We have noted before that the opposite of faith is not disbelief, it is fear. Faith makes us certain, it gives us confident direction in our choices, and it defines our destination and the path that leads to it. Fear introduces questioning, second guessing, worry about what might be. It leaves us wondering and wandering, paralyzed with uncertainty, unable to move forward. Just when we ought to be declaring, “Thus says the Lord God Almighty…” we hear the devil’s challenge whispered in our head, “Has God really said…?”
Faith in the word of Jesus, the scriptures tell us, is like a man building his house on the rock. The storms come, as storms must come in a fallen world, yet the house stands firm, not because of the house, but because of its unshakable foundation. Faith in the completed work of Jesus places eternity in our hearts so that even if we suffer loss or pain in the short term, we understand that nothing can ever separate us from the love of God in Jesus. When the scriptures speak of placing faith in God, it often resorts to spectacular imagery. Trusting God is being led to a rock higher than our own frailty or failure, it is a strong fortress into which we run for safety, it is dwelling under the wings of the most High God, it is being surrounded by the angel armies of heaven, or knowing that God is like the mountains that surround and protect us.
There are two commands that are repeatedly used throughout the scriptures that give us a worthwhile goal to seek after during this Lenten season, “Do not be afraid”, and “Stand fast” (or “Wait on the Lord”). Often they are used together as in Exodus 14:13, “Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the LORD rescue you today.” If we can allow the Spirit of God to work into our hearts, and minds, and spirits a true faith in the promises of God made present in the work of Jesus, we will have gained something that will see us through the rest of our lives until that day when we stand in the presence of God and see Him face to face. Begin today with this confession from Psalm 23, “The Lord is my shepherd; I have everything that I need.”
Russell currently serves as an elder in the church. His own spiritual pilgrimage extends back almost 40 years and includes a sojourn in the Roman Catholic, American Baptist, Lutheran, Independent Charismatic, Independent Congregational, home fellowship, and Federated Congregational church settings. In these settings he has served as a catechist, bible teacher, independent school principal, outreach coordinator, and ordained pastor. His current life verse is Romans 1:15. “So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you…”