Monday, 3 October 2016

"1 hour delay 2 miles ahead"

Faith and trust are words that can be almost interchangeable. We place our trust in so many things unconsciously. Getting up in the morning is an act of trust. That the world keeps spinning, the sun will rise and set, that our pay packet or pension is always there, that clean water is always in our taps...etc.

On Thursday and Friday I placed my trust in my satnav to get me to a village in Wales I’d never been to before for my Father –in-law’s funeral. If it had failed I would have been literally completely lost! All my trust, pretty small trust really was placed in that device – a trust that was sorely stretched when it took me down some pretty narrow streets in a Welsh village – but a trust that was rewarded when it did in fact lead me to the exact spot I needed to get to.

Faith in God can be sorely tested as well. Brian, whose funeral I was attending, was my first wife - Alex’s dad. Brian outlived his daughter, my wife, by six years. Consumed by my own grief at that time, I didn’t really stop to consider how bereft Brian must have felt. We both would have agreed with Habbakuk I’m sure when he cries out to God in despair that God appears either unwilling or unable to help.

The second chapter, which gives his own answer is to continue to live by faith or trust in God’s promises. What else can we do? There is a sticky point in Jesus’ ministry when people lose faith in him and start to leave and he turns to his inner core, the disciples and says. “Do you want to go as well?” and Peter answers
“Lord where would we go?. You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68)

Trust or true faith is one that has been tested by fire through thick and thin, through good times and bad times.
Jesus tells us that we only need a tiny amount of faith to make a huge amount of difference, but also, when our faith leads us to do or achieve great things, don’t expect a reward or any special treatment, because you are only doing what is your duty.

Is there anything practical you can do to maintain or increase your trust in God?

Yes there is, but it takes a bit of effort. The simplest thing you can do is memorise some verses of the Bible that you find inspiring and helpful. The Bible is inspired by God and if you memorise some parts of it, when you say them to yourself you have the word of God on your lips, in your mind, and on your heart.
Some of the most helpful come from two books we have been studying in our home groups, Romans and Philippians;

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (4:13)

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God (4:6)

If God is for us, who can be against us;

John 3:16, the 23rd psalm, the list is endless and intensely personal.

Reading or praying scripture like that connects us with God. So does prayer whether using set words, impromptu words or sitting in silence with God on your heart. Communication with God through prayer and scripture is great for building your faith and maintaining it.

So when a crisis comes, and a crisis will come, our faith has strong foundations and while you will be jolted, perhaps for some time, you will stand firm.

I will end with a memorised piece of scripture that has always helped me and strengthened me.

 Jesus said “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world.
(John 16:33)

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