Repost from my blog written in my last life from Ethiopia on Sep 23 2013.
Things that matter to us, here living in this tangible world of materialism and consumerism are totally different to the things that matter to God.
What matters to God is people.
He is not consumed by appearances.
He is not consumed by possessions.
He is consumed by heart.
And at the depths of HIS heart is inconceivable LOVE.
His Love for us, draws us to Him and the test of our LOVE for him is our ability to trust His word and trust His Way.
It’s a matter of Faith.
And the Bible says that WITHOUT this simple ingredient, it is impossible to please God.
Now FAITH IS the SUBSTANCE of things HOPED FOR, the EVIDENCE of things NOT SEEN. Hebrews 11:1
When I think about our journey here, the major aspect of what God had to do within me was increase my faith. We cry, help our unbelief Lord! He does. This is why we do what we do because we have faith in a God who has created people equally and HE wants them to know His HEART for THEM. THOSE CREATED IN HIS IMAGE.
So first I had to know His heart for ME!
It makes sense for me that my lifelong struggle with fear would not just be a struggle with but the struggle against something. The one who doesn’t want you to win on the hockey field wouldn’t attack you in a water polo match. He would attack you on the field of which he knows your in the game.
He not only doesn’t want you to win, HE DOESN’T WANT TO LOSE…
He knows the victory is already won, that he’s already LOST but he knows that we don’t often see the Scoreboard. We’re too busy focused on the game. He’s got our heads distracted on the ball and we’re too busy trying to WIN!
So my FEAR of DEATH as a child, my FEAR of REJECTION as a teenager, my FEAR of being FAR AWAY from home, my FEAR of the DARK, of being HARMED, of being PUNISHED, of being ALONE…these all crippled my ability to have FAITH.
For fear is not just the opposite of faith; FEAR IS THE ENEMY OF OUR FAITH. Worry, insecurity, anxiety, terror, dread are allies and friends of fear.
But PERFECT LOVE is the weapon that defeats fear and casts it all out.
So perfect Love came in to my life and rescued me from fear and gave me the capacity to have faith. Fear was evicted and faith moved in. The anxiety attacks that took a choke hold on my throat at night, the torment that filled my heart with regret and the deep underlying fear that threatened my ability to progress all dissipated in a single night.
So what happens when we let fear win?
Moses had a crowd of followers begging him for water and moaning about the very fact that he took them out of Egypt to die in the dessert and God heard their cry and supplied a rock for them to draw water from. God says, speak to the rock and the water will flow out from it.
But instead Moses beats the rock. He does what we often do. He took the miracle into his own hands and DID instead of trusted. He feared that God’s way wouldn’t work and that people wouldn’t respect his abilities and he broke life instead of spoke life.
In a world of materialism and consumerism, where the pressure to work, to buy, to loan and to accrue interest is embraced and nurtured, we want to WORK instead of TRUST, HAVE FAITH.
We feel that if we don’t, then we fail at being the provider. Essentially it appeases our pride. Our ego fails as we want to look like the strong one who beats the rock till the water comes out but then we hear a voice say “you did not believe me or hallow me in the eyes of the children of Israel therefore you shall not bring these children into the land which I have given them.” Numbers 20:12
God is not impressed with our strength and abilities as much as He is with our faith and trust in Him.
We want to DO but He just asks us to BE. Be there. Be obedient. Be faithful.
Full of faith that He will provide.
Full of belief that He will fulfil his promise…
Even if we don’t see it like Abraham.
Even if we don’t deserve it like Rahab.
Even if we had given up on it like the Shunammite woman.
Even if we reject it like Jonah.
When we sold our house at a loss, our faith was tested to the point that it hurt! Was this the right thing to do? Were we being SELFISH and not allowing our children to receive the INHERITANCE they deserved. Did we make a MISTAKE by not keeping a place to go back to? These were doubts that were reinforced by many concerned friends and family but quashed by a loving God who wanted more for a house for us. He wanted a life of FAITH.
Every time we give, we test our faith. We trust God that He will press down, shake together and run over the blessings from the well in which we gave. He says to DO IT!
Test me in this,’ says the Lord Almighty, ‘and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. Malachi 3:10
Every time we press on past the obstacles we test our faith. That these obstacles are not the end of a thing, but they are there as resistance measures to increase our strength. The strength that is made perfect in our weakness.
Every time we fail and fall we test our faith. Our faith that the payment for our sin was finished on the cross and that we can trust God to have taken care of it so much so that we don’t need to suffer for it or let it decapitate us.
Every time we have to be still and delay our movement, we test our faith. Faith that we are a part of SOMETHING BIGGER than ourselves. Something bigger than the MOMENT. Something bigger than what WE ARE ABLE to DO. Faith that we just need to BE. And sometimes just BEING PRESENT is all people need to know the Love of the Father.
Because when we BE still, wait, let me make this as personal as it’s meant to be- when I BE still I am reminded that He is God. That He is able to draw the water from the rock, not ME. That when we silence our praise to Him, He can even use the rocks to praise Him. From a rock He can draw water and Praise. I can’t and therefore I CAN TRUST HIM. Have FAITH in Him.
Abraham birthed a people of faith because of his faith in obeying God’s instruction to leave his country and GO!
So we left our country on the same accord. Not really knowing all the details of what we would do or how we would do it OR WHAT STRUGGLES WE WOULD FACE ON THE WAY but just knowing that we needed to GO.
In my early Christian days, I memorized this verse Numbers 32:23 A verse that says “Your sins will find you out.” A great verse when taken out of context to make one feel condemned for yet the sins he is talking about is the sin of disobedience to God’s command to inhabit the land. This is what we are called to do- to inhabit the land. The land of Ethiopia. (And now, in 2019, Sydney Australia!)
This journey of faith continues to stretch me and grow me as I am continually reminded that God is working where I do not see.
For by grace are ye saved through FAITH; and that not of yourselves: it is the GIFT of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9