2 Corinthians 5:7 says that we walk by faith, not by sight. That verse comes into my mind quite a bit, and has throughout my life. I see the truth of it, and the practicality of it so often.
The most life-changing lesson I learned about faith was when I was raising my daughter, Amber by myself for a few years due to some difficulties that I have discussed before. I had felt God urge me to stay in the place I was, though I had no family around me, because, I felt him say, he wanted to teach me to trust him instead of relying on everyone else. I will never regret the decision to do just that. I grew so much through that difficult time.
I had a wonderful church, I had fantastic friends, so that helped. I even had a therapist. I needed it. My life had taken a lot of jolts and I needed someone who could help me put the pieces back together.
But, even as I grew and had many happy moments, times often got hard, difficult and dark. Amber had a lot of needs. She had to have hip surgery a few times, complete with body casts for months, or braces, etc. She needed a feeding pump, wheelchairs, therapy, etc. And, she got sick a lot. When she was sick, I had to be with her 24/7 for the most part. I didn’t want her to choke on vomit. It was agonizing at times, with no sleep, no food, just darkness all around me. That’s how it felt. I also couldn’t work during those times, and that meant no pay.
One night, after a rough few days of tending my sick baby, exhausted and in despair and rage I threw something at God (the ceiling) and screamed, “Why don’t you help me?” I felt him tell me this, “faith is for the hard times, the dark times. If you only have faith when things are good, it’s not really faith. Just sing praises when you feel so low, as an act of faith.” I began to do that and really, it was something God honored. Not long after, Amber and I would be reunited with my husband, and life got so much more amazing.
But, now that Amber has gone, I’ve had to learn more. I learned that for me, sight is emotion. When it says we walk by faith, not by sight, for me that means I remember and count on what I know to be true about God instead of giving in to my emotion. Just because I feel a certain way doesn’t mean I have to act on that feeling. If I’m angry at someone, as much as I want to curse them, I pray for them instead because I know that Jesus told us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. So, if I obey that, I walk by faith. Now, I don’t always do this flawlessly. But, I know how I should live and the way to live faithfully is to do what is right, even when I don’t feel like it.
But, it’s more. Amber’s death was a huge blow. What I wanted more than anything after her passing was just to die too. I wanted to be with her. I could not imagine living life without her with me in body. I saw no goodness left in life. But, I’m still here. And, I have seen that life is still good. By faith, I pressed on and held on to God, sometimes by the very skin of my teeth, with darkness once again threatening to swallow me up. One Psalm was my lifeline at the time.
Psalm 4 —
1 Answer me when I call, O God of my right!
You gave me room when I was in distress.
Be gracious to me, and hear my prayer.
2 How long, you people, shall my honor suffer shame?
How long will you love vain words, and seek after lies?Selah
3 But know that the Lord has set apart the faithful for himself;
the Lord hears when I call to him.
4 When you are disturbed,[a] do not sin;
ponder it on your beds, and be silent.Selah
5 Offer right sacrifices,
and put your trust in the Lord.
6 There are many who say, “O that we might see some good!
Let the light of your face shine on us, O Lord!”
7 You have put gladness in my heart
more than when their grain and wine abound.
8 I will both lie down and sleep in peace;
for you alone, O Lord, make me lie down in safety.
It isn’t wrong to feel things. Anger, sorrow, hunger, longing, etc., are all legitimate emotions and passions. They are gifts even. But, like anything good, if not used rightly, they can consume. Faith helps me rise above and not be a slave to my feelings. So, by faith, though I often feel afraid, I will remember that God is with me, watching over me, and He loves me. I don’t have to give in to fear and stop living. And, even though I feel anger quite a bit, I don’t have to hate or turn bitter. I can forgive, and forgive, and forgive, because releasing the anger and hurt frees me from the prison of bitterness. Walking by faith makes me more like Jesus. And, in my mind, that is the best I can strive for.