When I was first learning to drive, my parents were terrified of me behind the wheel. They had good reason, and it’s a really funny story actually– but the point is, because they were afraid, they instead hired someone to teach me to drive. That instructor taught me something super basic that I didn’t know– that when I was driving I needed to focus my eyes far ahead of me because where they were focused was where the car was going to head.
Sometimes I come to a realization that certain struggles that I’m fighting are similar to this, because my focus is not right. My focus is on the circumstances around me, and my heart is wanting to walk not by faith, but by sight. I want so badly to know how things are going to turn out. The big things and the little things. And I want to somehow try to will them into happening one way or another, and my spiritual car and the bystanders around me are in trouble.
It’s because waiting for answers in the uncertainty of the future is so challenging. At times, I think unfortunately I ignore the unsettling feeling for too long and then it bubbles to the top and has to be dealt with, and I wish that I had right away. The truth is, walking by faith isn’t always easy. I’m pretty sure my flesh just plain hates it. But if I’m not walking by faith, if I have everything figured out, where is the room for God to be glorified, to do the miraculous? I have to repent–forgive me God for trying to run from the discomforts of not seeing how things will work out. He already sees them worked out and is able. It takes faith to walk by faith. Faith in His faithfulness! And He is faithful. I have seen Him be faithful time and time again, but yet in each new circumstance, the choice is there of whether I will choose to trust.
God doesn’t just deal with the seen–His word says that the things that are seen were not made of things that are visible. Often, that thing I’m walking out or waiting for doesn’t have an answer that is visible to me right now, but it is to God. But we are still waiting, and praying. One of my favorite quotes says,
“Waiting on God requires the willingness to bear uncertainty, to carry within oneself the unanswered question, lifting the heart to God about it whenever it intrudes upon one’s thoughts.”Elisabeth Elliott
In choosing to walk by faith I’m choosing to continue to give those things to God and trust them in His hands. When those untrue thoughts come, perhaps the ones that sound like, “I need to do something right now to make this situation workout”, or the ones that doubt that God may not answer this prayer or isn’t working in this situation, I need to do something about them right then. I need to, as churchy people say 😉 take those thoughts captive(2 Corinthians 10). That means, I’m not going to let them keep hanging around, bouncing around in my mind and heart. I’m going to stop and pray, and I’m going to choose to trust Him. I’m going to replace those thoughts with the truth.
One of my favorite thoughts of truth that I’ve needed to replace the yucky ones with and meditate on lately is the truth that as Christians, this world is not our actual home. I think of the verse in 1 Peter 2: 9-12 that reminds us that we are chosen, that God called us out of darkness and into light, that we’ve received mercy and that we get to show others His goodness. We are pilgrims here…just passing through, temporary residents here. We’re on a journey to our real home where God has prepared a place for us. And although we are on our way, this journey is still important, and there is temptation to get our mind’s off of the truth and to get caught up in what’s going on around us.
To walk by sight is to choose our actions based on what we see around us, but by faith is so different. It’s the substance of things hoped for… I’ve seen so many instances of God’s faithfulness in the past come through, things that once were just hopes. Remembering these things helps so much in the waiting.
To be able to really do what He has for us on the way, as we’re walking though a place not our home, we have to be focusing on Him and not caught up in the things around us. Some of the things around us right now are unsure, sad and heart wrenching. Some of the things I worry about or get caught up in are much smaller in comparison, and I don’t mean that we ignore these things–we certainly can’t. But we trust that God is not ignoring them either. We have to walk in faith in regards to them, knowing that He is at work with things that may not be visible, but as we keep our eyes focused, we can stay on the right track.
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.”