“Faith never knows where it is being led, but it loves and knows the One who is leading.”
~ Oswald Chambers ~
Friday I wrote about the great heroes of our faith in Hebrews 11. This passage is summarized in principle by these words — “whose weakness was turned to strength” (Heb. 11:34).
Paul said, But he [the LORD] said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for in weakness my power is perfected.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I am pleased with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Cor. 12:9-10)
Faith isn’t about who we are or our strengths and abilities; it’s about God’s strength and abilities. Forgive me for repeating a story I have used earlier on this blog as it perfect for this quote. Clarence Cranford delightfully illustrates prayer and faith as wind in a sail:
A sailor was telling a small boy about the sea. He mentioned the wind. “What’s wind?” asked the little boy. “I don’t know what wind is,” replied the sailor, “but I know what it does when I raise a sail.” We now know a lot about how to chart the wind’s course, but we still can’t see it; we can only see what it does.
So it is with God’s Spirit. We can’t see it; we can only see what it does in the lives of those who put their trust in God. The winds of God’s grace are always blowing, but we must raise the sail of faith if we want them to propel us toward deeper peace and joy. Prayer is lifting our sails to the winds of God’s wisdom and power. We do not tell the wind which way to blow. We learn how to adjust our sail to the wind so it can propel us in the right direction. In prayer we do not tell God how to act. Instead, we lift our praise and concerns so God can fill us with a deeper sense of God’s presence and help us steer toward the answer God has in store for us.
As a mother, I feel comfortable knowing what is coming in my life. I want to be prepared and prepare my children. It would be easy to know the charted course beforehand and depend on a wind that never changes and that would effortlessly take you to your destination! But God doesn’t work that way. He wants us to depend on Him moment by moment.
A sailboat without a sail is only driftwood. It is completely dependent upon the wind for its direction and progress. As an older woman, I give this advice to younger women: Every morning, before you open your eyes or get out of bed, go to God in prayer. Boldly raise your sail of faith to catch God’s sweet Holy Spirit. Ask God to direct your navigation in uncharted waters—come to Him thankfully, willingly, humbly, and absolutely convinced that He is going to propel you in the right direction. The wind is strong—you need only to rightly position your sail for strength and speed. Throughout the day continue to ask Him to direct you. Leave your sails up, and let the Holy Spirit guide your boat. Whenever you feel weary, remember Christ’s invitation, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28). God will guide your boat and help you weather all storms. Bring to Him any concerns you have, and leave them with Him as you sail toward the destination God has charted for you.
If you do not raise your sail you have two other choices: aimlessly drift, or row your boat without a rudder or compass to give direction; and the results will be disappointing, if not disastrous. Drifting will take you wherever the current of the world goes. Rowing—that is, trying to make progress by your flesh—is just as perilous, because you don’t know what the destination is or how to get there, so any rowing effort will be in vain. If you don’t let God chart your course, you can end up rowing in circles or into dangerous waters. Jonah tried to go his own way instead of following God’s direction. He ran from God’s will and caused a storm that almost sank the ship he was on, then was thrown into the sea and swallowed by a giant fish. But even after his disobedience, when he repented, God graciously guided Jonah and brought him back on course. Use wisdom and allow God to direct you the first time. Don’t cause Him to have to use drastic measures to get you to the proper destination.
The word knowledge has a Hebrew root that describes skill in sailing (2 Chronicles 8:18). Your faith will grow daily as you gain knowledge of God’s Word. The more Word you have in you, the easier it will be to raise and position your sail. You will be starting your homeschooling each day studying in His Word–reading stories of how faithful God is in every situation, opportunity, and decision. Read Hebrews chapter 11—each person in this faith chapter did something because they believed God.
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:17). This says that faith comes from hearing the Word of God; faith grows by hearing more of the Word, and by applying it and trusting God—watching, waiting, and honoring Him by refusing to indulge thoughts of fear (worry, anxiety, dread, apprehension, etc.).
Charles Stanley said, “When we meditate on God and remember the promises He has given us in His Word, our faith grows, and our fears dissolve. David understood that. Many times, in the caves hiding from Saul and with from six thousand to twenty thousand men searching for him, David quietly shifted his attention to God. Under the stars or in the darkness of the caves, David focused his attention on [the] God who had equipped him to slay Goliath, who had given him swiftness of body and keenness of mind. He remembered God who had allowed him to avoid Saul’s javelin. As he fixed [the eyes of] his inner man on God, his fears and frustrations were soothed by the presence of God. We [will] have our own cave and javelin experiences, and we need to remember His wonderful promises in them.”
And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. —Philippians 4:19
God has a design in mind for our life—for you and every member of your family. There are no accidents. He is working in ways unknown to us to bring goodness and hope out of every situation. We must choose to believe that God keeps His promises. Hebrews 11:6 tells us that without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Anything that is not of faith is sin, because if faith is not our motivation, then by default the fear and pride of the flesh are our motivation, and that’s sin.
God is in control of your life, ruling over all. He knows your abilities and your weaknesses. He knows your children and their needs. Turn your focus to Christ and place your trust in His might and love. He will never let you down. When we rely on Him we will have “chosen that good part, which will not be taken away” (Luke 10:42). Absolutely nothing—neither problems, nor circumstances—can take away the wonderful peace and assurance that result from trusting God. Lift your sails to the winds of God’s wisdom and power and watch the great and powerful things He will provide.
We ought always to thank God for you, brothers, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing.—2 Thessalonians 1:3