Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Has Pain Outrun Your Faith This Year?

Ten years ago, our son Ben shared something that touched me profoundly. He said, “You know mom, I think that the bitterness and cynicism that you are encountering in so many Christians flows from a heart where pain has outrun their faith.” I have shared that quote hundreds of times but just recently while studying chapter two of Revelations did I found a reminder of Ben’s musing.

“I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance…I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my Names’ sake, and you have not grown weary. BUT I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.”(Rev. 2:2-4)

I am constantly meeting Christians who have “patiently endured” so many painful things but they don’t even notice that their “faith is being outrun by their pain.” They often don’t notice that their patience endurance of a great trial--though so noble—has subtly given them permission to abandon their first love. How does one know if one’s faith has been outrun by the trials of 2009? Ask the Lord to reveal if there is any free floating bitterness, resentment, discouragement or cynicism in your heart that you don’t recall being their in 2008. Maybe you have noticed a “low grade fever” in your soul that you can’t seem to describe or dispel.

I don’t mean to be simplistic—but our faith needs to be growing daily through our quiet times with Jesus and His Word—so that our faith can be strong enough to not only endure but endure without slowing abandoning our passionate love for Jesus. Faith is not some special POTION you can buy at Nordstrom or Wal-Mart. Faith is a direct result of spending some time each day with the Living Word (Heb.4:12)—so that we will be able to tenaciously hang on to God’s love, even when our life circumstances seem to challenge His love for us!

Give yourself the best Christmas gift—get a One Year Bible and make the choice to strengthen your faith daily—so that your faith will be able to “outrun the trials and pain” that are inevitable in the days ahead—as long as you have a pulse! With a growing faith—we can embrace pain and burn it as fuel for our journey.

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