Faith Is Work

Amy Carmichael, said: “The tests are always unexpected things, not great things that can be written up, but the common little rubs of life, silly little nothings, things you are ashamed of minding [at all]. Yet they can knock a strong man over and lay him very low.” “The best training,” she says, “is to learn to accept everything as it comes, as from Him whom our soul loves.” [1]

She is talking about meeting these things with faith in our loving Father. Yes, that faith gets tested. It might feel like we cannot go any further in it. We want to retreat. Long to turn to distraction and self-indulgence. But whoever said that faith is easy?

This is Walter Wangerin, Jr.: “Faith is work. It is a struggle. You must struggle with all your heart. … And on the way, God will ambush you.” We struggle to trust. The doubts keep coming. We refuse to give in. We fight, fight to trust God; but it is so hard. We feel like we’re losing faith every other moment. But we aren’t. That is just the contaminants burning up. Our faith is being purified! And when we just can’t do it anymore, our heavenly Father comes from behind us to help.

I love the true story – many of you have seen the video – that came out of the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. It was the 400-meter race. Derek Redmond of Great Britain entered the back stretch with a real possibility of winning gold and fulfilling his lifelong dream. And then it happened: his hamstring tore and all the other runners went flying past him. He crumpled, kneeling there on the track, in excruciating pain.

A nearby photographer captures the moment of his dream-ending collapse. Frustration and dejection are written on his face. The race is over. The other runners are crossing the line.

Then, surprisingly, Derek stands and begins to hop toward the finish line. The crowd, which has been watching, begins to clap, and then cheer, louder and louder.

Then the applause hushes a little. What is happening? There is a man running toward Derek on the track. It’s his father. He throws his arms around his son and in a voice full of emotion, whispers, “Come on, son. Let’s finish this together.” The applause grows louder than ever. The crowd cheers and weeps as they watch Derek’s father bearing his injured son across the finish line.[2]

How many times you and I have struggled to trust God! Our faith has come up short and we have fallen. We won’t win the race. We’re not even sure we can finish it. But we get up, broken and limping, and begin again.

We will cross the finish line, as every one of his children do, upheld by our Father’s arms. The hosts of heaven will be on their feet, and there will be jubilant praise, abundant honor, and resplendent glory. And we will hear the words – is he speaking to me, who fell, who failed, who lay crumpled on the ground? We will hear the words: “Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Lord” (Matthew 25:21).


[1] Amy Carmichael, “Candles in the Dark.” Christianity Today, Vol. 31, no. 2.

[2] Source: Jim Nicodem, “The Father Heart of God,” Preaching Today, Tape No. 152.

About salooper57

Husband, father, pastor, follower. I am a disciple of Jesus, learning how to do life from him. I read, write, walk, play a little guitar, enjoy my family.
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2 Responses to Faith Is Work

  1. Terry Powell says:

    Great post. Keep up the good work.

    I’d add that sharing life with fellow Christ-followers is something we need more of in the church today. Testimonies seem to be fewer than past years. This April 21 my friend will celebrate the first anniversary of a life saving kidney transplant. Something some would say was the answer to believers joining together in prayer. God is good! God is good! God is good!

    Like

  2. salooper57 says:

    Thanks, Terry, for the encouragement. Thrice good? Yes! and better than we can know.

    Like

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