Good invigoratingly cool Fall Sunday morning to YOU!!!!
And on this invigorating morning, let’s have an invigorating conversation: I’ll start with asking you this:
How is your faith this morning? On a scale of 1 -10, with 1 being non-existent and 10 being unshakable, where would you rate your faith? Hmmm….go ahead and give this some real thought for a few moments. No judgement here – just personal introspection 🙂 Would you say you are:
- A non-believer – you don’t believe there is a God out there who created all things. (1)
- Neutral – you don’t believe or disbelieve there is a God out there. (1+)
- A God-believer – you think or you know there is probably a big God out there who created and watches over stuff. (1-3)
- A God-follower – you know there is a God out there, Creator of all, who watches over all, who you interact with regularly. (4-7)
- How about a God-lover – you KNOW God is real, you love Him and do your best every day to talk to Him and ask Him to lead your life, and you truly try to do what you think He wants you to do. (8-10)
- And then there’s the God fanatic – you KNOW God is real and AWESOME and you live EVERY moment to please and worship Him and tell everyone you can about Him. (10+)
I will happily admit that I probably reside in the God-lover category, with tendencies toward the God fanatic. Though I don’t go beating people over the head trying to convert them 🙂 Hehe. So, where do you reside? Are you happy there?
Well, I haven’t always believed in God; truly I struggled with having “faith.” Throughout my less than perfect childhood, especially after a frightening experience in an over-zealous church, I mostly just tried to get through each day however possible. But one day that all changed.
In reality, I was probably just a normal girl, with normal issues, but one day found myself at the end of my rope in the midst of emotional trauma, and with nowhere else to turn, I asked God if He in fact was real. And that if He was really out there, would He please show me, and help me believe that He was real and that He cared enough to help me with stuff going on in my life.
Have you ever been in that place? Well, here’s my story:
One Sunday morning when I was 18, I was visiting my mother in Oklahoma (I had been living in Ohio with my Dad). She asked me to attend a church service with her that morning, so I did. During the final prayer time I bowed my head with everyone else, but I wasn’t really praying. I didn’t know how for starters, and second, I didn’t really believe that God was there or cared about me. Truthfully, I was thinking about getting home, changing into my little pink bikini and laying out back to soak up the sun’s rays, soothing my troubles away. But as I secretly looked around me, seeing all these people with heads bowed in prayer, I wondered why they were praying and how they thought doing so would help anything.
Little did I know that this day, and one person in the church service this day, would change my life forever.
While the Pastor was praying up front and I had my head down, I felt a hand touch my shoulder. Startled, I looked up and saw the Pastor’s wife standing there next to me. She looked into my eyes and said, “You’re having trouble with faith, aren’t you?” Woah – what? How did she know I was thinking about that? At first I was scared, but then she said something like “You don’t know how to believe in God, do you?” Ummm…no, I really don’t. But, again, how does she know that – she doesn’t even know me? A little freaky!
But then this Pastor’s wife smiled at me and said, “That’s ok.” Wow, I have to say I felt a little less freaked out and maybe a little relieved when she said that. But somehow at the same time I began to feel this little tugging going on inside me – this little yearning to know and understand what she was talking about, this beginning desire to know and have faith – to believe that there really was this God out there somewhere in my crazy world. But what she said was right – I didn’t know how.
And then she asked me if she could pray with me. I was nervous, but I nodded and bowed my head. And she prayed, quietly, personally, right there with me, she whispered a prayer for me, simply asking God to give me faith. And from somewhere deep within me, I realized, yes, I really wanted to have that faith!
Then the service was over and I went home. I really didn’t feel any different, and I went about my day. Later that afternoon I was in the kitchen, bent over the sink washing my hair. All of a sudden I felt this feeling on the top of my head, then it began to spread down into my head, my neck, my chest, and into my heart. Like something had been put on top of my head, and then was pushed inside my head and then traveled down into my heart. I mean, I could literally feel it! Imagine my startled wonderment. But interestingly, I wasn’t afraid. And as soon as I felt this – whatever it was – hit my heart, I somehow just knew that it was faith – that somehow I now felt faith. That somehow, some way, that something I felt on my head was a rock of faith being inserted into my head, pushed through me and instilled into my heart. Oh my gosh!! Faith! The knowledge that somehow God is real. I knew – I just knew that there was a God, a real God, living and being. Who saw me and knew me. All of a sudden I felt like I had known that my entire life. It was as if I had never doubted. I just knew God is. I believed!
And so I had my faith. God answered the softly whispered prayer of a humble Salvation Army Captain’s wife, for a troubled teen to have faith. The beautiful gift of faith – became mine.
That was many years and many life crises ago. But my faith has never wavered since. Yes, I have questioned “why” on some things and I have been angry and hurt at God for some things. In fact, I have railed at Him a few times. (Which incidentally has brought me closer to Him, not farther away.) But my belief that He is there, and my trust in Him has not wavered. And it is this belief and trust that carried me through, and yet carries me through each storm in my life.
Yes, this surprising gift of faith has turned out to be the most beautiful, life-changing gift I have ever received. And it can certainly be yours too if you want it. I won’t tell you that having faith will make your life easy, nothing will do that. But it will carry you through the deep waters of life – which we all have – knowing you are not alone, and that He is there helping you every step of the way. Just ask.
Just ask Him. A softly whispered prayer or a desperate cry for help – whatever your situation – in all sincerity, just ask Him to give you faith. Ask Him to help you believe. He is there – waiting.
For you are His Beloved.
He knows you. He created you. He wants you to know Him. He wants you to have the peace that believing in Him brings.
“This is what I want you to do: Ask the Father for whatever is in keeping with the things I’ve revealed to you. Ask in my name, according to my will, and he’ll most certainly give it to you. Your joy will be a river overflowing its banks!
John 16:23-24 (The Message)