Faith is a funny thing. Like a garden, faith is something that grows. The seeds must be planted at the right time, in the right place, and be fed the right about of sunlight and rain to grow. There will be hard seasons. There will budding and blooming plants. Some plants will wilt into the soil and become the bed of something new.
I used to envision faith as more of a transplant. Jesus came into your life, took out your old heart and gave you a new one. Sometimes I still expect God to fix everything in my life, on the schedule I want, at that exact moment. As someone who struggles with anxiety, I’m so often asking Jesus for peace and to dispel the fear in my heart.
There have been moments where He has. Car rides where I focus deeply on scripture to keep from having a panic attack. Moments his spirit falls on me and my entire body’s tension melts. Nights I have meditated on His love and truly unwound from despair. But anxiety is a huge struggle for me in life. A mountain of trust I can’t seem to stop circling.
Reading the Bible, it is clear that Jesus performed miracles for people who had faith in Him. A sick and ostracized woman reached out to touch him, and He healed her, saying “your faith has healed you.” By faith, Peter was able to walk on water out to Jesus up until he doubted, and sank. In John, Jesus asks a paralyzed man, “Do you want to be healed?” before healing him.
Jesus often asks questions instead of giving answers. In this scripture, his question “Do you want to be healed?” gets at our unwillingness to accept truth. Obviously the man wanted to be healed. As much as I have prayed that he heal me from anxiety, this scripture prompts me to analyze why I can’t seem to trust God. There are so many scriptures promising that God is our refuge, our stronghold, the one who leads us to rest. And yet, there is still doubt living inside of me. Doubt creeps into my life like a parasite and steals joy from moments that should be enjoyed in abundance. Faith, on the other hand, has always beared fruit in my life.
I have seen miracles come from my own faith. Early in my faith my parents lived in England and I prayed about being closer with them. Now I live with them and we are all enjoying it, something I wouldn’t have thought would have happened in the past. God deconstructed my pride and softened my heart, healing my relationship with my parents.When I met God a couple years ago I was feeling very alone, and I prayed for community. In the next year, I lived in a cabin in the woods full of preteen girls for 3 months, was part of a 12 person co-op house, and made lifelong friends at my college ministry. God healed my loneliness and gave me joy again by blessing me with community, and in turn, his love. I believe He performs miracles when we have faith.
Deuteronomy 30:19 says”This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.”Choosing life is choosing to have faith. Choosing to think “I will learn how to trust,” instead of “I will never have peace.” Watering my garden with grace instead of giving up to weeds. Realizing that God is most pleased in us when we believe how redemptive and transformative He can be to us.
“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”2 Peter 3:9