This is my favorite photo from our wedding.
Oh my, the Husband and I were young! That fact has nothing to do with this being my favorite photo.
And it's not because in it we are kissing. Though, I'll admit, kissing the Husband is something I like to do. Yep, I do!
I like this photo because of the words captured above us..."Jesus answered have faith." I love that this photo is a constant reminder that I need to live by faith.
It's so easy to have faith when life is easy, isn't it?
But what about when life is not easy? What about when life is just plain tough? What about when life is just plain tough and it's been that way for weeks, months, years? What about when life feels like a desolate land?
What about when faith is stretched?
This is where the Husband and I are right now. Life has held many difficult, painful things over the last few years. There's been a lot of good, but the hard things, the painful things, they just seem to have piled on. There's no pause. No catching our breath. Just a constant piling on!!
The most recent, 6 weeks ago, the Husband was let go from his job. They chose to go in a "different direction." Did you know that one year prior, he'd been let go from his previous job. He'd been there 7 years, they didn't have enough work to keep him. -sigh-
Faith is being stretched. And not just being stretched, but it's being stretched when we are already weary and worn.
We wonder what God is up to. We may even have moments where we wonder if He truly knows what He's doing, because there are definitely times I'm pretty sure there could have been a better plan! An easier plan. Where is that easy button???
Yet Jesus says to have faith because He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)
If yesterday (or last week or even last year) was good, and in that good time I believed that God was good, that His plan for me was good, then, aren't His plans just as good in this moment, in this day, when life feels hard? God hasn't changed only my circumstances have changed.
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28
If God says that He works all things together for good for those who love Him, doesn't that include the hardships in our lives?
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. James 1:2-3
And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; perseverance, character; character, hope. Romans 5:3
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
God will not allow the weight of burdens to crush us, but He will use them to transform us, to draw us closer to Him, to do a good work in us that we may do a good work for others, a good work for Him.
God does not intend to waste our suffering. He uses it! He builds up our faith!
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:6-7
This testing of faith isn't easy. Sometimes I walk with weariness, in weakness.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5
But if God is who He says He is...merciful, kind, patient, good, loving, my rock, my salvation, my hope, my peace, my deliverer, perfect, full of truth, faithful, holy, then He is worthy of my trust, of my undivided faith no matter my circumstances!
Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart. Psalm 27:14
The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; therefore my heart greatly rejoices, and with my song I will praise Him! Psalm 28:7
The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles. Psalm 34:17
Today, by faith, I will trust in the promise that God will be my help and that He will use the trials in my life for His good purpose!