Faith Grows Through Fire: The Gift of Faith

faith-grows-through-fire-gift-of-faith

People ask me all the time how I came to have the faith that I have. They see that I have a faith that can move mountains. I pray mightily in the Spirit because I’m certain of being heard. God has done so many miracles in my life that I’ve come to expect it. This is why people are befuddled and dumbfounded when they see my faith. It’s not actually my faith, by the way.

It’s God’s gift of faith, and He can take it away at the beginning of a tribulation in your life, only to give it back more strongly than ever.

Don’t be scared when you think your faith is gone. It’s at that moment that God is preparing you to receive more faith. Just wait calmly and put your trust in the Lord, even though you feel abandoned. Yield to God and continue to commit yourself to Him.

God stands outside space and time and knows all things. He is a good God. Even when it feels like He has withdrawn His tangible presence during the moment when you most need it, please wait…

You see, God won’t fill you if you’re not empty.

Over and over again in my life, the Lord has stripped me of every ounce of strength in my body, where if you were to look at me, you would think that my faith was gone. A raging fire was passing over me in my life, and suddenly somewhere in the midst of the fire, I was strengthened in the Lord and received a higher measure of faith.

How do you get faith? You have to be open to get it. You have to be yielded to God, to have an attitude of receiving. That’s how salvation is. You get it because it’s being given, and you’re willing to receive it. Having a greater faith in God is no different. Be open to receiving it. Ask for it.

As I was talking about faith with my husband one night, he said that he knew how to get faith. This is the progression:

  1. Believe God.
  2. Then you have to go through a trial that challenges that belief.
  3. In the end, you have to see that God delivers.

I am experiencing this in my life right now in several areas. I was working so hard to book a venue for the local homeschool conference that I’m in charge of, and nothing was working. I was under a lot of pressure, and it seemed like the harder I worked, the more nothing was happening. Vendors were asking me why the conference wasn’t booked yet. The keynote had agreed to work with us, but we left him dangling for weeks on end without giving him a reason why. The no-pay high-stress work that I was doing for the homeschool group drained me of every drop of strength I had until I literally collapsed.

At that moment, I went in to see the surgeon to discuss the procedure for removing the lump from my daughter’s spine. I saw that it was more serious that I had anticipated, that she would be unconscious for 48 hours and might slink into a coma, that bone from her spinal column would be removed in two places and never put back again, and that the lump couldn’t actually be removed completely because it was fused to the spinal cord itself. You know, the bundle of nerves that runs up your spine to your brain.

And then it hit me.

But my daughter was sitting there, and I wasn’t allowed to cry. I wasn’t allowed to scream in hysteria as a mother. No. I remained calm and wiped the sweat off my palms onto my jeans. I felt dizzy.

Later my husband took the kids to Costco for dinner, and I sat in the empty house. I sat in the dark, feeling abandoned by the Lord. Why did He not answer when I begged Him for a venue for the only Christian homeschool conference in this area? And now I could do nothing about it because I had no strength left, and why wasn’t I allowed to think about my daughter?

I screamed.

I wept.

I sat in silence before the Lord.

The next day I went to a prayer meeting with the Hispanic women I worked with at the women’s prayer retreat where I spoke in August. I plopped down on the couch and announced that the Lord had abandoned me.

After the initial shock of the statement wore off, the women’s eyes sparkled because God had given them Scripture for me. One woman told me that I was Peter, that I had jumped out of the boat and walked on water. And now I realize that it’s impossible to walk on water (what was I thinking?) and the waves are overwhelming me and I’m drowning. What happens next? she asked me.

God delivers.

Yes, but how would He deliver? How can He deliver without me doing anything? Because another woman quoted that God would fight my battles if I would only stand still. (Exodus 14:14)

The women laid hands on me and prayed for me. The fog lifted, and I had a supernatural peace and could it be… Joy! Yes, I felt incredible joy that was impossible because my daughter might be dead soon, and if the conference wasn’t booked, our group would never be able to have a conference again because of lack of funds. I felt responsible for the demise of the largest homeschool group in the area.

Nothing was resolved.

But I felt peace.

And I waited….

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.   Isaiah 40:31 KJV

The waiting was long.

I felt like a rubber band that had been stretched out of all proportion and would never be able to be snapped back to its original position.

