If you have ever driven a vehicle at night or in thick fog or pouring rain, you know that headlights will illuminate the road in front of you, making it possible to go forward. Your vision is compromised by the weather, but you can still get an idea of whether it is safe enough to proceed. I drove in to work Saturday morning, and I couldn’t even see the traffic lights until they were right in front of me. I was amazed that a student going to driving school was navigating through the fog in front of me so well, even though he or she was just learning how to drive in inclement weather.
Faith is a lot like those headlights. It gives you and I just enough of view of the path in front of us to help direct our steps another day. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” We have no idea what the whole path ahead looks like, and we won’t know this until we meet our Heavenly Father someday. I’m glad I can’t see the entire path. I think taking life one day at a time is all that you and I can really handle if we are to enjoy and appreciate all that it has to offer. It allows us to appreciate both the small and the large things that take place each day. We aren’t tempted to fast forward, rewind or pause moments in our life because each moment is an opportunity to experience something new and unknown.
Faith can be hard to maintain when our circumstances change in life, but somehow God works on our hearts to help us through each day. Do you struggle with faith? Faith doesn’t have to be grand and mighty. We often think of the “faith chapter” in the Bible, Hebrews 11, with the mighty men–pillars of faith–who serve as an example to people then and even now. God doesn’t say we need great faith. Even “small faith” can accomplish miracles! My favorite faith verse is Matthew 17:20: “Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Isn’t it encouraging that Jesus compares small faith to a teeny, tiny mustard seed?! He says that even small faith has the power to move mountains!
I don’t know what difficult circumstances you find yourself in today, but I hope you are giving them over to God. The Bible says, “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” (Matthew 6:26) “Cast all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7) God knows how difficult some aspects of our lives can be at times, so He asks us not to bear our own burdens. In fact, He wants to take that heavy weight off your shoulders and lighten your load! He has said He will carry those burdens for you. This will enable you to put back that spring in your step, raise your hands up high and praise and worship Him! It will free you to use your hands in God’s service and allow Him to mold you each day more and more into His image.
Take a moment right now and say out loud your top five burdens. If you feel so compelled, write them down on paper. When you have finished, read each one individually out loud and express why it is a burden to you, how it makes you feel and then ask God to cast it away from you. Tell Him you are sick of dragging around this extra baggage and ask Him to replace this cumbersome weight with two free hands a lightened heart that are ready to serve Him. Ask Him to give you faith to let these burdens go and continue on your path of life knowing that He already knows the concerns of your heart and will address them in due time.
I will be so bold as to name my top five right now as an exercise of faith. First, God knows my husband Mark and I desire to start a family. We have been trying to conceive since June without success, but we have peace only He knows the best timing. At times, however, it can be frustrating. I am thankful I have an understanding family that does not pressure me and a God who fills my heart and mind with patience. Second, the financial burden of being a new homeowner. Mark and I are learning how it’s both thrilling and scary. When we hit a financial bump in the road, I sometimes fall to pieces before asking God to lift my burden. Third, the uncertainty that comes with being a military spouse. It is extremely difficult relocating every four years, finding a new job and a new place to call home, being away from family, leaving newly formed friendships behind, and not knowing whether your spouse will have to deploy to a war zone. Fourth, I struggle with success. God’s version and world’s version of success are very different. Society has given us a very warped view of how success is defined. I think it is especially hard for women. Climbing the career ladder is often considered more virtuous by today’s society than raising a family and properly maintaining a Christ-centered household, unfortunately. Being a career-driven individual has forced me into a tug-of-war game between balancing career and family. Finally, I am burdened by my husband’s future plans. I constantly pray he will find direction in his life. In April 2012, we will have to relocate. He will have to decide whether he wants to pursue PMT Tech school or another direction. By then he will have also decided whether to pursue testing for his FMF pin, and we’ll know by then whether he makes chief–one reason he decided to make a career of the military.
Right now, I cast, or throw off, these burdens, and I place them into God’s hands. I hope you will find the time and courage to do the same. Make it one of your goals for 2011 to learn to grow in your faith towards God. He made the universe and He made you uniquely YOU. He knows how many hairs are on your head and the number of your days. He loves you enough send His one and only Son, Jesus, to die on your behalf. He is your Maker, your Kinsman Redeemer, the Prince of Peace, your Wonderful Counselor! Praise God that He is so loving and merciful and kind. Let us rejoice we have a God who cares so much for our well being!