Judgmental responses seem to abound in the faith community. Have you ever heard one of these?
“Just get over it.”
“You must be in sin.”
“You just want attention.”
“You don’t have enough faith.”
I didn’t know how to respond. I believed I had enough faith for God to answer my prayer to bring her home. When He didn’t, I was undone and felt myself slipping into depression.
Since the Bible says faith as big as a mustard seed (about the size of a pencil point) can move mountains, I concluded that my faith must be pitifully small. So I read the Bible, journaled my prayers, talked to a counselor, even reviewed the “Passion of the Christ.”
In the end, my faith remained the same. Unable to just get over it, I dealt with the sin the Lord revealed to me. After checking to be sure I wasn’t seeking undue attention in the midst of drama, I was left with what I thought to be a lack of faith.
That’s when I found Romans 12:12. “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”
My journals documented my faithfulness to prayer. But I was not patient in this affliction. And I definitely wasn’t joyful; I was a sobbing mess!
So I began to pray the Romans scripture over my life. “Lord, I hate the situation I find myself in. I don’t know what to do. I am without resource for this. But You are my source and strength. Please show me how to be joyful in hope.”
“Hang on to Possible Endings” was the answer to my prayer. I had no idea what the future held but I knew God held that future in His hands.
It isn’t healthy to deny emotions and pretend that everything will be fine, i.e. to just have enough faith. It’s also not healthy to be ruled by emotions, because sinful responses typically result from emotional living.
Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes that the man who fears God will avoid ALL extremes. I needed to get balanced.
Instead of focusing on how to get my daughter home, I focused on the One who could lead her back. Faith combined with hope could work through my emotions.
I cried less each day. I began to trust God in ways I hadn’t before. I left the hopeless feelings in the pit and felt the delight of hope springing in my heart.
As I held onto possible endings for my unwelcome circumstance, I found that I welcomed the Lord into places in my heart that needed healing. Healing brought freedom, and freedom initiated joy.
May the God of hope fill you up with joy as you trust Him.
©2015 Cindy Richardson