Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, "You shall be holy, for I am holy." (1 Peter 1:13-15)
For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin. (Romans 14:23)
I would never say that I have the Gift of Faith, but I certainly do believe I am better able to pray and act in faith on behalf of others than I am for myself. When I am made aware of a friend's need, no matter how dark, how upsetting, how impossible, I am able to say "But God...!!!" In those moments, His truth fills my heart and rolls off my tongue freely. Though I may be grieved, emotional, even afraid for my friend, I can still be filled with hope and have great expectations of our great God.
But when it comes to me...to my stuff...my response isn't nearly as expectant and faith-filled.
My stuff tends to feel much bigger and more in my face, even overwhelming ... and, did I mention that it's mine? The burden I carry then isn't just an empathetic, emotional one. The threat of real loss and pain looms large, and all of my senses and faculties are trained upon that circumstance or issue or person...oh, and how I can avoid loss and pain. In this state, rather than feeling filled with hope and expectancy, I am often fearful, anxious, even sad.
That is how I felt last night. I'd fought it off all day and distracted myself with work, but once that was gone and all was quiet in my car, the emotion and tears come.
I am so thankful that He regards us in our pitiable estate and has mercy on our sinful and deceitful hearts! No matter what I think or feel or even do, He is faithful to show me that He is near, He is true, He is faithful and that He still speaks to His people today. So, though the evening ended in tears with a side of despair, His mercy was new this morning...
What I believe the Lord showed me is that He is the same God always and that I can have the same expectancy and faith for "my" stuff because, really, my stuff is still someone else's stuff.
My stuff is HIS stuff.
My issues are His deal. He can give me the "distance" I need to pray in faith and rejoice in the hope of what He will do because He is always standing between me and whatever problem or circumstance or issue that comes my way. When I see that, my perspective is right and I can have the same peace, the same hope, the same faith, I have when I pray for my friends because HE is the same God and His promises are equally true, whether I am praying for a friend or praying for me.
So, Big, In My Face, Somewhat Saddening Things...But God! The faithful God who keeps covenant with His own, who promises that He will never leave us or forsake us; who promises to work all things together for good, who promises to withhold no good thing, who promises to do exceedingly, abundantly, beyond all we can even think or ask; and who promises that none of His good promises shall fail , is here! We can't see Him all the time but He says He is upholding us with His righteous right hand and that His everlasting arms are beneath us and promises to make our steps sure. This God who spoke the world into existence and sustains it by the power of His word, is for us! Our stuff is His stuff. So let's rejoice in that and watch the working of His power!