Keeping the Faith
by Carrie Dedrick, Editor, Crosswalk.com
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
To the left of my computer, there sits a purple heart-shaped rock inscripted with one simple word: Faith.
This rock is nothing out of the ordinary. My husband bought it for me from Ten Thousand Villages as a birthday gift. I believe it is intended to be a paper weight, though no paper lies beneath it. It is just a rock that takes up about two square inches of space on my desk at work.
Just a few months ago, I didn’t have much of the Faith that my rock reminds me of. I was searching for a job, as many Americans are, and had given up that any worthwhile company wanted to hire a young adult with a lot of passion but little experience. I had sent applications complete with thoughtful cover letters and organized resumes to about 60 organizations, without a bite.
I had never faced rejection before; success had always come naturally to me and the change was hard.
Though I was still attending church, I hadn’t realize my lifelong faith had gotten lost somewhere along the way.
Looking back, it does not seem strange that I didn’t notice my faith was missing from my life until after the fact. It was like losing an old favorite t-shirt. I hadn’t worn it in awhile and assumed it had made its way deep into the bottom of the laundry basket; when I finally went to look, it wasn’t there.
During this time, I should have reached out to God for peace and solace. Instead, I buried my feelings of incompetence and my fear of failure until they overcame my mind and I broke down in sobs that could last for hours or I uncharacteristically lashed out at my husband.
It wasn’t me and I knew it. There was a turning point around this time when I knew it was time to “get help,” as they say. I discovered a local Christian counseling organization and I attended a few sessions with a counselor.
During one session, my counselor looked into my eyes with sadness in her own. “Carrie,” she said, “Do you know how much God loves you?”
Such a straightforward, and yet incredibly deep question startled me.
Suddenly, I understood what I was missing. It was that moment when I looked for my lost t-shirt and realized it was really gone.
I thought I knew God loved me, but I didn’t really know. I mean, I have been going to church since I was a baby. You learn that God made you and loves you when you are a little kid. I’m pretty sure John 3:16 was my first ever Sunday school memory verse.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
I’ve had that verse memorized for years, but when was the last time I truly thought about it?
God has such unconditional love for us that it is truly beyond our human comprehension. Do I now feel like I should have reached out to God when I was struggling? Yes. And for awhile, was I angry at myself for not seeing that God was right there with me the whole time? Definitely.
But God’s love is so infinite that I should not feel like a failure as God’s child because it took me awhile to see him there. I do not need to punish myself because Jesus already served as our ultimate sacrifice. Now no matter how many sins we commit in this life, God is always loving us, waiting for us to step back and realize that he never really left.
In time, I regained my faith. It was not painful or difficult to resume the relationship with my Lord that I had put on pause. Instead, it was like wrapping myself in the most warm, comfortable blanket imaginable, but I also had an overwhelming sensation of pure joy.
My whole world is changed.
Every once in awhile, I look to the left and see my purple rock. And when I do, I am reminded that every day, every hour, minute and second of my life, I am not alone. God is with me. Always. Forever. Amen.
Intersecting Faith and Life: When have you been so distracted by your life that you have forgotten that God gave you the gift of life? What can you do to renew your faith?