Inside: Faith growth doesn’t happen by itself. We can’t make it grow without God’s help. Are you relying on yourself or growing in faith with God?
I laced up my tennis shoes, grabbed my maroon windbreaker and water bottle. Butterflies were doing flips in my stomach, and my excitement gave me a bounce in my step. Today was going to be an adventure.
I had just arrived at Banff National Park in Canada, and I was going to see my first ice glacier. The beginning of the hike was easy, so I got cocky and thought this is going to be a piece of cake. I had faith I’d be able to accomplish this feat in record time.
An hour into my hike, amidst the alpines and breath-taking views of the ice blue Lake Louise, my pace slowed down. The incline had increased, and so had my heart beat. I had thought this hike would be a straight shot to the endpoint, in reality, it was switchbacks and detours. It appeared I would never make it; I was frustrated and fatigued.
It was three steps ahead and two steps back. The middle of this hike was difficult; I didn’t think I could make it to my destination. I wanted to be farther ahead in this journey than I was.
Growing in Faith Isn’t Only about You
Have you ever felt like that about faith?
You’ve been a Christian for a long time, and you consider your faith to be something substantial. Then a problem happens, and when push comes to shove, you question that faith. Shouldn’t my faith have more meat than it does?
Just like a hike, we think faith should be linear. If I start at Point A then I should reach Point B. The beginning, and the end are easy, it’s in the middle where it’s hard, and we hit detours.
It’s in the middle where we take a break, question our ability and try to regain strength. While that’s fine for a mountain hike, our faith journey doesn’t rely only on us.If we think growing faith is all in our effort, we won’t experience transformation.Click To Tweet
Stalled faith happens when we have obstacles in our walk such as:
- Unforgiveness- we confess and ask for forgiveness, but still feel the shame.
- Our battle feels too hard.
- The belief that it won’t ever get better.
- We compare our faith to others’ faith.
Faith is Hardest in the Middle
In the middle of my ice glacier hike, my legs started to feel like jelly. I thought I’d collapse and fall to my knees. As I looked around, the scenery which had been breathtaking now seemed intimidating. I was out of my element.
As a result, I did not prepare thoroughly for the hike, because feelings of boldness in my ability turned to weakness, weariness, and frustration. A sea of doubt left my perseverance sinking rapidly.
Jesus Meets Peter in the Middle
(Matthew 14:25-31, NLT).
About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. In their fear, they cried out, “It’s a ghost!”
27 But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here!”
28 Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.”
29 “Yes, come,” Jesus said.
So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted.
31 Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?”
In this Bible story, Peter was a lot like me on this hike. He started out bold in faith, but doubt consumed him in the middle. Jesus reached out and helped him get back to the boat.
The challenge of faith is in the middle. The three steps forward, two steps back are the place where growth happens. In these hard times where knees drop to the floor is where we lose ourselves and become more like God.
How can we work with God growing in faith?
- Read the Bible (Romans 10:17).
- Ask God to increase our faith (Luke 17:5).
- Join with God in daily prayer.
- Do what God says (John 14:23, James 2:14).
(To find out other ways to grow in faith.)
You’re wondering if I saw the glacier, aren’t you? The middle was tough, however, when I prayed for strength, I was able to get to the end of my journey.
The struggle made me realize my effort isn’t enough; I need to rely on Someone else. This setback of having to rest and regroup is where I found strength and growth.
So it is with our faith, in the middle where problems are unrelenting, and struggle is hard, is where we find the most growth. The detours are God’s gift to us for greater dependence and reliance on Him. The destination is going to be so worth it.
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