When I am feeling positive and happy, my faith is huge. I am quite sure that God will provide, that the deal will go through, that everything will work out.
But sometimes there’s a dark shadow that creeps in. I never see it coming, but suddenly it’s there. And I’m not so sure any more. In fact, I start feeling pretty certain that everything will probably come crashing down around my ears.
What is it that blasts my faith, blows it to shreds, smashes it to smithereens?
Fear of what? When I ask myself that, I have to say that it’s NOT the fear of God. It’s the fear of man. And that kind of fear most certainly does not come from God.
He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me. ~Hebrews 13:5-6
And sometimes there is another thing that kills my faith. When life goes along the same as always, and nothing really changes, sometimes it seems that nothing ever will.
Consider reading Genesis Chapter 18
9 Then they said to him, “Where is Sarah your wife?” And he said, “There, in the tent.”
10 He said, “I will surely return to you at this time next year; and behold, Sarah your wife will have a son.” And Sarah was listening at the tent door, which was behind him. 11 Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in age; Sarah was past childbearing. 12 Sarah laughed to herself, saying, “After I have become old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?” 13 And the LORD said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh, saying, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, when I am so old?’ 14 Is anything too difficult for the LORD? At the appointed time I will return to you, at this time next year, and Sarah will have a son.” 15 Sarah denied it however, saying, “I did not laugh”; for she was afraid. And He said, “No, but you did laugh.”
Sarah had been barren for years, and in that society, that was much more of a curse than it is today. Women were never childless by choice in her day, and the stigma must have been huge. She was a beautiful woman, married to a rich husband who loved her, but the one thing that truly gave a woman status in her day was to bear sons. After ninety years of yearning for a child, she knew she was no longer fertile, and she was quite certain that she would never be a mother. When their visitor said such a preposterous thing, we can hardly fault Sarah for laughing. I picture it as being a bitter laugh, not mirthful, but rueful. On the outside, it was probably only a grimace. Certainly, she wished it could be true, but it wasn’t possible!
Sarah was hiding behind the tent flap, listening to the men talk. They couldn’t see her, so I’m sure that when she laughed to herself, she thought she was quite alone. Imagine her shock when the LORD upbraided her for laughing. Sarah had faith in God, but her faith had, along with her body, gotten old. She was tired of praying, tired of hoping, and had quit believing. Her faith, like her face, was in hiding. She laughed to cover the tiny bit of hope that might have flared for an instant. Why, after all, should she hope again? Her hopes had been dashed countless times over the years. It was easier to not believe, to laugh at the idea. Especially since the Visitor added, “at this time next year.” It wasn’t happening immediately. Sarah had to wait some more. After ninety years, think how difficult that was.
That’s what happens when we believe in our own experience rather than believing in God. Our faith shrivels, it shrinks, it dries up. It gets old. Like an unused muscle, it atrophies. And perhaps old faith is just another kind of fear. We are afraid of being disappointed again. We know that by man’s laws, it is impossible, but we forget that ultimately, we are under God’s rule, which can override man’s rules at any time. Our God is the God of the Impossible.
Is your faith in hiding? Are you fearful of what others might think? That they might laugh at your hopes when it seems that they are vain? Or is your faith just old and tired and afraid to hope again?
Let the God of the Impossible come to visit. Invite Him in, get Him a drink, wash His feet, and prepare Him a feast. All is not lost. You just need an override from the God Who Can.