Faith makes a difference
The Rev. Kathy Brumbaugh, Special Writer
Background text: Mark 9:24
Devotional text: Hebrews 11:1
I joined a women’s Bible study group while I was living in Ohio. One day, one of the ladies told us an acronym for the word faith. Faith, she said, is our Fantastic Adventure in Trusting Him.
I liked that saying and have used it many times since. However, more recently, I’ve been interested in studying this word faith and have looked up some other acronyms for it. Some of these I will share with you. Perhaps one of them will spark a special meaning in your own life.
Here are some of my findings: For Answers I Trust Him, Feeling Afraid I Trust Him, Forever Always I Trust Him, Forget About It Trust Him, For Anything Impossible Trust Him and Forwarding All Issues To Heaven.
For a definition of faith, the words of Hebrews 11:1 seem to say it all: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
In Romans 10:17, we find out where our faith in Jesus comes from: “Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message comes from hearing about Jesus Christ.” You see, once we hear the message of Jesus, as our Savior, faith is developed in our hearts. We want to know more about Jesus. We become followers in the same ways that he taught his disciples so long ago.
“We walk by faith, not by sight” is a scripture found in 2 Corinthians 5:7. Paul reminds us that though we cannot now see Jesus, we believe in him and put our trust in that belief.
In 1 Corinthians 2:5, Paul tells us “that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of people, but in the power of God.” Although we might find Jesus through the words of people, as well as the Bible, conviction to follow Jesus comes from the nudging of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13 clarifies this for us: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust (believe, have faith) in him, that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Continuing in Romans 10:10, Paul states our blossoming belief like this: “For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”
To have faith in our God is not always an easy thing to do, especially when we are going through tough times. Sometimes those difficult times last but a short period. At other times, it can take years of battling depression and unbelief as we work our ways through struggles in our lives.
Words from 1 Corinthians 16:13 tell us to “Be on guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous, be strong.” These are great words that remind us not to give up trusting in our God. They remind us that as we persevere, the going gets easier, if we do not lose our faith.
Romans 15:13 tells us that faith will fill us with joy and peace, meaning that even as we go through tough times, if our hope remains faithful to what God will do for us, our burdens will be lifted and we can enjoy our life even in the midst of struggles.
I was listening to a Christian radio program the other day, and a man was talking about the struggles his family went through for years as they had high debt and it wasn’t easy to make the payments. Sometimes, they couldn’t make the payments. Sometimes, they lived on very little, just to finally get out of debt.
However, the thing he said that showed his faith in God was not lost during that time — indeed, it grew — was when he said his family had peace in their lives, hope that all would work out and belief that God was with them through it all.
His family decided they weren’t going to argue and blame one another. They were not going to give up on their faith in God. They had joy. They played. They had fun. They had a deep sense of happiness that their family remained together and were good to each other. They were able to do it in a positive, joyful way because they had faith in God.
What a great lesson for us all. Even though their lives were not always easy, they decided to look at what good they could do as a family who loved one another.
It reminds me of a quote from James 1:3: “Because you know the testing of your faith brings perseverance … ”
Isn’t that true? If we decide to keep our faith in tough times, remaining close to God and his teachings through Jesus, we can have hope, even joy, through the difficult times in our lives.
Let’s look at Mark 9:24. In this chapter of Mark, a man has brought his demon-possessed son to the disciples to be healed. The chapter explains that the boy had this problem since childhood. The disciples were having trouble casting the demon out until Jesus came along.
It is Jesus who casts out the demon and heals the son. The disciples asked Jesus why they were having so much trouble doing it themselves. Jesus answered that “this type only comes out with prayer.”
Speaking to the boy’s father, Jesus said to him, “Everything is possible for him who believes.”
The father answered Jesus by saying, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief.”
I love this story because it brings two things to our attention. First, we must not forget to pray. Second, we all have moments of unbelief, or we only believe so far. Our faith lapses in face of tragedy. Openly and honestly, the boy’s father recognized his own failing and asked Jesus to help him to overcome those times when he needs more faith.
Life never changes. There are the good times and there are those difficult times when we feel we don’t know what to do. Scripture helps us to be strong in the faith, and, when our faith fails, as it does from time to time, we can ask God to help us persevere, to be courageous, to be strong. God never leaves us and is always ready to help.