And then it happened: a venue opened up, and would I come put down a deposit? As I walked around the venue, I had a lump in my throat because it was perfect. The price was also perfect. I wasn’t going to bankrupt our group and crash it to smithereens after all. The Lord delivered!

I cried tears of joy because this shows that God is still with me.

And now more waiting is required…

My daughter is going into spine surgery on January 8th, 2015. Will you pray for me, that God will continue to sustain me, no matter what the outcome?

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. I Peter 1:6-7 ESV

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16 Responses to “Faith Grows Through Fire: The Gift of Faith”

  1. Having been through surgery with 4 of my kids, I know how scary it can be, even when the stakes aren’t quite so high. May God hold you close during this trying time, and may her recovery be swift and complication free.

  2. Well great goodness Susan, do take care and can’t even imagine as I have never had surgery or had a kid with surgery.

    Please keep us updated OF COURSE as you can..

    Hugs

  3. Cindy says:

    Susan, I’m praying for your daughter’s surgery and recovery – and for God’s peace to surround you through the entire process.

  4. I learned a similar lesson this year, Susan. Thank you so much for sharing this. I miss reading real, faith-building blog posts like these and writing them, too.

    I’m praying for your daughter and for supernatural peace for you.

  5. Misty says:

    Prayers Susan and prayers again tomorrow. Momma’s can’t help but worry, even when we know we need to trust and have faith. Hugs!!

  6. Leah says:

    Surgery is scary.
    My baby girl went into the operating room this morning first thing at nine am. Her shunt needed urgent attention. She was all done and out in recovery by one pm. I prayed. It was a very simple operation.
    I felt the same way when a wise brain doctor once told me that my son required a lifesaving operation within three days of his birth. Deep down I knew I had no choice but to place my trust in the Holy Spirit before it started. The surgery was hard but the alternative was far worse. To me, the alternative was not even a option.

    One day later on the morning of the operation, I was in a panic. He was only twenty four hours old. After five painful hours he was released. That day I prayed quietly to God as I waited for news. My partner stayed outside the theater with him. It does help to ease the tension somewhat. They sent me a update once or twice at my request.

    • Susan says:

      It’s so hard when our children are undergoing surgery, but God is able to give us His presence to help us through the situation.

  7. Collene says:

    Wow. My heart goes out to you. It is so scary when things involve our kids. I really like how you explain that God can’t give us faith unless we are empty. That is a powerful revelation.

  8. Thara says:

    Heya.
    That is true. I have also questioned the Holy Spirit so many times over the years at times. One day so many years before when I was a little child planes crashed and then other people lost their lives. The constant reminders did not help either. That certainly made me doubt my faith at once although it should have had the opposite effect I now feel.
    But that was out of the question back then. Even when I was a lot older I asked a chaplain for his helpful advice on praying at church. As I sat down at a Palm Sunday service in church yesterday morning I felt I finally was now home again. And it was so good really. It took me such a while but it has actually happened at last. Seriously. I eased myself slowly back into it. In the first couple of years after 9/11 I abandoned all church services.
    I stopped believing in the power of our Creator one whole day after the attacks. I sat at home and prayed for the many victims of the attacks that way. We lit candles. In late 2003 one Sunday in November I attended a church service. It had been more than two years since the plane attacks. On the day of the plane attacks I was nearly five years old and unwell in bed. I was only seven years old at the time of my first post 9/11 church service in late November of 2003. I walked into a church and almost cried. My mom and dad did not force me back to church either. For my eighth birthday someone sent me a child friendly Bible.
    That helped me to cope. Five whole years after the plane crashes I was back at church services. Even now more than two decades after the attacks I only go there once a month to attend a service. It depends. This is my own recovery and healing story I have summed up. I had not read a Bible in more than two years due to my fear. One day I went back to church on a Sunday in November after the attacks to hear people speak. The reason I am now sharing this is to teach other people that no faith never really dies. Far from it. I wish I had known that back then. I’ve come such a long way since the attacks.

    • Susan says:

      Oh, wow. I hope you now understand that the evil in the world is caused by sin, and that Jesus came to earth to pay the penalty for each of our sins, so that we can have a relationship with God. Because God is holy, He requires justice for sin, and since all of us sin, the only way for us to be saved is to accept the payment Jesus made on the cross for us, because of His love for us.

      I’m glad you have returned to church!

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