Thursday, February 10, 2011

Walking in the Faith of God

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6, NIV)

Several years ago, I discovered that the only way to break the mental strongholds of panic, depression, and agoraphobia, as well as self-condemnation, was to walk in faith; in other words, to actively and on a daily basis believe God. Knowing that God rewards those who seek Him was an incentive for me to start seeking the Lord and His will for my life, but it was my desperation to be free from panic and everything that went with it that relentlessly drove me to my knees and caused me to cry out to Jesus for help. My cry was a cry of desperation and repentence and faith, and He rewarded me with every timid step I took to re-establish my relationship with Him. God is good. He is strong, and He is loving. He set about to confirm for me that he was my Good Shepherd, the Author and Perfector of my faith.

Never have I felt more loved and cared for and blessed by God than when I first began walking by the reality of my faith and not by sight. Every time my mind told me a scary thing, and I refused to believe it, but instead prayed to God for help or quoted a scripture He brought to my mind, I would sooner or later feel blessed with a feeling of security and love. Sometimes it was immediate and sometimes it was hours later, but it came. So often we want the blessing before the trial, but it is only by facing the trial with faith that we will receive the blessing.

The Lord has reminded me today of how my walk began to know Him back in 2004. He’s reminded me of how He wooed me back into a love relationship with Him through the study of His Word. One particular passage I remember that is tender to my heart is one I read in Job: “But those who suffer He delivers in their suffering. He speaks to them in their affliction. He is wooing you from the jaws of distress to a spacious place free from restriction, to the comfort of your own table laden with choice food. (Job 36:15-16, NIV)

I was sitting at my dining room table one morning as I read those verses. I certainly felt I had suffered and I realized for the first time that God was turning panic into my good because I had to rely on God so much and not on myself. I was beginning to sense His deliverance--a consolation, a companionship I had not felt before.  I felt His words wooing me from my prison cell in my mind, wooing me to believe in Him so that I would have enough faith to walk out of that cell and walk with Him. When I read, “to the comfort of your own table laden with choice food,” I looked down at my dining room table and saw that the Bible, God’s Word was my choice food. I knew God was telling me that I was on the right path—feeding my peace-starved soul and my faith-starved spirit with His words.

It was in the spring of 2005 when the truth of God’s Word was made tangible to me. In the midst of panic, I prayed His Word back to him and He delivered me from that panic, and as the fear left, His peace flooded in. “But those who suffer He delivers in their suffering” became a tangible reality. And every day since that day that I have prayed Scripture back to Him when faced with panic or anxiety, His peace comes. Praise His Name!

As if those victories were not enough, my Lord continued and continues to bless my steps of faith in the midst of trials with spiritual blessings that mean more to me than anything else—peace, love, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. My God is so good! He is so strong! And He is so very loving! I give Him praise today. I give Him the glory today. Great things He has done for me! And great things He will do for you when you come to Him with faith.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

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