Monday, August 13, 2012

Faith Under Siege

Faith! We all have it, even those people who think they do not. We all have areas of faith where we believe implicitly in something, even if we don’t understand how it works. For example, I believe that my heart beating will keep me alive. I’ve studied a little biology and understand the rudimentary workings of the cardio-vascular system, but I really could not sit here and say, I can tell you exactly how it works, why it works, or what makes it start working in the first place.
Another example of faith is when we go to an airport or train station. We buy a ticket to a destination, and this small piece of paper tells us that if we go to a certain gate lounge or platform, that we will be able to board a vehicle that will take us to that destination? How do we know that flight QF692 will actually take me to Melbourne? I don’t! I also don’t know how the plane manages to get off the ground or stay in the air, or go in the right direction. But it does, and I have faith that it does, otherwise I wouldn’t get on it in the first place. Somewhere along the line, many of us have accepted, by faith, that God exists. Sometimes that faith is extended by varying degrees: God is our creator; God is our Saviour; God is our healer; Jesus is our Lord. There are many points along a faith journey for any one of us.
But of recent times I have noticed that my own personal faith journey has been under more fire than is typical. The usual suspects that tease our faith in God are: doubt, fear and disappointment. I’ve met these characters quite a number of times over the years, have taken on the challenge, and usually emerged more grounded in my faith than before.
Then I met a new customer in the ‘let’s-see-how-tough-you-are’ department. Betrayal. That was a goodie! I never thought I’d think things like: ‘I don’t care if I never go to church again in my life!’ Have you ever been in that place? It’s a bit deeper than the normal pot-holes we stumble in. But thank you Lord, with time and the love of a faithful God, I’ve found my way out of this cavern again. Phew!
But that’s not the full account of the attack armoury. There is something that has been around for a while, but I’ve been carefully cocooned in a strong faith environment, so its influence hasn’t really penetrated my thinking before. But having recently engaged in a secular study environment has awakened me to some new opportunities to regroup. Actually, the influences of Darwin, Freud, Nietschke and Marx have been out and about for over a hundred years, suggesting that it is all right – nay – sensible and beneficial to consider life on its own without God, Jesus, the Bible, or any other religious ‘crutch’. The message gradually seeped into our western society over the twentieth century – God simply isn’t there!
Those of us who have experienced God in more than an intellectual way simply can’t accept that.
But things continued to develop (or deteriorate, it depends on how you look at it). Post modernism has been making its push for the last few decades, and while I’ve had my head in the clouds, haven’t noticed that the philosophical atmosphere has changed again.
Actually, now, it’s OK if you believe God is there, BUT, everyone experiences God in his or her own way. Truth is relative, and no one can say what truth is or if it really exists. You are allowed to believe your version of truth, if you want, but you cannot say with any certainty that what you believe is true, because everyone experiences life differently.
Fantastic! If that doesn’t put your head in a whirl, I don’t know what will.
So my faith, that has survived all sorts of doubts, disappointments and blows, now has to face the prevailing attitude of the 21st century.
Now I have to stand at the boarding gate of my own faith flight and ask the question: ‘Is it safe to fly?’
Thank goodness, even philosophy allows that we experience truth through different evidences, and several of these evidences allow for faith: Revelation; Authority; Intuition; the senses and reason.
I have gone through my life’s time-line to my different points of revelation, and there have been about five distinct ones over the decades, and when I consider what was revealed to my heart at each juncture, I can apply all other aspects of reason, intuition and authority to it, and I find it to be sound and true.
There was a point when I had the revelation that Jesus was God and He loved me. I was four. Then the revelation that the Holy Spirit was God and He could live in me. I was eight. I was sixteen when I studied biology, and the very distinct and clear revelation was that God is my awesome creator. In my early adult years, I discovered by revelation that God was not just THE Saviour, but He was MY Saviour, and that I was as in need of salvation as anyone else (even if I have never robbed a bank!) There have been other points of revelation, and continuing journey that surrounds each one.
The point I would like to make today is: If you have found your faith under fire or worse, under siege, go back along your timeline and find those points where you absolutely knew – where God spoke into your heart in a way that was undeniable. Hang on to those points, and move on from there.
Bless you

