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“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”  Hebrews 11:1

I had a recent battle of faith these past few weeks.  It has been difficult and agonizing.  If I had my way, I would have treated that chapter of my life like how you would remove a band-aid from a wound…quick and painless.  However, like most of us, I wanted to decide based on God’s will for my life and it has really been a roller-coaster ride (to say the least).  Actually, I always prayed that God would increase my faith and I sense that this is just one of His mysteries in dealing with what I ask for.  I am glad that phase is over and I came out of it with a lot of life lessons.

One of the Bible references that really inspired and kept me sane was Hebrews 11.  This chapter is the “honor roll” of the men and women of faith and as a “student of faith”, I realized that it’s necessary to understand them to fully realize what faith meant.

Faith, first and foremost, requires an understanding and acceptance that God holds all things and that our very limited knowledge of God will limit us to see what He sees. Therefore, to live in faith requires full surrender to God.  Faith defies human logic.  But then again, it is really difficult to fully surrender to God.  I know that since it is in our human nature to fulfill our personal interest.

Too often, our idea of faith is centered on the hope that God will provide us what we want or what we desire.  To be honest with you, I have claimed Psalm 37:4 in my prayers too many times: “Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.”

I, personally, don’t think there’s anything wrong with asking God for our wants and needs.  He is God – after all.  Also, I have seen Him work and fulfill my prayers.  However, we often get stuck on this idea that we fail to see how God works.  We often ask God for the reason for unanswered prayers:  Why didn’t He give that job to me?  Why didn’t I get that A+ grade?  Why wasn’t I considered for the promotion?  Why, why, why.  In other words, we actually do not hand over the steering wheel of our lives to God.  We just want Him to warn us of the bumps and traffic along the way and give us the direction of the destination.  When faced with a seemingly nice road and a more convenient short-cut, we get confused or decide for ourselves which road to take.

I feel that the struggles that most of us face are choosing which actions to take and understanding how God works.  It figures.  I mean, if the great men of God like Noah, Moses and Abraham struggled, why shouldn’t we?

Faith requires full-obedience and action. Faith is just words if it is not put into action.  Looking at the men and women of faith, what distinguished them is that they have decided to take action according to God’s Word.  Noah was deemed crazy because building a huge ark in a dry season was absurd.  God’s Word did not make sense to men…I believe even to Noah himself, yet, he obeyed God and built the ark.  Abraham followed God’s instruction to leave his country without knowing where to go.  It challenged the human desire of stability and certainty.  Still, Abraham followed.  And as if that wasn’t enough, Abraham sacrificed his son, Isaac, because God said so.  Abraham obeyed even if God’s demand was seemingly contradictory to His promises.  Even Sarah, his wife, asked for strength to act in faith so that she will get pregnant at 90!

What I have seen in my life and in the lives of others is that, often, God calls for illogical and unimaginable actions so that only Him will be glorified. After all, our lives will only be used by God if it is a testimony of His goodness and mercy.

Oftentimes, we are called to act against what we think is best for us.  We may be asked to give up our dream job, our current luxuries, and sometimes…we are led to pursue an opposite direction.  My recent predicament pushed me to choose between two very different but both good paths.  I prayed hard for weeks and weeks asking God for His guidance.  I viewed it as a choice between a chance to pursue my dream or an opportunity to see what I could be.  As it turns out…it was a choice between a short-term and a long-term dream.  God’s answer was not immediate as I had hoped it would be.  It was not plain and clear.  It eventually ended when I shifted my prayer from claiming that “God will give me the desires of my heart” to surrendering that “Thy will be done”.

It is funny and borderline frustrating to understand how God moves.  But then, how can we develop the faith to make us grow further if we know perfectly how God would act in our lives.  How can we depend on God if we are as omniscient as Him?  The call for faith may require sacrifices and it may seem that God is asking for too much that we can handle but know that the Lord, Who promised and gave His word, is faithful. Who else to best exemplify the act of faith than Jesus?

“Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith; Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”                                                                     Hebrews 12:2

So, whenever you are confused, impatient, frustrated and on the brink on insanity…surrender.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.”                            Isaiah 55:8

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