“‘If you are not firm in faith, you will not be firm at all.’” Isaiah 7:9
I can be a bit dense at times…a little slow on the uptake. I’m like my mom like that. We can’t always grasp the concept of something right away. Although I am getting a little better at it. So, when I read this piece of Scripture a while back, it didn’t click right a way for me. And then…. I GOT IT!
What does it mean? Well, all too often we ignore God’s existence until we need Him. We ignore the moral laws that he printed on our hearts (and in His Word) for our own laws. We come to Him when things look bleak, dark and scary while scoffing at Him while ‘life is good’. That’s what this is about. We cannot expect God to be ‘our fortress’, to be our strength when we ignore everything that He is. When we put EVERYTHING above Him. Don’t get me wrong here, I struggle with this too. I want do to what I want to do, when I want to do it…with no one telling me I can’t (or shouldn’t). You and I are self-centered beings-even on our best days.
In this Scripture, the Hebrew word used for ‘firm’ is ‘aman’ which means;
to build up or support; to foster as a parent or a nurse; to render (or be) firm or faithful to trust or believe; to be permanent.
Um…WOW! Two parts of this definition really hit me. First is the ‘to build up or support’, that is a reminder for me that our faith as Christians is an active one. It doesn’t become stronger by sitting on our bums in church on Sunday. We need to also include reading God’s Word, talking with him (prayer) and being in fellowship with other believers.
But the one that really got me is the ‘to foster as a parent or nurse’. Our awesome and amazing God loves us like that. But He not only wants to love us like that, He wants us to put that effort into Him as well. All I see when I think of that part of the definition is a woman nursing a baby with a bottle. As if she is not that child’s birth mother but is caring and loving it just as much as she was. Holding that bottle of milk as the child feeds and looking at the child with so much love in her eyes that I wonder when I will see the tears of joy begin to flow from them. That child makes her heart full.
I want that kind of relationship with God. But how do I get there?
First-spending time with God. One thing I think a lot of us miss is that in the Gospels, it tells us that Jesus often went to spend time alone with God. He was God in human form and yet, He too needed to take time away to be in fellowship with His Father.
Friend, if Jesus needed to do that while walking this earth than please realize- we need it more!
Second, is to read the Bible. As much as some people try to say that the Bible is old and irrelevant-it is actually timeless. You see, there are no accidental stories or inclusions in the Bible. Every single Word is meant for you and I to gain understanding and strength from them. The story after story of really messed up and flawed people that God used. The words that they spoke and the ones God spoke to them. Best of all is the knowledge that if He can use people like David, Gideon, Abraham, Moses, Peter and Paul (and the list goes on)…He can definitely use you and I.
He can use us with all our issues and all our quirks. In fact, He will likely use our ‘issues and quirk’s’ to plant the seed of His Love, Grace, Mercy and best of all HOPE in the hearts of those around us. When we are able to continue to keep our eyes on God and praise Him-even on our darkest of days-my gosh, what a powerful living testimony that is!
I think I shared this a while back….in 2012 my son signed up to go into the U.S. Navy. He is the first in our immediate family to serve our awesome country. Friend, to say I had a hard time with this would be a massive understatement. And this was before he even went to boot camp.
You see, I was a single parent for most of the time my kids were growing up (their dad and I divorced when they were 2 1/2 and 5). My kids and I were it for so many years. I treasure our Friday nights where we rented movies and had chips (I was too poor to afford going to the movies). So the knowledge that both my kids weren’t going to be under my roof any more…I still have no words that describe how hard it was.
One Sunday morning in late October I woke up sobbing. It was so bad I was afraid I would wake up my hubby, so I quietly made my way out of the bedroom and went out onto our back deck. Still sobbing, I fell to my knees and told God ‘I can’t do this without You. I need You to take this from me. I need you to let me know he is going to be OK.’ Well…God is so amazingly good. I instantly stopped crying and felt in my heart that God was letting me know my boy would be ok.
I would love to tell you that there are no more difficult days but that would be a lie. That following year and a half were especially hard. While my son was in boot camp a very large lump was found on my daughter’s thyroid. And I thank God for it being found because she needed a physical for an internship. It was a scary time. She had surgery to have half of the thyroid removed, then came the waiting game on whether or not we would hear the ‘C’ word. Praise God we did NOT! We continue to pray that the remaining half remains healthy.
Several months later both my father and my husband’s mother became ill. Within a month my mother in-law went Home to God. A month later my aunt (my father’s sister) went Home as well. My father was in such bad shape we didn’t tell him for months. He was continually in and out of the hospital and nursing home…until he too when Home to be with God.
Although I prayed continually (which is a third action we need to take) for strength during this time, there were some extremely difficult days. One of the things that helped me was my praying friends (a fourth action-fellowship). I don’t know how I didn’t become annoying because I was reaching out, sometimes daily, for prayer. Prayer for both of my kids, for me and my hubby, for our parents. Let me tell you-having praying friends is an asset. KNOWING that God was hearing, not only my prayers, but theirs as well gave strength to my weary heart.
Friend, I hope and pray that life is good to you right now. That you are not waking in the night worrying or crying over things you may or may not be able to control. Take this time to work on being ‘firm’ so He can help you stand ‘firm’ when the difficult days come, because they will. Be in His Word, go to church service, be with other Christians and pray for eachother.
If you are in a time that you are struggling, I pray for God to continue to give you strength. Hold onto the promise that ‘His mercies are new every morning’. Keep going to Him-He doesn’t tire of hearing from you. He loves you immensely. Lean into Him and He will lean into you.
‘The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.’ Zephaniah 3:17
With lots of love and in Jesus’ precious name.