Faith Up Close
Posted on March 15, 2019 by Erin Culleny in Freedom Fighters
Jesus was teaching the disciples many lessons and following one of them they said, “Increase our faith.” (Luke 17:5)!
Today I am preaching to myself. But I welcome you to share my thoughts.
Why is it that I hear stories of unbelievable things happening in the lives of other people but do not experience the same incredible events in my own life? Do they have more faith than I do? Do they ask for more than I do and the Lord honors it? Why can’t I point out the miracles, the things which defy natural explanations, in my Christian experience like some respected Christian ministers, evangelists, missionaries can?
Faith, by its nature, cries out for a contest with the improbable. There is no real value listening to the ancient exploits of faith if it is not being seen today. Faith requires great courage, because without risk there is no faith. At times God leads you to pleasant pastures. Other times He stands you before a Red Sea, trapped between dangers before and behind. This calls for courageous faith; i.e. believing God when you do not know what the outcome will be.
Three Hebrew children demonstrated courageous faith when they said to King Nebuchadnezzar: “. . . our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up” (Daniel 3:17-18). This was a high- risk moment that called for courageous faith, especially when they said, “But if not.” The goal of their faith was not to get something from God, but rather to bring honor to God be it in life or death.
Courageous faith is when Moses looks Pharaoh in the eyes, and without wincing says, “Let my people go!” It was when Elijah calls down fire from the sky and destroys four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal. It was when Israel topples the walls of Jericho without doing battle.
Is it possible that one of the reasons why young people are departing the Church never to return is because they do not see faith and its results? They hear the great stories of the Bible, but they remain just that – stories. They learned the great hymns of the faith from their ancestors that speak of marvelous things, then no faith is engaged to see marvelous things take place. It’s all history, not current. It happens to others, not to our crowd.
Am I a part of that problem? Why is it that I don’t experience these things? Make no mistake, I have seen some wonderful things that God has done in my life and ministry. To Him be the glory.
But this I know, I am not anxious to be put in difficult circumstances. I do not like criticism, strife, problems which seem insurmountable, ill-health, troublesome relationships, etc. I guess I’m reluctant to look for a contest with the improbable because I do not like the possibility of defeat.
When you really think about it, to pray for your faith to be strengthened is really a terrifying prayer. Am I willing to pray it? Are you?
Note: I owe most of these thoughts to a devotional by Ron Susek.
Written by Rev. Neil Fitchthorn Rev. Neil Fichthorn is a seasoned conference and camping servant having served at Gull Lake Bible Conference, Sandy Cove Ministries as President, and an interim Executive Director at Pinebrook Bible Conference. He also served in church music for decades as a choir director and arranger. He has been Bill Welte’s mentor and friend for over 45 years.
Daily Quote: “Live by faith until you have faith.” Peter Boehler to John Wesley
This Week’s Verse to Memorize: God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. – 1 Corinthians 1:9