The first week I was here at Alison’s, after David left, I came across the book Fresh Faith by Jim Cymbala (Brooklyn Tabernacle). I picked it up and read the first chapter that week and was struck by the imagery of Satan stealing our faith, our first love, our zeal for God, destroying our marriages. I finally got back to it tonight and found a lot of good reminders of the need for faith in God, and what that means in our daily lives.
The greatest Christian is not the one who has achived the most but rather the one who has received the most. God’s grace, love, and mercy flow through him abundantly because he walks in total dependence.
Paul also knew that God uses trouble and trials of all kinds to heighten that sensitivity so that by faith we can use divine resources. p.47
Don’t give up today because you feel weak and overwhelmed – that’s the very place where divine power will uphold you if you only believe and call out to the Lord in total dependence. p. 47
Reminders that even in the darkest times, we need to hold on and we can trust that God is faithful. He has a plan and He is at work, even in the face of great sin.
Those who walk in faith are still realists. They often admit that they don’t know how everything is going to work out; but they insist that their God will supply nonetheless. p. 95.
Declare war on the cleverness that is a mask for unbelief.
Bring your problem to God, as a little child would, in total confidence that he alone can fix whatever is broken. p. 95
How often do I try to do things on my own. Even while saying it requires prayer and faith in God I am still standing on my own strength. But then the pain is too much to bear on my own – this drives me to my knees and to God.
Many times in life, God waits while a situation goes from bad to worse. He appears to let it slip over the edge, so that you and I say, “There’s no way now for this ever to work out.” But that is the point when the omnipotent God intervenes in our hopelessness and says, “Oh really? Watch this…!” p. 99
Can I believe in Him? Can I trust Him even when I see Alison’s pain? Even when I am the one in pain?
God is looking for a people who will believe him and take him at his word no matter what the circumstances say or what other people are telling us. p. 116
Then I run across this and I just want to see David, to talk to him, to get him to talk to me. I just want to understand what he’s feeling and thinking.
I have often sat in my office, trying to counsel couples who know that they are in trouble. They are entirely accurate as to the surface facts of their situation. But they are also so negative and pessimistic that you want to scream. There is no faith or expectancy for what god hs promised to do for his people. p. 119
But right now David won’t talk to me or any of us. Oh sure, he sends cordial formal emails to Alison to handle logistics, but he is not really communicating, sharing his thoughts and feelings, explaining anything. And certainly not showing any interest in what any of us think or feel.
We like to control the map of our life and know everything well in advance. But faith is content just knowing that God’s promise cannot fail. p. 145
I don’t get to know what David is thinking or why he is doing this. Can I live with that? Can I let go of that frustration and pain and trust God?
God’s purpose for us is a lot deeper than just how we feel at the moment. He lovingly permits pressures and trials, lets the bottom fall out from time to time, so that our wrong reactions come right to the surface. We see our lack of faith, our lack of love – and that is his aim.
God intentionally places us in situations in which we are beyond our ability to cope. He permits difficulties to come with our children , and we say “Why, God?” He is refining us. He is teaching us to trust him. He is drawing us away from our strength to his. He knows exactly how much heat to allow in our lives. He will never scorch us, but if we jump out of one cauldron because it’s too hot, he has others waiting. The dross must be removed. p. 186
…. Shall we not trust Christ and surrender to this process, rather than fighting it? Remember that it is a process of love to bring beauty and growth and enlargement in our lives. It is God’s way of sanctifying us. And we must never forget that the holier the life, the more true happiness we experience within. It is the spiritual impurities that rob us of God’s best. p. 187
Oh but the purification process can be so painful.
Satan wants us to focus on the problem, not the Provider. p.207
I fear for David. I hurt for Alison and those 3 boys. I struggle with my own unbelief. My God is faithful, holy, just, merciful. I rest in Him, I trust Him. I will walk in faith in Him.