Monthly Archives: November 2017

Faith When You Can’t See Results

My mother’s fervent prayers for her three children were that we would come to the saving knowledge of Jesus. I know that she was burdened for us and had faith God would answer her prayers. Both my sister and I became believers as pre-teens. My brother rejected the whole notion of Jesus and waivered on believing there was a God.
In 1990, at the age of 60, she succumbed to breast cancer. My brother had not moved from his beliefs at that time. I cannot imagine how hard it must have been for my mother to go into eternity and worry that one of her children did not know the Lord.
It was such a shock for us to lose our mother. We felt she was still so young. My mother died knowing that she was going to be with the Lord and told us that. As we grieved, we sought solace in our own way. My sister and I had our faith. My brother was a little lost, but he had started to attend church with his young son.
During a service, my brother had a spiritual experience that caused him to come to faith in Jesus. It was a bittersweet moment to hear my brother’s profession of faith. My mother did not live to see her faithful prayers answered. But I do believe she rejoiced with the angels when my brother made his profession of faith.
Abraham did a similar thing. He and Sarah lived on land that God promised his descendants, even though it was not legally theirs. Some of it was occupied by the Hittites. When Sarah died, he mourned her and needed to find a place to bury her. He knew exactly where he wanted to lay her to rest and went to the owner of the land and asked to purchase it.
Because Abraham was so well thought of, the owner wanted to give it to him, but Abraham wanted to purchase it and went through all the legalities to do so. He succeeded in buying the land and buried Sarah there. Later, he and Isaac and his wives were buried there as well. This burial plot happened to be in the land of Canaan that God promised Abraham and his descendants.
Just as my mother sent up her prayers for my brother and believed he would eventually find his way to the Lord, Abraham had faith that God would give his descendants the land he was living on. He followed through in faith by purchasing it to safeguard that piece of it until God’s promise was fulfilled so his family could be buried on their own land given to them by God.
We are so results oriented, that having faith in God’s promises or that something in the future will work out that we may never see is hard. Neither my mother nor Abraham lived to see God’s promise played out. When we have faith in Him about a situation when we can’t or won’t see the outcome, it is special to God. We are telling Him we trust His plan and are resting our future in His hands. Our faith pleases Him, and he will always honor that, even if it’s in eternity.

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:23

What It Means to Sacrifice

When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941, my dad was seventeen years old. In early 1942, he decided to enlist. He and a group of his friends went to join the Marines. All my dad’s friends made it in the Marines, except my dad. They reached their quota and sent my dad to another branch to enlist in. He decided to serve in the Navy.

My dad lived on a destroyer from 1942-1945. His only time away from the ship was on shore leaves. His ship was small, and he slept cramped on a cot-like bed, ate food that was not appealing, had to follow orders and had little free time. He survived a typhoon, having bombs dropped around him, and dodging torpedoes. He also had to leave the enemy who was either shot down or their ships had sunk in the ocean because there was no room or supplies for them on his ship. He had men die beside him and has had to shoot at another human being. It was hard for my dad. He grew up during the Depression, a time when people helped one another, not destroyed each other.

He gave over three years of his life to serve his country. Today he is 93 and has never regretted it, nor did he ever complain about it. It was something he did because it was the right thing to do. It’s not something he talks about much either, but he has revealed glimpses of what it was like to his family just over the past few years.

How many parents during WWII sacrificed their sons to keep the freedoms we enjoy today? Let’s expand that to all wars and conflicts and the sacrifices made by all military personnel and their families. When I think of my dad’s WWII service and that of others, I’m reminded of Abraham and his near sacrifice of his son, Isaac.

God asked Abraham to take his son and sacrifice him. Isaac was Abraham’s only heir and the promised son provided by God. Abraham did not question or bargain with God. He immediately did as he was told. Abraham was willing to sacrifice the life of his only son.
According to the dictionary, sacrifice means to surrender or give up, or permit injury or disadvantage to, for the sake of something else. That means that it requires tremendous devotion and faith to do something so selfless.

In Abraham’s case. He had strong faith in God built on a relationship of trust. He wanted to serve the God who provided for him and loved him. In my dad’s case, he had a belief in this country and its freedoms. Both men moved forward in faith knowing the risk of forfeiting a future here on Earth.

I think of how strong faith must be to make such a sacrifice. It is a force that swells and overtakes the mind and spirit. It makes a person driven by that faith or belief system to not be able to do anything but act on it. I measure my faith against Abraham’s and come up short. I realize faith is not something that happens overnight. It is a process that comes from time spent getting to know God and learning to trust Him.

He (Jesus) replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you. Luke 17:6

Worry

What do you worry about? I know I worry about whether my husband and I have enough money in our retirement fund, how high gasoline and food prices will go, and I worry about my children. I also fret about what the world will be like when my grandchildren are adults. I could add to the list, but I think you get the drift.

Do you notice anything interesting in what you worry about? I do. I don’t worry about the things I can take care of and do, but if something is beyond my control, then I allow worry to gain a foothold. If you give worry a foothold, in a matter of time, it will be completely through the door. Worry is a nag. It is always whispering, “What if…what if…?” It never allows a person to have a completely positive thought or mindset.

An anonymous author said, “Worry is like a rocking chair: It gives you something to do, and it doesn’t get you anywhere.” What a great picture! When we worry, our mind goes back and forth between thoughts and doesn’t accomplish a thing, and we stay in the same place…never moving forward.

Usually there is nothing that can be done to change whatever we are worried about. Our thoughts are often about things that haven’t even happened yet or may never happen. Worry cannot change a thing in our lives and does nothing but squelch our joy and happiness. If we do it long and hard enough, worry can make us ill or feel ill.

Whatever is going to happen will happen, regardless of our thought life. It is always good to be prepared and have a plan, but not to dwell on the “what ifs.” When we are old and look back on our lives, we will see the things we did do and take note of what we enjoyed. How many of us will say, “I did not worry enough?” We will be ever so remorseful if we let worry stop us from living life to its fullest with joy.

Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:34