Mercy drops

The line between hope and faith can be blurred. Prayers are offered up and poured out and lifted high, and we can be disappointed in God’s silence. We begin to doubt His love, and fundamentally, we doubt that God is who He says He is.

We tend to hope and pray for the things we can see because that is what we know. We hope for physical healing and good news. We can grasp those things, and they seem good to us. We want to see and hold our blessings as a tangible evidence of God.

Marissa’s latest scans were mostly good, but we didn’t see the dramatic results we had hoped for. She has a difficult, risky surgery coming up with so much at stake and no guarantees. I fell and broke my ankle while we were at Duke, and our van quit on a busy highway.

Some days it is harder to find the light.

When prayers are answered in ways that are puzzling, in ways that delay hope and seem powerless to our finite minds, we can falter. Where is the power to heal? Where is the power to overcome evil? Where is the power to rescue?

When we struggle with the emptiness of unanswered prayer, we need to examine the substance of our faith. What are we trusting in? What are we hoping for? Our hope can falter if it rests on people or events or circumstances. Our faith is in God Who is both mysterious and revealed–the victorious Savior, the Almighty God, the all-knowing, all-powerful, always good, never-changing Father.

Faith in God is the real substance of our hope. Faith goes beyond what we can see and fathom and comprehend. It rests in Someone real and known, solid but unseen, whose ways are past finding out. Our faith is bigger than what we can hold in our hands. It is bigger than our hopes. It is more than goodness, more than answered prayer. It is as real as God, as big as God.

He restores our hope in subtle ways. He assures us daily by countless acts of grace. He helps, He carries, He enables. Sometimes we are aware of just a misty shadowing, like a sprinkling of rain that hardly seems to matter but slowly seeps deep in the soil preserving the root and strengthening the plant. We are longing for the cleansing rain, the kind of rain that floods and enlarges the river and carries us away, far away from the storm. We want the trial to end, the answers to come. We long for the heavy showers of blessing–for the miraculous, victorious, visual response to our trouble.

But we can learn to delight in the mercy drops. The drops that cool and freshen and sustain. The hope-restoring drops that make us yearn for God and the fulfillment of His promises. The drops which draw us close to the One who sends them.

Drops of mercy. We see them every day. They assure us of His love.

They remind us that the rain will come.

Let us know; let us press on to know the Lord; his going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth. (Hosea 6:3)

They waited for me as for the rain and opened their mouth as for the spring rain. Job 29:23

May he come down like rain upon the mown grass, like showers that water the earth. Psalm 72:6

When you’re struggling to believe

For all of us who face the giants of unbelief and disbelief and fear.

As I was walking out my door into the dark, still morning, I saw a shooting star. A second of light, a spark of beauty, but enough to speak peace to my heart. My mind was immediately drawn to God–both to His mighty, creative hand and His masterful timing.

It is a gift to believe.

I don’t believe in random events. I don’t believe in coincidence or karma or luck. I believe in God. I believe in His absolute authority over all things.

And I believe in His love.

It’s hard to believe sometimes. We don’t have all the pieces to the puzzle. We have emotions, thoughts, and feelings that don’t seem to line up. Faith doesn’t always make sense. There are things hidden and mysterious, true but not seen.

But this is what I have come to know. If you seek Him, you will find Him. If you knock, the door will open. The Bible is full of assurances of who He is and what He does and how He loves. You will find Him there.

There is a thin line between not believing and not wanting to believe.

The Bible says that no one comes unless the Father calls him, but it also invites us to come. So come. Leave your doubts and worries and fears. Come. Listen to His words. Line up your belief with truth. Speak it to yourself. Counteract every doubt with it.

When your heart is breaking, speak the truth of His everlasting love. When you don’t understand, speak the truth of His goodness. When you are fearful, speak the truth of His sovereignty. When you are broken, speak the truth of His healing power.

Faith is a gift, but it is also a choice. Choose to satisfy the yearning of your soul with God. Cry out to the One who made you and sustains you. Cast your care upon the everlasting arms.

Come to God. Choose God. Love God.

Trust in His saving power and rescuing arms. Trust Him to make things new and to bring peace and to fill the empty place inside of you. Trust Him to love you.

What is your faith struggle? Ask God to help you believe. Search His words as if you were seeking treasure. Come and find rest and faith. Come and be blessed with the overflowing riches of peace. Come and believe.

Just as you are, come.

Cease striving and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10

Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28

I do believe. Help my unbelief! Mark 9:24