Stay-cation is over, and I am back on the blog! It has been nice to give my mind and body a break for a couple of weeks. I feel refreshed and energized for the next exciting season of things to come at CrossPointe Church. This fall, we will embark on a spiritual growth campaign that will culminate in a day of commitment to giving for our new church building. I am so excited about how God is going to work in us!
Over the next 2 ½ months we are going to talk a lot about faith, which means there will be a lot of thought processing about faith going on in this blog space. Faith is defined by the Scripture in Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” In this world, it can be difficult to have any convictions about things we can’t see. The common phrase is “seeing is believing.” However, with God, “believing is seeing.” One practice in my life that has helped me to have a conviction or an assurance of things I could not see is the practice of “faith markers.” This idea was passed along to me years ago, and I love it!
Whenever, I step out in faith, totally relying on God, and He shows up and shows out as He is always apt to do, I put a “faith marker” on the virtual timeline of my life to mark the event. Sometimes, it’s a journal entry or blog post. Other times, it’s just telling the story over and over again to anybody who will listen. But this “faith marker” is an imaginary stake in the ground that marks a real work of God in my life as I walk through it.
So, as I come to the next situation that requires me to have faith, to have conviction about something I can’t see or predict, I don’t have to look forward in fear. I can look back at those “faith markers” and see all the times that God has moved when I took steps of faith before. He is a faithful and unchangeable God! So, I can move forward in faith, not fear.
Let me give you an example:
In the Fall of 1996, my wife had just given birth to our second child and was home on maternity leave. She was collecting a disability check, and I was collecting. . . well, nothing. Long story short, I quit a job I shouldn’t have over stupid immature reasons and was unable to collect unemployment. In those days, my most consistent job was “Looking for a Job!” The first of the month came along and the rent for our apartment was due. I went to the assistant manager on a Friday and gave her what we had, a little over half the amount due. I told her that I had no idea what we were going to do for the rest, but I would be praying about it through the weekend and let her know on Monday.
That Sunday, as I sat in Sunday School, a gentleman came into the class and gave me an envelope. He only said that he found it on a desk in the church office with my name on it. I stuck the envelope in my bible and went on with my morning. Later, as I was sitting in the worship center, flipping through the pages of my Bible to follow along with the pastor’s sermon, the envelope fell out onto the floor. I picked it up and opened it. Inside, was the amount we needed for the remainder of the rent in cash, to the exact dollar! I was immediately suspicious! Nobody knew about that rent issue or the amount needed except our assistant manager, my wife and me! Who’s been in our business? I thought. I was dumbfounded. I walked right up to the pastor after the service ended and asked what he knew about it. He was completely unaware of the situation. After pleading and prodding, he finally grabbed me by the arm and said, “Brian, just tell God ‘Thank you!’ and move on in gratitude.”
Then it hit me! God knew! He knew what the situation was. He knew the amount needed. He knew how to get that money in our hands. He knew! So, where we didn’t see a way, God made a way! And guess what happened to our faith? It grew. . . exponentially! God showed up and made Himself even more known to us in a mysterious and wonderful way!
I wish I could say that was the last time I was unemployed and worried about how we were going to make ends meet. We had many more experiences with having more month than money. But each and every time, rather than losing sleep at night and worrying ourselves sick, we looked back at the “faith marker” of the Fall of ‘96 and had a renewed assurance of what we could not see, an invisible, all-powerful, all-sufficient God who loves us. And that was what we needed most.