When I look back at the really spectacular memories I’ve had over the last several years, I realize those moments have come following a time of obedience and spiritual discipline in my life. I firmly believe God provides blessings all the time, but He is extra generous when we strive to live in Him and for Him.
This realization is thrilling. I have at times been overcome by the rush and euphoria of living in faith, of being carefree of my troubles on earth, knowing my prize is on the other side of eternity. There’s a sense of fearless invincibility that comes with living in obedience to God, knowing with absolute certainty that He is protecting you along the way.
But living this way requires a lot of effort, and momentum can be as fickle as a breeze. Living in faith is not easy. Many times it can feel exhausting. It’s not unlike going to the gym. There are some days when I just want a ‘day off’ from making time for God.
I’ve had a lot of those days lately.
Yet God never takes a day off from loving us. He is constant in His love for us.
I was reminded of that today when I received a message from a friend of mine whose been through a lot in recent months. Some of it was of his own doing, and the collateral effects were gut-wrenching. Still, through it all my friend maintained his focus on God, and his perspective is an inspiring shot in the arm.
“Maybe God doesn’t always answer prayers as we would like, but it’s my experience that He answers prayers as they need to be answered!”
His is a story of stumbling in darkness and still finding light in the lowest of places.
“…He answers prayers as they need to be answered!”
God’s plan is perfect. God’s timing in revealing His plan to us is also perfect. What is not perfect are the pieces He uses for completing His plan; you and me. We are imperfect beings who struggle with our own burdens. Addiction, greed, desires, temperament; the list of faults is an infinite as God’s love for us.
Still, when we are in relationship with God, it means there are two parties that need to ‘do’. God has already done His part. He always has and He always will. In order for us to experience the euphoria that comes with walking in Christ, we must actually walk. We must actually do. There is nothing passive about having faith.
My friend wrapped up his note to me with this.
“I believe God has helped me, but I also believe that I must continually seek help through prayer, treatment, therapy, whatever it takes. It’s a gift from God that I feel relieved of my burden, and the last thing I want to do is to take that gift for granted by not continuing to do the things which will keep me on the right path.”
There is nothing passive about having faith.
“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” – James 1:2-4 (NLT)