To Renew Your Faith
Faith is restored through various means. Hearing the truth is one way. That is the reason that an aspiring man repeats daily the truth of some future reality. And the God of the ambitious rewards him. Or at least he rewards some. But he is a fickle master. And the self-help books are written by the winners.
In the same way, those who serve the God of the unseen world repeat the truth of unseen futures. They treasure up whispers of hope and repeat them to themselves for comfort and as they do, there swells within them the witness of unseen things. And hope is renewed.
Another way that hope is restored is through work. Hard work will bring a renewal of one's faith so long as the work springs authentically from one's own heart and is in the service of the God of unseen things. But this kind of work should not be confused with the work of the ambitious. It is more like that thing which Jesus was pointing to when he said "I sent you to reap what you have not worked for." The worker who knows the voice of God labors at a work without knowing how that work will benefit him. So he sows without the assurance of reaping from his labors. And when he reaps, it often comes unexpectedly and in ways which he cannot directly attribute to his labors.
This may be confusing to those unfamiliar with the kind of work I am describing. So here is an example:
A woman is a writer of songs. She writes her music as an expression of her most sincere desires toward all that is good, beautiful and true. And the songs come from a deep place within her. And at its best, it is more than her. Well one day, the woman feels a stirring within. She crosses her room to the writing desk to jot the ideas down before she looses them, but as she does, the message of the song takes hold and she must keep writing. After a few hours of this, she realizes that she is neglecting other essential work. She thinks to herself "if I don't go finish x y z, it will put me behind. And if I get behind, I may not get paid for such and such work this month, which means, I may come up short." The woman frets over the decision for a time, but senses a reassuring voice say this is more important. I will take care of your other needs. Just keep writing. And so she spends the time and finishes the song.
Time passes and sure enough, she comes up short. But those who are familiar with this way of life don't need me to elaborate on what happens next. The answer, the money, the ability to meet the obstacle comes out of nowhere. Perhaps she receives a refund check for her insurance, or a friend shows up with a gift of money, or a creditor is pacified, or she realizes that she doesn't really need that expensive car, or that she can live in a smaller home. One way or another, her needs are met. She has sowed an action, not merely for the sake of personal profit, but out of an allegiance to the unseen truth that burns within her, and she has reaped a reward, again out of the abundance of unseen things.
Now let's say the same woman, three years later quits her job to go live with her aging parents who need her care. Her parents live on social security and cannot afford the additional burden of supporting their daughter. Beyond that, there are prescriptions to pay for and etc... She does not know how she will make it. But she goes because it is the right thing to do. And as she does, as she engages in the work she is called to do, she hears an almost silent voice of reassurance say something like "trust and all will work out right." So she does the best she can to trust. She keeps at it and reminds herself of the promise. And then yet again, the answer comes from an unexpected place. Here she has sowed in the field of her parents need and she reaps from some other unexpected source, for a few weeks into her new arrangement, she is approached by a popular vocal artist with a major record label asking her if he can use her song in exchange for what turns out to be just enough for her to live on while she takes care of her parents. So yet again, she has reaped where she did not sow.
Of course there are those who would say that such things are coincidence, but for those who choose to walk the path of faith, the miracles become too numerous to deny. It is too much to be coincidence. They come to know that in fact there is a God of unseen things who looks after those who work in His employ. And the work itself renews one in their faith. It is only when we obey our unseen guide and work hard in the service of unseen rewards that we are visited with the voice of reassurance and ultimately the fulfillment of whispered promises.
Lastly, there is one other way to renew our faith...well I am sure it is not the last...just the last way which presses itself upon me of late. And it is through rest, which for me is counterintuitive. But it is true nonetheless. We have to learn to regularly lay our burdens down, to laugh, to play, to read a book or take a long shower or a vacation or a nap. There is such a temptation to believe that we are responsible for bearing it all off singlehandedly. And sometimes, the only way to keep the wolves of doubt at bay is to surrender to our own frailty. We are not the ones that will save the world. He is.
God help us all. I pray that you may be blessed to be renewed in faith and in the hope of unseen things. I pray that He will give you work. It is a mercy for those with a burden of unseen things. And I pray that you can put it down and rest. In the name of Jesus Christ.
The Trackless Path
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