Stand on Faith and Trust
by pamela spurling
This time of year has sometimes been a difficult time for me... amazingly, it is never because this specific time is difficult, but it is at this time of year that I begin to look to the fall and winter ahead of us and sometimes I begin anticipating, read: fearing, the fall and winter days ahead. Maybe it is this way for you, too. The fear of the unknown. The anticipation of a hard winter... My husband has been in the same business for the last 16 years... it is predictably unpredictable. It's been the perfect business to train us to rely on the LORD for His provision and His safe keeping. It's also been the perfect breeding ground for fear. I notice that in every woman's life there is an area that is the "fear breeding ground." Though some women seem to experience less difficulty and therefore appear to not experience fear, I am going to guess that none of us would exchange places with another woman if we knew all the facts or if we lifted her bag to feel the true weight of its contents.
There is no faith in fear and there is no fear in faith.
That statement stings a little because we never want to be accused of not having faith... but it's true, nonetheless, there is no faith in fear and there is no fear in faith. I have had to learn to apply what I know to be true... it didn't just come naturally to me to rest and be still... I tend to fret. But then I must sit at the Feet of the LORD and be still in His presence and seek His Face. I then have learned to rehearse His "doings" and to rest in His promises. I also have learned to look for His signature in things... by this I mean I look for ways He is working now and recall ways He has worked in the past and I see His Hand. I have listed in my Bible many many things that He alone has done over the years and I pray for trust. I pray for the faith to do the next right thing. I am just now reminded about a statement made by the speaker at our recent family camp meetings. He said "When others thought Goliath was too big to hit, David thought he was too big to miss!" Interesting perspective. And so I have begun to think on this... considering the fall and winter ahead... I may be thinking that the troubles are too great to cover... and yet if I turn around and look to the LORD and see them from His vantage point, they are too great to miss! It's all in my perspective, isn't it?! God never changes. His vantage point is always the same. Perfect. It is only when I turn around and look away from Him that I begin to fear and doubt. It is then that I forget: there is no faith in fear and there is no fear in faith. Another little quote stays in my thoughts... faith and fear cannot coexist. It is impossible.
I shared with you last week that while we were at our family reunion, for the morning devotional on our last day there, mom played a tape of the last sermon that Wes's dad preached before his death. I'd like to share with you some of what he said, and some of the thoughts that came to me while listening to that sermon. He was such a gifted speaker...he had walked with the LORD all of his life from a very young age. Many years ago, when I first began to listen to him preach on Sunday mornings, I would often think that he was too heady, too cerebral, too deep for me... and I smile through tears now and say, yep, he sure was. I pray I might grow to understand more and more some of the things he understood so well. Hearing his message made me miss him more and it surely inspired me to press on sharing messages with you... with women who need the encouragement that only the LORD can give... to be in the Word that gives life... to wait on the LORD.
So, how did his message tie in with the message on fear that I am writing to you today? Dad titled that message: "What happens when life doesn't turn out like you had expected?" You might think this title would most aptly fit a message on disappointment, but it's a great message on fear... fearing the unknown and being powerless to control outcomes to situations. He used Exodus 14.5-14 for his text. Part way into the message, he said we try to make decisions based on what we see, on what we have at hand. Now, this works well if we are preparing a recipe or sewing a garment... but this doesn't work well if we are in the midst of a testing of our faith, because faith is not based on what we can see, but on what we cannot see! He went on to say that we must continually be in a learning mode, open to saying, "Lord, continue to teach me new things." That we must "turn our hard times into profitable times... not *easy* times, profitable times!" Dad went on to talk about some principles that have helped him and have helped others with whom he has counseled over the years... a couple of these principles are ones I have heard him mention many times and they are, one: hold steady, and two: don't panic. He said that when we panic, we throw away good sense. Additionally, he said that when we panic we engage in the "lock in - lock out principle." Locking into our problems and locking out possibilities. Mainly what we do here is to lock out any possibility that God has many more resources than we could ever imagine and that He is intimately concerned with every thing that concerns us.
So, I have gone back and looked at the text to which Dad referred. And the interesting thing is that the children of Israel were only looking at what they saw... what they could figure out. They didn't stop and wait... instead they feared, and then they complained. We're a lot like them, aren't we?! We fear... then we complain...and we doubt And to me, that's the key to it all... doubting. We mustn't doubt what God has said. But we doubt... It's the crafty technique satan used in the garden and he is still using it today... doubt. Doubting... "...Yea, hath God said...?" He needn't have us completely given over to him... he just seeks to cause us to doubt, to wonder if we really did hear God, to relax our gaze on the Master. This exhortation to be still, we need this so much... to stand still, to fear not. We fret... we look around... we panic. So often when we do this, we miss the blessings the LORD wants to demonstrate to us *along the way.* We look for the problems to be solved and we
neglect the most important step... and that step is the one we take in our mind. We have talked many times about the battle that goes on in our minds and that's where the battles are won or lost: In the mind.
Turn Your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.
Back to that Bible passage, Moses had instructed the children of Israel to stand still. We read this in verse 13. We can trust God for the same instruction given to us in the New Testament as well. In fact, if you are looking for a little personal study, make a note of all the stand still verses you can find and read them... it's a wonderful study. So, this is a passage and verse that I have used many times when facing difficulties...it seemingly applies to any situation... and that is to stand still and see... And the key to doing this is to know the truth that is found in the very next verse: (14) "The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace." But what were they thinking... what did they see? They saw the Red Sea. I imagine this quite often...as we live by a river, and when I stand at that river side, especially when I have "monitored it" when a flood is threatening, I have no idea how I would cross that river on foot... let alone were I to be hotly pursued by men and chariots and horses! But the Word tells us that they were instructed, "Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will show to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever." Sometimes I look a problem or a trial in the face and hear the LORD saying to me... that problem you have faced today you will face it again no more for ever! So I stand. I stand in Awe of Him.
So then, I see why dad preached the message he did that day... he closed by saying that we must hold steady and to what we know to be true. This has a ripple effect...
Do you have a deep sea before you and an army of troubles behind you?
O, sister in the LORD... I pray this day that you would not fear... that you would stand still and see... that you would not fear... that you would not look at what you can see, or fear what you cannot see, but instead, that you would trust in the LORD of Hosts and wait. Wait on the LORD.
pamela spurling ~ The Welcome Home ~ 2000