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24 Jan '11

An unexpected gift

Posted by T.J. Addington in faith, spiritual formation, suffering, The heart

There is a perspective on hard times that we often overlook. It is a wonderful thing to come to a place where we have nothing to trust in but God.  It forces us to put our trust in the only place of ultimate hope – Christ.

When it is all stripped away, when all of our resources are exhausted as eventually they are, there is the one answer we have had all along, “the righteous will live by his faith” (Habakkuk 2:4).  Here is the most important question we can ask ourselves: Are we coping with life on our own, or are we living by simple child like faith in the living, all powerful, loving heavenly father who invites us to live by faith and simply to trust Him?

We might just call it “simple faith!” It is a faith that believes that God is in control of all of our circumstances and knows that nothing under His control can ever be out of control. Not cancer, bankruptcy, a spouse walking out, a child’s death or the worse that we could imagine. Nothing under His control can ever be out of control. He is still God and still Immanuel – God with us – regardless of what happens to us.

I remember such a simple faith in an old woman I met in rural China one day. She was a Christ follower. Her possessions were the clothes she was wearing and two little pigs. When she discovered that we were believers she said, “My eyes are not good (she had cataracts), would you ask Jesus to heal them?” Simple child like faith – she had nothing else to trust in but God. Putting aside our own sophistication, we joined her in her simple faith and asked God to heal her eyes.

Periodically God interrupts our lives with issues that we cannot solve and did not ask for. They are often scary and painful interruptions. But they may also be a great gift as we are forced to put our trust in the only safe place to put it – stripped of our own solutions and answers – our heavenly father.

Several times in my life I have had the gift of coming to a place where all I had to trust in was God. In retrospect, those were precious times of simple faith where I learned more about my heavenly father than all the theology I have studied sermons I have preached or books I have read. It was a true gift.