by Susan Sampson
I heard Laurie tell about a family she heard about who lost their baby when the mother was full term. In the hospital the father was on his knees praising God for the life of their still born baby. Others commented on what strong faith this family had. And then what Laurie said really struck me because I would have also been in awe of “his” faith, comparing myself to this family and thinking there’s no way I could ever respond like them. Laurie said the family didn’t have strong faith. It was God’s amazing grace carrying them through. It’s all God. This is how God is glorified. “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9). If we see people as having “strong faith” then we are only seeing from a human perspective. Faith is a gift from the Lord. “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Eph. 2:8).
One of the sins I struggle with is unbelief and doubting my salvation. I believe the Lord kindly showed me how I was putting my faith in my faith and not in Christ alone. And again I am confronted with the depth of my pride, thinking somehow I had something to do with getting my faith. I have been believing the lie from the enemy that because I have such small faith, I must not be a true believer. But the truth is in Mat. 17:20, “For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.” And another truth from God’s Word is that one of the fruits of the Spirit (not of the flesh:) is “faithfulness.” And the beautiful truth is that fruit grows. Listen to what Paul says about growth. “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth” (1 Cor. 3:6).
So we must confess and repent. Leaving the land I have been living in of unbelief and walk forward to the Promised Land that God has already given me in Christ. I must crucify my flesh. Leaving my old girl who’s name could very easily be, “doubting Thomas.” And put on my new self “which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator” (Col. 3:10).
But here’s where I again stumble and fall. Putting to death my flesh hurts. Crucifixion is painful. It does go “against my grain.” My flesh only wants comfort and ease. My flesh only wants what feels good. My flesh is not going to go away until I am at home with the Lord. I want to be in control. I want my life to be manageable – a.k.a. easy. But this is not the way of Christ. This is not the Gospel. In God’s economy, it is death that brings life. John records the words of Jesus, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life” (John 12:24-25). One of our dear sisters testified how the Lord is showing her that it is in enduring the pain of self-death that true joy and freedom are found.
My prayer is that the Lord would pour out His amazing grace and enable each of us by the power of Christ in us to REPENT and leave the dry and weary land we have been living in and walk and live in a Garden of Victory! Laurie challenged us to truly believe God’s promise, Christ in us the hope of glory. Lord, have mercy and enable us to walk by faith and not by sight or by feelings!
“I will be like the dew to Israel; he shall blossom like the lily; he shall take root like the trees of Lebanon; his shoots shall spread out; his beauty shall be like the olive, and his fragrance like Lebanon. They shall return and dwell beneath my shadow; they shall flourish like the grain; they shall blossom like the vine; their fame shall be like the wine of Lebanon” (Hosea 14:5-7).