Faithfulness-The Vulnerable Fruit of the Spirit
Why are You listening so quietly, Jesus?
Faithfulness is brave. Because faith is taking the first step even when you cannot see the whole staircase. The whole staircase is hidden mostly because of those silences coming from God. Why?!!!!
It is one thing to be faithful when you can see God’s active hand in your life. We all get seasons like that. Seasons. Look at creation. God has set everything up to work on a cycle. When you can see God’s active hand in your life it is memorable. It is summer! You wish for it to never end. But there is this continual movement with God. Everything cycles til that one beautiful day of forever.
Can you feel the vulnerability about to be exposed? Yet again one of these fruits of the Spirit is challenging us to live braver lives. Read all of the challenges of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and gentleness.
It is easy to be faithful in summer. It is hard to be faithful when God is silent. Yet we are still challenged to be faithful—as in this is one of the markers of our growing faith.
But when are brave acts fair? Think of every story of bravery you know. Fairness for the hero was not in the mind of that hero at that moment. Your life sucks right now. It has become particularly hard. A lot of unfairness has happened to you. You’re hurt quite a bit. And where is God? Your fist may be raised at Him. Or maybe you are so tired of His quietness—which feels like neglect of you–that to lift a fist anymore is just too much.
Why are You listening so quietly, Jesus?
Again my definition of faith–Faith is taking the first step even when you cannot see the whole staircase. There is obvious vulnerability in this. Another good faith definition is…faith is seeing light with your heart when all you see is darkness. Or silence.
Some people, especially when the pain is so real, find faith to just be stupid. It would be so much easier to not continue in faith and take control over of your life.
I was talking to a mother recently at my church. Her son is off to college. He is not involved in a church while at college. She’s pretty sure his faith has been put into a lockbox for now.
As common as this story is for you as a reader, as a mother in this situation there is a lot of fear attached to it. Her mind runs rampant at times over “what if” scenarios. It was this fear that led her to vulnerably talk to me. My advice to her, “you have no control in this situation” and “you are the voice in his head already, you don’t need to become the nag.” This is a time she needs to take the first step when she cannot see the whole staircase. She needs to make the brave choice of faithfulness. That first step is to give up the control she thinks she has. Hey moms, we all know how hard this is to do!!!! But we have to.
What about your situation? Wait…what about God’s faithfulness to you?!!!! (There is a “supposed to” in that cry like you and God made a deal. Did that deal really happen?)
God’s faithfulness to you is in every cycle of your life. Whether loud or silent. So if you are suffering according to God’s will, keep on doing what is right, and trust yourself to the God who made you, for he will never fail you. 1 Peter 4:19. You keep track of all of my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in Your bottle. You have recorded each one in Your book. Psalm 56:8. I have a lot of tears recorded and stored. For God to do this promise, He has certainly remained faithful to me to do this collecting.
I’ve never been one to say I have lived a great life of faith. That sounds so clean and strong. I feel more dirty and bruised and alive. When it came to making decisions of facing trials or persevering through pain I chose to wrestle. I guess that could be called faith but it feels less ethereal than that. This was something that was gutty and dirty. It came out of me.
It was me who held Jesus down til I received the blessing. (Genesis 32:36) It was me who couldn’t see past the first step but did more than just hang on until I saw the rest of the staircase. I “let God have it” while the entire time hanging on for dear life because I knew I only wanted the outcome God had ordained. That is the dirty guttiness of faithfulness. Hardly ethereal at all because I am involved. And I am real.
2 Timothy 2:13 says If we are unfaithful, He remains faithful, for he cannot deny who he is. God always remains faithful to us, no matter how silent He is. This fruit of the Spirit, this measurement of my growing faith, is me staying faithful no matter how silent He is. I’m not stupid for staying faithful. I’m brave. Braver than I ever thought I could be. That bravery has taught me this too. Pain—and the silence—does come to an end. I’ve learned I’d rather wrestle and hang on for dear life instead of having regrets from my lack of faithfulness.
This is the bravery of faithfulness.
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