Your faith also strengthens others
Life is not just moonshine and roses. All of us experience this first hand and in person nearly every day of our lives.
What do parents hold onto when their four-month-old baby boy is no longer there lying in his crib? Their home has collapsed.
For a long time, I simply sat with them at the kitchen table, listening to the stream of questions pouring from them.
“Why, God? Why he and not my mother who has been suffering from Alzheimer for nearly a decade and no longer recognises me at all? Why, after we have given up on ever having another baby, You gave and then took away four months later? Did I do something wrong? Are You punishing me? Why didn’t You rather take me?
Yes, Lord! O, it hurts!
And I realise I have no answers for them. I realise that nothing anybody can say will ever make it hurt less.
All that remains is faith in God. That is all that one can hold onto. Nothing else. Even when not understanding God’s ways, faith in an incomprehensible God is all that we can hold onto. And therefore I say, no, scream: Lord, I understand nothing, but I hold onto my faith in You. Lord, I don’t see a future right now, but I hold onto my faith that You will bring some manner of rest, peace, consolation and acceptance.
This is what the young Christians in Thessalonica did. They were under attack. Their lives were in danger. Their families disowned them. It seemed to them like this new Jesus’ stories weren’t true, because see where they had ended up.
It is not easy and actually they were much worse off than before. But in one way or another they held onto their faith in God. It carried and pulled them through the struggles of every day. Peace and joy would come again, but for now they believed only in God.
And the news Timothy brought to Paul: 6But now that Timothy is back, bringing this terrific report on your faith and love, we feel a lot better.
Maybe when you and I hit the gravel road we should try this. Believe in God. Hold onto his promises.
And then, in a way, the Holy Spirit uses our holding on to make a difference in the lives of others.
Do you know that God wants to use you, yes, you, in all the hurting and suffering to mean something to others? Yes, even when you are suffering, and the only thing you can hold onto is your faith in God, even then He can use you to talk to other people and make a difference in their lives.
It may not make sense to you now, I know.
That is what happened to Paul. We know that Paul certainly suffered and he may have been in jail at that time. But see the effect they had on his life: 7It’s especially gratifying to know that you continue to think well of us, and that you want to see us as much as we want to see you! 8In the middle of our trouble and hard times here, just knowing how you’re doing keeps us going. Knowing that your faith is alive keeps us alive. 9What would be an adequate thanksgiving to offer God for all the joy we experience before him because of you?
What effect will your unshakeable faith in God have on other people?
I wonder ….
What do you hold onto?
What does your faith look like?
How do others look because of your faith?
Our Father, these things don’t always make sense to me. I don’t understand this road I have to take. I’m so tired of suffering. But I do know that I have to put my hand in your hand and that You will help to get to the other side. Amen.