I came across this line in my bible study recently, “…God wants us to know Him intimately through personal experience. He does not want us to settle for secondhand faith.” Secondhand faith? The term got my attention – and it made me stop and think about what it means to have faith in God.
There’s a verse in the bible that says, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” – Hebrews 11:6
How does that happen? How do we “get” faith? These questions took me back to a pretty difficult time in my life. I am the step-mom to 3 amazing young men – all grown and out of the house now. Several years ago we were the “summer parents” while the boys spent the school year with their mom in another state. Over the course of one summer, their mom agreed that they could remain here for the school year. We were so excited… we started the process of transferring school records, finding which schools they’d go to, figuring out all the little school year details, and planning our lives around this pretty significant change.
Just a few days before the boys were scheduled to start school, their mom changed her mind… and because we hadn’t been able to get the legal custody changed quickly enough, we had to send the boys back to their mom for the school year.
I can’t even describe the emotions I felt. Anger, despair, confusion, crushed hopes, broken heart… And it was at that time, in the midst of all those feelings that I had a long, heart-to-heart talk with God. This was no nice, polite prayer – it was about the most real conversation you might imagine… I laid out my heart before God – all of it! And then I stepped out in faith and asked God to be sufficient in my need, to help me stand firm and do the right thing out of love and reverence for Him, not based on my feelings.
To me, what I was really asking was, “God, if you’re who you say you are, I need you to show me right now.” And one moment, then one hour, then one day at a time, God gave me the strength to move forward. Many years later, I am blessed by the relationship I have with each of our boys – a clear demonstration of God’s ability to meet my needs in difficulty.
This is just one of many times God has proven sufficient in my life. He has never failed to come through for me. Never. And to me, that’s what faith means. I believe because I know and have experienced God in my life first-hand!
If you’re at a place where you’re struggling with something…whatever it may be, God is sufficient for your need, too. If you believe me when I say that, that’s secondhand faith. But don’t settle for that – step out in faith, believe God and get some firsthand experience yourself.