When Faith is Work

One of the classes I took last year at Briercrest Seminary was on spiritual formation and included a detailed look at a number of different spiritual disciplines – prayer, solitude, fasting, etc. Parts of the Christian walk that require intentional time and effort. Practices that require discipline.

It can be hard to associate the word “discipline” when thinking about God and about following Him. Sometimes it’s just easy, right? Living in the knowledge that God loves us so much that He sent His Son to die for us. Knowing that we have been adopted into His family and get to walk with Him as our Abba Father. Other times, though, it’s not so easy and that’s where the discipline of faith shows up.

Having built a discipline of spending time in God’s Word means that when things get hard, we find ourselves back in the pages of Scripture. Making a discipline of prayer part of our everyday will cause to turn to our Father as a first response when in difficulty.

It’s in those days that are difficult that I’m thankful for a lifelong journey of walking with Jesus. To have an entire life of God’s faithfulness to look back on when things are hard, knowing that He will continue to show up.

One of the first things I see each morning is a wall hanging with Q & A 1 of the Heidelberg Catechism. Lately my eyes have been lingering on the line “that without the will of my heavenly Father, not a hair can fall from my head,” and these words are giving me pause.

My mom’s cancer journey has taken a turn for the worse, with the most recent scan results showing increased tumor growth and the cancer spreading to other organs. She started a new chemo this morning, one with a side effect of increased hair loss. Knowing that each hair that falls from her head is in the control of God, I can’t help but think, “God, you could stop this! You could heal her, remove the cancer completely. ” This is what we’re praying for – a complete miracle. We’re begging for more time, for many more years together as a family.

It’s easy to question, to get angry – God can heal her, why isn’t He? But this is when those disciplines come back, where the old habits push me back into the pages of Scriptures and into conversation with my Heavenly Father.

Yes, He could heal her – absolutely. But He might not. We live in the confidence that even if Mom is not healed on this side of eternity, God is still faithful and will remain faithful. He will take us through these difficult days, walking alongside us, even when sometimes it feels hard to find Him.

My mom is an amazing woman of faith and reminded us just yesterday again of the words of Psalm 139 – “all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Everything is in God’s hands, including this – He knows how many days Mom has left.

Take this as an encouragement to keep on in the disciplines of faith. Even when it just seems to be out of habit or when it is hard – keep working at it. Our God is faithful and He wants to demonstrate that to you.

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