Over the last couple of days we have been looking at how we can keep ourselves full of faith by feasting our hearts on God’s faithfulness. The illustration that comes to mind is of a ball, which represents the challenge before us, and the sun which represents God. If we hold the ball, small as it is, up in front of our eyes, we can completely block the sun from our view.
This can be what happens if we hold our problem up to the Lord, and try to see passed it to Him, in order to pray and have faith that He is big enough or willing enough to help us. The problem can fill our view and block God out. In order to stay full of faith in the challenges that we face, we need to put the ball- our problem – down, and turn our gaze to the sun- God – to see how big and powerful and beautiful He is in comparison.
If we can draw on our own history with Him and rejoice in all that we see He has done for others, it will help us to keep our gaze on God’s faithfulness and not on the latest ‘giant’ to come across the horizon. We will stay full of faith in the face of those fresh challenges as we thank Him and recall past deliverances, like the hymn writer John Newton who wrote the wonderful line ‘His love in time past forbids me to think He’ll leave me at last in trouble to sink’.
Sometimes, however, when we are very low or overwhelmed, we can be a bit like the rabbit in the headlights and our mind just goes blank when we try to recall past miracles, or we are tempted to dismiss them as coincidence. So today we want to turn our attention to all the stories in the Bible which speak of the Lords faithfulness, written down for our encouragement. As we read the written word, the Holy Spirit will highlight relevant aspects of the narrative to us, and as we thank God for what that reveals to us of His character, of His love and His power, our faith grows.
It always amazes me how, although the bible and particularly the Old Testament was written thousands of years ago, and although life has changed beyond all recognition, politically, economically, technically and socially, from those days, those stories nevertheless remain so relevant to my life today, and reveal the unchanging character of the Lord. Reading of His willingness to deliver His people from all sorts difficulties causes our faith to grow for our own situations.
We also have the biographies and histories of Christians from all over the world, from past centuries and from recent times and we can get inspired by their stories too. Sometimes we feel very ordinary in comparison, but if we read these books, not comparing ourselves, but keeping our eyes on how the Lord has worked in their lives, if we can stay thankful for their example and for the testimony of the great things God has done for them, then we will be encouraged.
Our thanksgiving pulls those testimonies right into our present, and it also destroys any negative unbelief. ‘Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek Him’ Hebrews 11:6. So next time, or even right now, if you need faith for a situation, let the Holy Spirit remind you of a comparable situation from the bible or from someone else’s life and just say to the Lord “Thank you for reminding me, I’ll have some of that in my own life please”.
I believe this is part of the invitation to ‘taste and see that the Lord is good’ Psalm 34:8. Put this to the test and see what will happen. It could make life very exciting from now on!