Relationship with God

Do you ever have those moments where everything around you is crazy and you’re stressed and it’s just a wreck–yet when you ask God what to do, he tells you to do something so simple, it just doesn’t make sense?

A couple weeks ago, I talked briefly on ‘object lessons’ from God. Those times that God uses a situation, or action, to teach a deeper lesson. Sometimes we’re aware we’re in an object lesson and other times, the revelation hits only after the lesson has been taught.

A Lesson in Faith

God gave me a cool object lesson about faith a while back.

This was way back in 2021. Covid still had most places shut down where I lived. On top of that, many stressful things had happened, including but not limited to, my dad almost dying due to a ruptured appendix, my mom was hospitalized, my grandma was diagnosed with dementia, and my big sister moved out of our home. Life was hectic and stressful. My word for the year was ‘purpose‘, and after the year I’d just had, I was extremely unsure of what or where God was taking me.

I’d been reading through the book of Hebrews every night. Some people have their time with God in the morning. For me? Night worked best for that season. I could go into my room, be by myself, turn on my golden-hued fairy lights and rest in the Word.

“Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.”

Hebrews 11:1 NLT

That night, I was reading Hebrews 11.

God told me through a quiet desire I felt in my heart to begin to highlight every time Hebrews chapter 11 said the words ‘by faith’. I thought, well, sure, that sounds like a good exercise to do. So, I began reading, my yellow highlighter ready, and came to the first example in verse 3.

I highlighted the word and stopped. When I highlighted the page, I couldn’t see what I’d done—in fact, the page looked like I hadn’t touched it at all. At first, I thought my highlighter just wasn’t working. I did it again, and again—then I drew on myself. The marker felt wet, like it was working, but I still couldn’t see anything. I realized, then, that the reason I couldn’t see was because of the light I was using to read by. My fairy-lights were the only light in the room, and ironically, the exact same shade as the highlighter I was using.

I went to grab my phone light so I could see when I highlighted something, when I felt God still my hand.

“Keep going” I heard God whisper, so I did. Every time I came across the words ‘by faith’, I highlighted it and, whether I could tell it worked or not, I kept going.

I came to the end of the chapter, clicked the lid on my highlighter and pulled up my phone light. Instantly, the page lit up with a bright white light that revealed the highlighter had worked. Every instance of ‘by faith’ was highlighted.

(I encourage you to pull up Hebrews 11 NLT now to see what I mean).

Immediately two things became apparent to me.

1. Faith is the choice to believe and following through with your actions.

I’m sure it’s obvious as I retell the story exactly what God was doing and why. It sure wasn’t obvious to me until I could look back and see the marks on the page. But that’s what hindsight gives us—the ability to look back on a situation and invite a feeling of stupidity or to scoff at ‘how stupid we were’.

The exercise God had me do with this chapter is foundational. Every action we make, when we do so with the confident hope and assurance that it’s something God has called us to do—even if it makes absolutely no sense—is faith.

2. It’s okay if your emotions don’t immediately follow.

It’s called faith, not ‘feeling secure’. What I love about our God, and especially about Jesus, is that no matter what it is he’s asking us to do, it’s all about a choice. He never asks us to feel a specific way, he asks us to do specific things. I think we often get this confused. We feel like we can’t forgive because we’re still angry or hurt, but forgiveness is a choice. We may feel doubt in our minds about what God has said or done or told us to do, but it’s still a choice to be obedient.

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen. If I relied on feeling confident before I did confident things, I’d never have applied to the apprenticeship I’m currently in. I’d never have moved across the country to Ohio.

Emotions make this easier, don’t get me wrong. And sometimes our emotions can reveal where we’re deceiving ourselves and holding grudges or not trusting God where we should. But I think it’s important to remember that God is not asking us to feel a specific way, he’s asking us to have faith.

Faith is a choice. Eventually, the emotions will follow.

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