Faith

Now faith is the confidence in what we hope for and the assurance about what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1

Recently we had family movie night, and the boys watched Star Wars Episode IV, A New Hope, for the first time. They were very excited because, although they knew the story line from their books and video games, we had held off on allowing the movie because our youngest is only four. If you are familiar with Star Wars, you know that even though A New Hope is episode IV, it was really the first one made, in 1977. The prequels, episodes I-III, were made much later. I am not really big on those, with the computerized special effects and all. But I love the original Star Wars trilogy, especially the somewhat corny dialogue.

However, when we were watching it together recently, one specific line caught my attention, spoken by Darth Vader, the villain on the wrong side of “the force.” One of Darth Vader’s men says something contradictory, so Vader puts him in the “choke-hold-using-the-force” and says “I FIND YOUR LACK OF FAITH DISTURBING.” Whoa!

Now, clearly, Vader took a wrong turn and placed his faith in something very, well, DARK. And most of us know that, eventually, it doesn’t end well for him. Even though it’s fictional. this movie dialogue brought to mind something I think of often. How DO people who LACK FAITH get through difficult times? What do they hope in? Who do they pray to? These thoughts alone are incredibly sad.

My faith is firmly placed in Jesus Christ – the author and finisher of faith itself! I can’t imagine attempting to muddle through chronic illness, disease, loss, or any kind of emotional or physical pain without faith in the One who is able to do exceedingly more that we can ask, hope and imagine (Ephesians 3:20).

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 11:2

However, at this time in my life, I believe that my faith is being pushed and tested. My legs are getting weaker. I am having more frequent moments of temporary paralysis. The pain seems to grow more severe each week.

I can’t help but think of one of the conversations recorded between Jesus and his disciple, Peter. Jesus told Peter that he would be “sifted like wheat” (Luke 22:31) or, in other words, that his faith would be tested. But Jesus also told Peter that he would pray for him during this time of testing! This was before Jesus went to the cross and this is the same Peter that would deny knowing Jesus three times. My point is, we have a God that allows our faith to be tested, yes, but is praying for us, interceding for us, throughout the process. He is willing to do so even though we turn away and deny him at times. Amazing love! 

Yes, sometimes the fear starts to creep in and I turn to God through prayer and scripture, protecting myself from a spiraling down effect. Having faith doesn’t mean we will never experience fear, but rather knowing, in faith, that God is with us when we are afraid. It also means that seeking God and understanding that He cares for us is something far greater than our fears.  Psalm 56:3-4

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?

Somehow I ended up with Darth Vader, Peter and Jesus in the same article. Now that’s a movie I’d like to see! Just for fun, I added a YouTube video of Vader’s intriguing, however misguided, “faith quote,” and a great song of encouragement – enjoy!

And without faith, it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”  Hebrews 11:6

Journey with me.

 Darth Vader

One Thing Remains

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