Crawling Through the Valley requires a Relationship of Faith
Our focus verse this week is very difficult for me to write about because I cannot imagine not having a relationship with or faith in God. But I know there are many people who doubt His existence and others who maybe because of the trials of this world question who or exactly what He stands for creating disbelief. So I feel the need to share just a bit of myself.
Now that is not to say that I am always seeing the world through rose-colored glasses nor am IÂ the Pollyanna of the Christian world as I would not be truthful if I said I have never had any doubts or questions. I know it is hard when the trials come and you are crawling through the valley in the lowest of low to simply say, “I am trusting in God to pull me through” and believe me I can attest to trials as I am sure many of you can also. But I know that when I do crawl through the valley that I can look to the past where He hasÂ crawled through withÂ meÂ before and it is there that I find the hope to keep me inching forward on my crawl.
I can also say that I have learned a lot in the darkest part of the valley. I know that the light shines through the crevices showing the path that leads to higher ground if we will just keep looking up and moving forward. It is during these darkest timesÂ thatÂ our relationship with GodÂ develops andÂ weÂ can trust Him to be withÂ us when no one else seems to be there. This is the hope that keeps me moving forward even if I am crawling through the valley I am still moving forward.
Life is good with a Relationship that begins with Faith
There is a successful business thatÂ started some years ago by two brothers called ”Life is good”. Their tagline though needs some reality because life is not always good sometimes life is just plain hard and sometimes it is just horrible as you can ask anyone who has gone through a tragedy orÂ forced into situations that have made life anything but good. But with a faith relationship with God we can have the hope that there is something better because if hard times were all there was what really would be the purpose of life. We however have the promise ofÂ hopeÂ in aÂ future of eternity with the only requirement being to believe allÂ that God has done for us through His son, Jesus Christ. A relationship through faith makes a new tagline of Life is good with God!
Yesterday I worked in my garden as there was a glimmer of spring in the air and I came across two tiny bird nests in one of my very large rose bushes that the pruning shears should have visited some years back. These nests were fascinating as they are small and so delicately made by a creature who worked very hard making a home for its family to be. When I see wonderful things like this in nature along with bulging buds,Â the heavy heads of daffodils, andÂ other spring bulbs I can’t help but thank God for all his creations and wonder how anyone can doubt His existence. Maybe though it isn’t the belief of existenceÂ that is missing it is really an undevelopedÂ relationship. This week’s verse tells us that as we come to God we not only must believe he exists but if we truly come for Him we must do so with a sincere heart ready toÂ build a relationship that begins with faith in order to please him. Hebrews 11:6;
And it is impossible to please God without Faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe thatÂ God exists and he rewards those who sincerely seek him. (NLT)
An Ancient Relationship of Faith
Hebrews is known as the faith chapter in the Bible. It reminds us of all the famous people and then some in the Bible that had tremendous faith even among the most adverse situations; Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Rahab, Elijah, Gideon, Samson, David, Samuel, Daniel and the list goes on. I think it is important that we too remember these people as no matter what we are going through there have been others who have given it all by trusting in God. We will note that these people did more than just believe in God, these people had a relationship with God. I cannot trust my neighbor down the street with anything in my life if I know no more about him thanÂ that he lives down the street. Do you trust people you do not know? You cannot deny their existence but that doesn’t mean you believe in what they say. Do you trust people who do not have a track record? The Bible is the track record of God. We can travel all the way back to Deuteronomy almost the beginning of the old testament in the Bible and read where Moses wrote in Deuteronomy 7:9;
Understand therefore, that the Lord your God is indeed God. He is the faithful God who keeps the covenant for a thousand generations and lavishes his unfailing love on those who love him and obey his commands. (NLT)
Now I tend to trust what others say about their personal experiences especially when there are others to verify their stories and Moses should be one to trust. It isn’t like he could have made all that happened in his life up as there were too many witnesses, 600,000 able-bodied men along with the uncounted women, children, and older men so well over a million people. You might be able to get a few people to go along with an exaggerated story but this number would have been impossible. Because of the countless number of people who also experienced what Moses wrote about I feel this is the proof needed on God’s faithfulness and relationship to those who love Him and obey His commands.
