The old weathered barn stands as a pinnacle of a prairie farm’s existence. Repainted, refurbished, and mended over the years, it represents hours of labour and care to keep it functional. At times tragedies have struck – things like storm damage or fire – yet it still stands, built even stronger and still useful.
It reminds me of a quote I read recently. Some passages just dig right into me and turn my thinking upside down. They present me with ideas in a way I have not considered before. One such quote comes from a book I read recently – Lee Strobel’s The Case for Hope. In it, Lee quotes Rufus Jones, a pastor:
“A rebuilt faith is superior to an inherited faith that has never stood the strain of a great testing storm. If you have not clung to a broken piece of your old ship in the dark night of the soul, your faith may not have the sustaining power to carry you through to the end of the journey.”
This intriguing quote provides us with both challenge and hope.
If we want the challenge of going on long hikes, for example, we cannot expect to do that adequately on the first go around. Typically, a person goes on some shorter hikes to build endurance and stamina which will eventually help make the longer trek much more manageable. The practice time in the short term prepares us for the long-term goals.
Our faith lives are no different. They do not get stronger just sitting around and letting whatever happen. Our faith strengthens by each challenge we face, when we face them trusting in our risen Lord and Saviour. It is a rebuilding process that makes us stronger and better than we were before.
Just like runners wear out part way through a long race if they have not trained well, so will we face difficulties if we rely on ourselves to try to face the difficulties of life. We wear out and discourage very quickly if we don’t have the background of going to our Lord with each difficulty, knowing that He provides what is needed to either circumvent it or endure it.
Thankfully we have hope in what this quote conveys to us. We can make it through because we have seen what God has done in ours and others’ lives in the past and know that He will continue to sustain us in the future. No matter what trials we face, we are never alone. God did not just create us to set us adrift in the sea of life. He walks beside us. He supports us in our trials and lifts us up out of the mire of despair.
I have had many a discussion with God centered on the topic of – Why do things have to be so hard? As I slug through circumstances that I would rather avoid, I often do not see the point. Sometimes these storms of life tend to want to pull me out to sea amongst the crashing waves and it feels like I cannot stay afloat.
Persevering through these times, with God at my side, has indeed made my faith stronger. I approach situations differently because I have I know that when I am at the end of my rope, God is there tugging me into safety. When I think there is no possible way to move forward, God opens the doors.
It’s not the way I looked at life in my younger days. Sure, I had an active faith life then – but it certainly was not as deep as it is now. Just as character develops as we mature and face various life situations, faith also grows and strengthens and we learn to draw on God’s sustaining power again and again.
While God might test our mettle, He will not abandon us in any way. Trust Him to walk beside you – our true and ever-present source of hope.