So often we want to have everything spelled out for us clearly as we walk this long dusty road to the grave. Morbid way to put it perhaps. But that is what we do. We are on a death march to the grave unless The Life Himself (John 14:6) steps in and we’re spared that inevitable fate. But very few ever were spared death like Elijah was, and we’re not promised when exactly ALL will. No one knows the day or the hour.
Jesus insists on a journey of faith.
Our trek to higher ground, and our desire to be true to the words of Jesus that are printed in red in some translations, leads us to see that Jesus demands a journey of faith. He has not promised that the way would not be foggy or murky. He only promised to be there with us. This post is about disappointment. And more so about our response when disappointment comes. What is the evidence of our faith when we are bogged down by disappointment?
That is what this post is about.
I began writing this post in the midst of disappointment over what some might consider a trivial matter. That disappointment is now replaced by uncertainty at the moment. (something I am not at liberty to elaborate on or to reveal at the moment) But how do we take these things as people of faith?
I was asked recently during a job interview how I bounce back from set backs so easily.
My response was that I am determined not to be beat down by set back; that it is in me not to be.
This is a true answer but I did not at that time attribute it to my faith. Any degree of hope I have can be only attributed to two things; experience and faith. Experience in most cases shows us that things will work out. Faith helps us to embrace the idea that things will be as they are meant to be. In either case, we do not have to be beat down by set backs.
Experience Inspires a Journey of Faith
When I say that experience inspires a journey of faith it has to be understood that I write from nearly three decades of walking by faith. What I remember from before I was a Christian is vague. Even the verse that I am about to use to support this idea is sandwiched within a greater context and theme of faith. This verse below.
[Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.] Romans 5:1-6
The pattern here is clear; trials, patience, experience, hope. But all too often we leave off patience in the midst of trying situations and we short circuit the growth of hope brought about by experience. Put another way, perhaps we could say that the patient experience of trying circumstances brings about hope. This hope comes from the comfort of the Spirit regardless of the outcome of circumstances. This is the ‘deep answer’ to the question I was asked, “How do you do that?” How do I not allow disappointments and set backs to knock me back.
Let me be clear that my initial response is always the same as it would be with anyone else. But many of you reading this can relate to the point where we have to then make a decision. We can allow set back and disappointment to make us bitter or we can choose to NOT allow it to. We can decide that ‘it is as it should be’. In doing so we will not become bitter, we actually become better. And continuous growth is our desire, right? It is my desire. As we choose to not let it bring us down our roots go down deep and get wrapped around the firm bedrock of faith.
What is the Bible Definition of Faith?
That is a simple enough question and the answer is easy enough. Sort of. Hebrews says that faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen. So when I say that Jesus insists on a journey of faith what I am saying is this. Jesus wants us to hope in Him and in His promises given to us through the words of those who followed Him and wrote about Him. Our journey of hope is actually substance (make the unseen visible in a sense) and our journey of faith is evidence that there is something within us keeping us from allowing set backs to knock us back. Now I know that there are some reading this that have trials that grow far deeper than a simple set back. Loss of a loved one. Loss of a long time career. Separation and pain. These things are far more prone to create bitterness than my trivial set backs can be. And yet I have talked to numerous people who, through faith, and their journey of faith, have not only survived but have thrived. the Bible definition of faith is that it is substance and evidence of things unseen. Hebrews chapter 11 gives a whole list of individuals who demonstrated this simple and yet profound definition.
My Uncertainty Creates Deeper Faith
Honestly I love walking in uncertainty at some level because it inspires within me a deeper and growing experience of faith. I am a continuous improvement projects nut. I love working on projects. I have said this on many occasions that in a midst of a project my ‘know what to do’ goes through a continuous pendulum swing. I have said that I go from knowing exactly what I have to do next, to not having a clue what to do next.
This could probably aptly explain a journey of faith too. In our lives we go from times of knowing exactly what we have to do next to not knowing exactly what to do. But we move forward. We may rest or wait or pause for a while but at some point we must move forward in our journey or we will get stuck. Jesus insists on a journey of faith because it is the way that we mature and grow. it is how we grow closer to Him.
Do you know this pendulum swing that I speak of? I would love to hear about your experience of faith in the midst of trials. I would love to learn about the tools and things that God used to reveal HImself to you in greater ways.
Please share. Comment below.
And thank you for reading this post all the way to the end. The End. Until I begin again.