So if there isÂ still aÂ lack of faithÂ in God’s existence that is found lingering maybeÂ it is not theÂ doubt of God but the belief of His son, Jesus Christ that causes issue? Let’s think about this, most people actÂ upon motivation citing a particularÂ reason for what they do soÂ ifÂ we counter that Jesus Christ is not who he says he is why would his disciples have continued to move forward telling the world about him after his death? What would be their angle, their benefit, what would they have received for doing so, what is their motivation? They were not receiving the royal treatment, living richly; or entertaining dignitaries in fact their lives were the opposite. They received much harsh punishment; mocking, jeering, and unacceptance in the main stream of their society none of which support why they would continue to step out telling others about Jesus, God’s son. Many of the disciples lost their lives while still shouting to the world their beliefs. Not one of them went back and recanted their beliefs and Paul who was initially against them joined their forces losing his job, his status, andÂ his life as he knew it with no benefit for himself except the promise of eternity. Paul saw God in action andÂ through determination toldÂ everyone he met not only about his faith but his developed relationship and God’s faithfulness to us. (1 Corinthians 1:9, 1 Thessalonians 5:24)
Hope is Found with a Relationship that begins with Faith
Faith along with the relationship that develops gives us hope, a hope of better things, a hope that there is a promise that life is more than this earth. We must do more than just believe inÂ God’s existenceÂ for as James tells us in James 2:19-20 even the demons believe this but we must seek God earnestly to develop a relationship as that is how we learn about the God who created us developing trust and hope in a futureÂ with a perfect world; oneÂ without sin, troubles, sickness, or problems of any kind. So many ask why are we here on earth let’s just get going now why wait?
I do not profess to haveÂ the answers or hidden keyÂ but it is my belief that we are preparing for our future in eternity and there is much to be learned here to prepare us for that wonderful life. The great thing is that God gives us all a choice, we are not his puppets. He could force us to do what he wishes or he could destroy us all as he easily as he made us but he wants us to come to Him on our own choosing and as we learn more about him and develop our relationship with Him it is our job while we are here to help others see what he offers along with the dark alternatives.
We do not need to shout, force, or threaten others as each person can make their own choices at their own pace and develop their faith through a relationship to please God but we who know must tell others for as we develop our relationship with God we also develop our relationship to other people. Jenny AllenÂ says that our faith is the measurement in which we believe God is God. Â This measurement will be to different degrees for each of us as our trust builds and our relationship grows. The more that relationship grows the more we will seek to please God just like any relationship we develop with other people. Faith in God is not an instant cure and it doesn’t promise to ”fix” our problems here on earth as it moves slowly because the relationshipÂ builds upon the promise of love. Audrey Assad writes and sings in her song, Slow;
Faith is not a fire as much as it’s a glow
Â A quiet, lovely burning underneath the snow
Â And it’s not too much–it’s just enough to get me home
Â Cause Love moves slow””
Relationships cannot be forced as they develop slowly over time and the trust that forms is all about love. If you have ever made or watched a fire burn initially it really lights up but as the fire really begins to take hold and burn it begins to even out creating a full, rich, and lasting glow. Faith is the first step in a relationship with God that will develop into whatever we invest into it but all of it moves us home to live with God in eternity. God doesn’t scream or yell at us to believe He speaks softly and if we sincerely seek Him we will find Him along with the reward of eternity which greatly pleases Him because He loves us so.
Life is good and it is good because of God’s promises. This is oftenÂ difficult to hear when or if you are crawling through the dust on your belly in the valley but with faith in God you have the strengthÂ of hopeÂ to lift your eyes to theÂ light that is peeking through in the sliver of the crackÂ urging you to just keep crawling forward as I have no doubt that you can find peace that you need in that speck of light because I did.
SpendÂ your weeksÂ in the glow of faith telling all what you have learned throughÂ your relationship with God because if you sincerely seek you will find.
Love in Christ,
Do you have a favorite faith hero in the Bible? We would love to hear about your hero through our comments.
Have you crawled through the valley with a story of faith and the relationship you built with God? Perhaps you are in the valley now and are having a hard time seeing the sliver of light. Share your story with other readersÂ through our comments