place. We navigated the pros and cons, and ultimately decided to move forward with the surgery.
Three days leading up to the surgery, Zion was required to be on a clear liquid diet. He was miserable, and I second-guessed my decision multiple times. Had my husband and I made the right choice? We still had time to back out, but after having yet another conversation with my husband, we agreed we were making the best decision for our son.
Surgery day came.
We sat in the waiting room on pins and needles; the three hour procedure felt like an eternity. During that time, all the negative outcomes and potential problems crept into my head. What if it doesn’t go well? What if the doctors discover something even worse? I fought tears of worry and tried to focus on believing God. I turned to my devotional and read some Scriptures to find peace.
When the doctor finally came to share with us how the surgery went, he also shared information that we were unaware of. Zion had been living with this condition for years; we thought it was only a few months. The doctor told us he had to work through significant scar tissue that could only have built up to that extent over a period of years. He told us that had we not elected to have the procedure, things would have gotten a lot worse fairly quickly. This procedure allowed less irreparable damage than if we had chosen not to have it done.
He mentioned that the surgery was a bit more difficult because he had not anticipated having to navigate the scar tissue. While this contributed to additional pain and recovery time for my son (due to the more invasive nature), it was also a blessing that it was discovered! I shudder to think what may have happened had we elected to not have this surgical procedure accomplished at this time.
Throughout it all, I continued to remind myself that Zion is God’s child FIRST. Although we have a long road ahead with his medical journey, I must have faith to parent. I know I will not always get it right, but with God I can increase the odds and increase my peace. I must have faith with decision-making. Hearing the voice of God helps to lead me in the right direction. I must have faith when facing a crossroad or where there’s conflict. Sometimes God reminds us to “be still and know.” It’s tough to be still. It’s tough to wait on the Lord. It’s tough to have faith.
Having faith doesn’t mean everything always works out exactly the way we want it to. Having faith means there is a larger picture, a bigger view that we can’t always access.
· It means God’s got it, even when we want to still hold onto it.
· It means turning it over to him and leaving it there.
· It means casting our cares and worries on the one who holds our future.
Romans 5:1 is a clear reminder that faith puts us in right relationship with God. Isn’t that what we are looking for?
The final thoughts I leave with you are found in Philippians 4:7. God says that when we trust Him, and show faith, we “will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
You gotta have faith.
Peace be with you.