“When Abraham was ninety-nine years old, The Lord appeared to him and said, ‘I am God Almighty; walk before me faithfully and blameless. Then I will make my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.’” Genesis 17:1-2
Faith is difficult to have sometimes, especially when we have no control over the situation. Anxiety creeps in when I am going to a social gathering that is planned by someone else. I think about that day, weeks beforehand and wonder about what bad things could happen. Most times, I get so nervous and then the day comes and goes and I get so mad that I worried for nothing. Sometimes the anxiety comes from anticipating an argument or uncomfortable confrontation at one of these events. This is because it has happened before. No one wants to be blindsided by unhappy people when you are trying to enjoy a social event.
My family and I were invited to a charity walk-a-thon pretty far from home. There were family members that we had not seen in a while that would be there and knew we needed to go. A few days before the event, I started to feel nervous. But at that moment, I was going to step out in faith and choose to put my thoughts elsewhere. Every time I thought about what could go wrong, I prayed and thanked God that He would carry me through it. We honor God by being faithful.
It was a 64 mile drive to get there and there was not one traffic incident. The drive was uneventful. We also found parking close by the event. The bathrooms were clean, no porta potties to deal with at the event! (Can I get a “Hallelujah!”?) The weather was warm, but a nice breeze was always blowing through. There were no unpleasant conversations, everyone seemed happy. I actually enjoyed myself. That has not happened in 10 years. I have dealt with anxious and panic feelings everyday in those years. I felt God gave me a glimpse of what it was like to be relaxed and feel safe in His arms. But I have to submit daily to Him and have faith that He truly is in control. I know I want to always be in control. The good news is, I don’t need to be in control of everything.
Has every social event for me since that walk-a-thon been carefree and peaceful? Of course not! I still have days where going places with people I know and love, make me want to run for the hills because of my discomfort from the anxiety. Faith is a muscle that needs to be exercised daily to become strong. I can’t run a marathon without properly training for it. I can’t do an arm curl with a 25 pound weight, if I can barely lift an 8 pound weight. The most important thing is to not get mad at myself for not having the faith of Abraham when I haven’t practiced being faithful. When I see church members who seem to persevere in any circumstance, I get envious. My usual reaction is “why me?” not “Lord, have your way!”. But many of them started off reacting scared and over the years became more faithful. In Genesis 17:1, Abraham was 99 years old, when God asked him to be faithful and blameless. I hope to be a lot younger than Abraham to be faithful.
Lesson Learned: Faith is a muscle that needs to be exercised daily.
“Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your faithfulness. Forgive me for doubting you. Holy Spirit, help me honor God with my faith. Strengthen my identity in you, Lord. Remind me when you carried me through dark times. Let me find people with testimonies of their faith going through hard times. Protect me and my family during dark times and let us see your glory. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”