Our journey with God is marked both with unexpected opportunities, and the reaping of hard labour. There are things we learn from the unexpected moments God brings, and from the longer term visions He gives us to work towards in faith.
“Hello!” I looked up from my meal to see the man greeting me. He was a staff member at the café I had just bought some dinner from. The rest of the café was quiet at this time, and the man decided to strike up a conversation. I replied, and over the next 10 minutes, I discovered a life of struggles, hopes and questions. It was only a short time but before I left, I asked if I could pray for him right there, and the man said yes.
This is just one of the many testimonies built from God's unexpected opportunities to exercise faith. I have more I could share, and I have also been encouraged by the stories others have shared with me. These testimonies remind me that God is always at work, and that He is ready to work through us if we would recognise the opportunities He gives.
1 Peter chapter 3, verse 15 says,
“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defence to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.”
I used to think of this verse only in terms of apologetics; having an answer in words to combat the questions of faith people ask us. However, I have recently found myself looking at this verse with new eyes. I want to be ready to give an answer to everyone who is looking for hope; that my answer to them would be the demonstration of the hope that lives in me. So whether in kind actions, an offer to pray, a word of encouragement, or simply in friendship, I want my life to defend the truth of the gospel and radiate with its hope.
While there is excitement in the testimony of spontaneous faith, there is also a victory to celebrate in persistent faith. Some of the promises God gives us are not fulfilled on the spot. Instead, they hold us accountable through periods of trials and refining, growth and learning, groaning in seemingly unanswered prayer, and with a desperation to see the word of God fulfilled. It is a gruelling journey at times but at the end, when we have persevered, the fruit of the promise for which we persevered has a sweetness unlike anything else.
One of the most incredible miracles we can witness is the miracle of salvation. There are a couple of people I have consistently prayed for to experience this. I have prayed for years, over ten years, sometimes quietly, sometimes with weeping, but all the time with a desire that truly, they would know Christ. For a number of them, I have seen no change at all, or even a stronger turning away from God. However, I will never forget the glory and mercy of God revealed to me in the times when one of these had a family member turn to Christ, and when another asked me to pray for them. All the praying, the spinning between determination and discouragement, the months and years flew away to joy in these moments because I knew God had heard, God had prepared, and God had fulfilled.
Hebrews chapter 3, verses 5-6 say,
"And Moses indeed was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which would be spoken afterward, but Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end."
Persistent faith is not a product of our will, but a surrender of our lives to God's will. It is a willingness to hold fast to hope in God, and a knowledge of the identity we have in Him - that we are of His house.
As I reflect on the times of spontaneity and perseverance in my journey with God so far, I am encouraged to pursue God with more passion. It is clear that He loves me, that He is faithful, and that He is always at work in me, through me and around me. So, let us not give up chasing after Him, but with renewed hearts, determine to run the good race, and fight the good fight to the end.
" I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." - 2 Timothy chapter 4, verse 7
Kristen is a family doctor, and author of the e-book ‘An Internship with Jesus’. She lives with her husband in Adelaide and writes a weekly blog (lostnowfoundk) on life with God. Her second blog, Lily of the Valleys-K, aims to share her love for Jesus through music and art. See Kristen’s other articles at: https://lostnowfoundk.com/an-internship-with-jesus-ebook-christian-today-articles/