By AYANNA CLARKE
Of late, I have been considering the idea that a topic like “Open Windows” may lead some to believe that life is all good. If not for the reader, then for the writer at least. Amazingly, I have had readers attack this whole “Open Window” ideal while facing obstacles of all kinds. Some have suggested I can barely relate to the real struggles of life. Another person following me challenged me with a list of experiences and dared me to exceed the trauma outlined in her text.
I simply smiled. Understanding full well that when people are hurting a message steeped in trust, positive thinking and faith may not be what they want to hear. Perhaps it would do to outline my own list of failures. Just to show readers, listeners and followers alike that I can relate to hard times, failed attempts and less than successful outcomes. But sharing all my dirty laundry would still never assuage the mindset that is bent on bitterness instead of “betterness” (I know it’s not a word). I have lived long enough to know that neither information nor experience equal empowerment. It’s what you do with information and experience that empowers you.
I guess my goal with this series has been to equip some and remind others that there is hope beyond hindrances. There can be faith even in the face of great failure.
As I think back over my life, particularly the last few years, I would never dare call myself a woman of faith – especially after being acquainted with faithful examples, both biblical and personal, to even attempt to join myself with them.
There have been too many times that I have doubted God, times when I’ve doubted who He is, and what He could do, to EVER be described as a person of faith. Or so I thought. Then I took a closer look, and I realised something really important and powerful, not only about myself but about so many others that I know.
Faith is not the absence of defeat. Faith is continued devotion to God in the face of defeat. Faith is continued belief that He is capable of doing “...exceeding, abundantly above anything we can ask or think...” even after we fall flat on our faces, and in some cases, don’t deserve the reward or blessing that faith brings.
I am always encouraged by Hebrews 11:6 which reads: “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
Yes, this verse encourages me but perhaps not for the reason you think.
It does speak truth in the fact that it is impossible to please God without faith. Even after death in the family, lack and poverty, severed relationships, personal tragedy, et cetera, abiding faith pleases God.
I often asked though, how is that abiding faith recognised?
The question was answered for me in the final portion of the verse. No, not just the fact that God is a rewarder. But that there are those who still seek Him diligently. Perhaps, even after entire worlds are shifted, our seeking is a sign of our abiding faith.
When we pray, we are still seeking. When we worship, we are still seeking.
When we use our time, energy and resources to build up the Kingdom and each other, we are still seeking.
Despite what we go through on a daily basis, the idea that we still try to find God, and try to find His lesson in everything we experience, means we have an abiding faith.
I was bolstered by this encouraging fact, and I hope you are, too.
No, our experiences are not the same. Yes, some of us suffer tragedy that in many cases is beyond human comprehension. But if, in spite of our challenges, we are still able to find time to speak to God, read His word, pray and meditate, it means that we still have belief.
According to Hebrews, where there is belief, there is faith; and where there is faith, there will be reward.
God bless you this week!