Meredith Resce
Author of ‘Cora Villa’, ‘Mellington Hall’ and many other popular novels.
http://bit.ly/CoraVillaTrailer

12 comments:

  1. Thanks Meredith.
    I really appreciated this.

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  2. I couldn't agree more.. We all have times of feeling disappointed.Its amazing, as you say, how we have the faith to truth an airline or a train, to take us to the correct destination.Yes we do need to look back and remember, how faithful our God is. Thank you for sharing this. I took part in a Sozo last weekend which ministers to our spirit. I feel so full up of love since then..

    For the record. We have muscles we control, like our bladder and ones that work without control, like our heart. The heart can stop for an amount of time without the brain dying,so we can be revived. However, when the brain dies, our heart and every thing else stops.

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  3. My best friend has a mantra that she lives by. "My faith rests in the unchangeable character of God." Isn't it great that faith is more than how we feel or how others treat us. Life sent so many attacks against our faith that we eventually gave up and told God it was over and out! The next morning, as I was struggling to work out how a non-christian lived (like you, I'd had live all my life as a Christian) I discovered that even when I gave up God still held me...Oops. now I'm leaking my book! PS God is amazing. I love Him :)

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  4. Thanks for your thoughts, Meredith. So true! And I can atest to the fact that as you get older the points of revelation and inspiration accumulate and make a wonderful bank of security and faith to hold onto.

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  5. Yes, yes and AMEN!! Our testimony is the best weapon we have when we come under fire. Thanks for the reminder. :)

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  6. Loved your post Meredith. Thank you. I liked the way you found different points of revelation in your faith journey. I never thought of it like that. But yes, it's what happens to each of us isn't it? I would like to retrace my own timeline and re-discover how God has led me and energised my faith over the years. As you have found, the challenges abound. But praise God for His grace and faithfulness. They help is reach depths of faith as we seek to stay close to Him and to follow Him.

    I've found that the challenging times have brought me to a place where my faith became deeper and richer and where Jesus truly became my Treasure.

    Thanks again for reminding us to reflect on our own journey with God. Something we should do often!
    Blessings,
    Anusha

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  7. Thank you for those reassuring truths. I can never hear enough of the way the Lord works in our lives. I especially thank the Lord for the time I discovered it wasn't about my feelings. I always believed I should FEEL close to Him. Now I know when things go wrong and when everything crumbles around me, He is there with me, no matter how I feel and that's a huge comfort. I also try to bring this out in my characters' struggles.

    A big hug!

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  8. Hi Meredith,
    Nothing reflects the changing fashions of theological and philosophical thought more than a university campus. I like your advice to revisit our personal timelines.
    Blessings,
    Paula

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  9. Very well said Meredith. I am fairly sure this is the best explanation of faith I've ever read. I too am a mature age student and have really struggled with spiritual attacks on my faith in Jesus through the worship of the 'wisdom' of man. It is something I am slowly coming to grips with but your experience is a big encouragement, Thankyou.

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  10. It always amazes me that people profess faith in so many things - but cannot embrace faith in God. The times I am under siege have been very hard, but the breakthrough to freedom has always brought me closer to God. And taught me better how to love and trust Him. Great post, Meredith.

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  11. Yes, Meredith. Yes, yes, yes... I know exactly what you are talking about and have revisited not only my time-line of faith during occasions of doubt but also all those wonderful things God has done in my life (which I tend to forget too easily). And on top of all that I like to get away from emotions and remind myself of the REASON-able proof we have for God's Word being true. Objectively, absolutely, undeniably, unshakably true. Thanks for a great post.

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  12. Thanks Meredith for this post. How great that even when we loosen our hold on God He never lets go of us. As I look back I can see how he has sustained me through hard times, doubts and fears as well as shared the good times.

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