Every morning I wake up to fight the fear that God isn’t interested in speaking to me. More often than I’d like, I fall into the deceptive trap of believing he has nothing directly for me. Because of that, I am usually too afraid to be still before him, fearing if I do, I will be left alone and empty.
And so I dive into books and devotionals.
But too often we look to other people’s experiences to create our journey with God, when the only way we can truly be transformed is through our own relationship with him. I often read stories of faith heroes in hopes of becoming one myself, but it’s easy miss the point that it was their feisty faith in God, their firm grip on his word, and their hours spent quiet in his presence that fueled and changed them.
When Luke and I were in Colorado three years ago, looking for jobs and a place to live, we visited Eric Ludy at Ellerslie in Windsor. While chatting with him after service, Luke’s mom came up in conversation. What Eric said about her has been stuck in my mind ever since, “Ah, Susie Larson. Great woman. Feisty for the Gospel.” I found myself thinking how that is what I want to be known for – being feisty for the Gospel, and feisty in faith.
People like Susie Larson and Eric Ludy know God, and they refuse to let circumstance or life events change who he is in their mind. They have seen the goodness of God, and they hold firm to him. His promises are their bread of life. The enemy may try to trample them, but their faith will not be shaken.
A Firm Grip on his Word
One way I believe faith heroes are able to stand firm on the character of God, through trial or pain, is because they have read his word and discovered who he is. Through reading the pages of these ancient writings, they have learned the character of God.
I’ve taken it upon myself to read and discover who God is. I’ve been camped mainly in the Psalms and Isaiah, and whenever I read a sentence that describes him, I underline it.
“But the Lord watches over those who fear him, those who rely on his unfailing love. He rescues them from death, and keeps them alive in times of famine”
“Oh Jacob, how can you say the Lord does not see your troubles? O Israel, how can you say God ignores your rights? Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding.”
Isaiah 40: 27-28
“I am the Lord,” he says, “and there is no other. I publicly proclaim bold promises. I do not whisper obscurities in some dark corner. I would not have told the people of Israel to seek me if I could not be found”.
Isaiah 45: 18-19
Through this practice, I am learning first-hand what my creator is like. The entire Bible is an explanation of who God is, and a story of how much he cares for us. I am amazed over and over again at the second, third, and fourth chances he gives us, and how simple his love really is. And let me tell you this – I love him. I may not be able to explain to myself or others everything he does, but I know to the core that he is good.
Hours Spent Quiet in His Presence
The third trait of a faith hero is so simple: being quiet in God’s presence. To me this doesn’t necessarily mean complete silence, but it’s having a quiet conversation with God where no music is playing, no laptop is open, and nothing is being read. It’s allowing space between sentences to listen. Just you and him. Laying yourself bare before the God who loves you, and letting a sacred communion take place. How can we ever expect to have an intimate relationship with him if we never do this? If our relationship is based solely off what we read in books and hear on the radio, we will grow in knowledge, but not in relationship.
I’m not trying to tell you to stop reading or listening to the stories of others – I am constantly listening to podcasts and reading books. But what I am suggesting is to take those lessons to heart, and break out on your own to forge a relationship with God. Dig into his word, pray, learn who he is, and stand firm. Our heroes are an inspiration to us not because of a degree they hold or a talent they have, but because they know who God is, and who they are in him.
The godly people in the land are my true heroes!
I take pleasure in them!