I was 15 years old when I was given the book ‘Jesus Freaks.’ I would sit in bed late at night reading these remarkable stories of men and women with such faith and love for Jesus and the gospel. These were remarkable stories about the first martyrs, killed for their faith in Jesus. Men and women singing praises to the Lord as they were burnt at the stake, other Christians were thrown into pits of wild animals to be eaten alive. The stories just kept coming. I remember thinking ‘just one more story tonight. There’s got to be one story about someone whose faith is weak.’ NOT ONE! There wasn’t a single story where a martyr backed out of their fate due to their faith in Jesus. That book has lived with me for the majority of my life. I still to this day often think about what the early Christians went through, what they endured. I certainly don’t know them, I never had the pleasure to meet such faith filled, Christ focussed believers and yet hundreds and even thousands of years later I sit here writing about how their lives have impacted my life for the better.
Have you ever met someone who had so much faith for every moment of their life. Whatever was thrown at them, they wouldn’t sway. They were rock solid and grounded in God’s will for their lives? I just love to be around those types of people. Inspiring aren’t they. They encourage me to have this type of faith also. It makes me think if they can do it, surely I can too. I can have this same faith. But the Bible is clear on how we acquire faith. By Grace! It is a gift from God. So what does this mean for you and I reader? It means we cannot be filled with pride about how faith filled we might be because it is nothing we have done to gain it. It is given to us by God as a gift. So God gives different degrees of faith to each of us. The Holy Spirit gives great faith to one believer and to someone else the same Spirit gives the gift of healing. Now in saying all this I find when I read 1 Corinthians 12 I feel I might be overstepping the Christian mark here, I get greedy. I want all the gifts. But for me faith stands out. And it’s definitely something I want and need more of. And we are instructed to pray for faith, to ask for more of it. Especially in our hour of need.
I see this faith in little children everyday. As you know I have four very small children. And they are the apple of my eye. My hearts love and treasure. As like you my friend, if you are a parent reading this I know you will feel the same way. Our children rely on us for everything to survive. We feed them, clothe them, comfort them and love them. They have a faith in us to protect them and look after them. Once they grasp the concept of who God is, how He loves them more than I ever could- there is this sense of amazement and awe and complete acceptance. Really not many questions of doubt are asked in this early stage. It’s what the Bible calls a child like faith. Big, bold, strong and a knowing of where they are headed. Their little hearts are set to heaven above. There is much chatter of heaven and what they will do when they get there. I only recently overheard my son praying to Jesus about what he was going to do with Him once he gets up there one day. No fear in death. Oh, to have that same faith reader.
How much faith would those martyrs of had? When you think about what Jesus says in the scriptures about having faith as small as a mustard seed and what it can do. In Matthew 17:20 Jesus is speaking to his disciples about their lack of faith in healing a demon possessed boy. The disciples came to Jesus in private and asked why they couldn’t heal him. He replied “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” And just how small is a mustard seed? One to two millimetres!! It’s a little embarrassing to say the least… you don’t see me over here moving any mountains! It certainly puts it into perspective doesn’t it.
I struggle to let go and let God take control of my family, my children. And why? Because they (besides God) are my most greatest treasure. And here is my strongest moments of realisation. When we travel. When we get onto a plane to go on holidays I feel the most in my anxiety about my family. I feel helpless. I cannot control a plane. I can’t hold it up, I can’t make sure it doesn’t crash and keep us safe. I find myself sitting in that sardine squished seat, a baby on my lap, one on either side and deeply breathing. Right after the flight attendant runs over the flight precautions ‘in the event of an emergency’ it HITS me about then. My prayers become one long ongoing rambling, breathing, begging, breathing, thinking about how I would get each child out of the plane safely if we crash. Who I would carry, who would be on my back, who James would take…. Oh, just STOP it Jennifer. Stop wasting your energy and anxiety on the silly ‘what if’s’. Trust. Trust. Trust. Open your word, find a verse or two and meditate on it. I stop. I breath. I ask the Lord to take charge of the flight and bless the captain, ask Him to take my worries (because only He can do it, not me no matter how hard I try) I sit back into my seat and feel a different sense of His peace over me. ALWAYS! Because He never ever let’s us down.
So reader I’m on this journey with you. How deep is your faith? Do you find you are solid in God in trials and tribulations or do you have doubt and worry? Do you like to take control rather than letting Him do the work for you? I don’t claim to be a lady who has it all together. I don’t claim to have a deep faith in Jesus. To hand all matters of my life over to Him BUT I’m here to say let’s share our burdens with each other. Let’s pray for one another, enquirer of the Lord daily to give us faith to get through this life with the sweetness of Jesus at the centre of everything. Can you see the Grace of Jesus working in your life? Those martyr’s experienced God grace in the face of death. They were given a reassuring faith in their hour. Faith that surpasses all understanding.
It’s a longing a chasing in my soul I feel for this gift. I want it, I want what others have. I want to possess that beautiful faith in Jesus in all matters of my life. Will I get there? Will I become someone others could be encouraged by in my life? Will I ever possess faith even as small as a seed that can say to a mountain to move and it will? I do not know, but what I can say assuredly is I will continue to petition our Great God for even as much as a tenth of that little seed. And I know He is good, He listens and gives accordingly to each of us.
And so I wait and hope and pray. I find when I do trust, when I ask for faith, He is faithful, He gives me peace. He gives me rest.