Stubborn Faith

It’s amazing how you can look back at your life and see how God prepares you for things that he knows you’ll be going through in the future. Shortly after we lost our Sam, God brought back an offering message that I had given months before, not realizing how much the very point of that message would be tested in my life. I titled the offering message “Stubborn Faith” and told the story of the hymn, It Is Well.

Horatio G. Spafford was a successful lawyer in the late 1800’s. In November 1873, his family was planning a trip to sail from the US to Europe. At the last minute, Mr. Spafford had to stay in the US to solve some problem that arose in his business. So his wife and four daughters boarded the ship without him and began to sail to Europe. The plan was for him to sail a few days later and join them then.

On their way to Europe, the ship that carried Mrs. Spafford and her four daughters hit another ship. The four daughters didn’t make it. Once Mrs. Spafford reached Europe, she sent a telegram to Horatio with the opening statement of “Saved alone..”.

Immediately Horatio boarded a ship to come join his wife. As they were sailing, the captain sent for Horatio and told him they were about to sail over the spot where his daughters died. I can just imagine him going to the rail of the ship, looking out over the waters that held his four daughters. Having lost a child myself, I know what was going through his mind. The grief. The pain. The pit of despair.

But you see, I believe Horatio knew something that I’ve come to know. That even if things don’t go as planned or the way we want, God is still good.

So as he was looking out onto the waters where his daughters died, these words came to him:

When peace like a river attendeth my way
When sorrows like sea billows roll
Whatever my lot, thou has taught me to say
It is well, it is well with my soul

The faith that it took to look over the waters where his daughters died and still say “It is well with my soul” is what I call stubborn faith. A faith that looks directly at the circumstances in your life and says I know it hurts so much and this is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to walk through, but “It is well with my soul.”

A faith that can look at the sickness that is overtaking your life and say “It is well with my soul.”

A faith that can look at that bill that is months past due and say “It is well with my soul.”

A faith that can get up after a relationship has ended and say “It is well with my soul.”

A faith that can look at the casket that is holding your 4-year-old son and say “It is well with my soul.”

Because a stubborn faith knows not to look just at the circumstances surrounding you, but to also look at the One who surrounds those circumstances. The One who loves you more than anyone on earth will ever love you. The One who gave us everything so that we could spend forever with him.

A stubborn faith refuses to give up. Refuses to give in. And even though it might not make sense to everyone around you, a stubborn faith doesn’t care. Because a stubborn faith knows that when things are bad and darkness is all around you, that is not the end. God’s story doesn’t end in darkness.

God’s Reckless Love

There’s a song that I’ve been playing on repeat for the last few weeks. It’s called “Reckless Love” by Cory Asbury with Bethel. I feel like with everything in my life that’s been going on it really speaks of the love that has carried me through this storm.

It talks of God’s love for us. You know, a lot of times when we think of God’s love it’s thought of in almost a meek, sweet way. But this song puts God’s love in a new light.

A love that fights for us.

A love that’s reckless.

A love that chases us and doesn’t give up.

That’s the love that God has for us. A love that we didn’t and couldn’t earn. A love that will go to the depths and pull you out.

I’ve experienced this love first hand the past month. There have been times that I felt myself drowning in my grief. Times that I felt like I was losing control. In those times the only thing I had to say was “Jesus, I need you. Take it from me.” And in his faithfulness and because of his great love, he took my grief and gave me peace.

A lot of times we forget that God is a warrior. He fights for us.

He would leave the 99 sheep to come after the one that is lost. (Matthew 18:12-14)

He would run to meet the son that had left and is returning. (Luke 15:11-32)

Whatever your situation, wherever you are in your life, God is fighting for you. There’s no where we can go that his presence isn’t there. His love will reach you wherever you are.

I love how in the song he talked about his love overwhelming us. When I hear the word overwhelm, it brings up thoughts of being overwhelmed with life, with stress, with bills. But the love of God is stronger than all that. And it covers over all the things in life that are overwhelming us. It overwhelms that which overwhelms us.

It’s never-ending. No matter the problem. No matter the grief. No matter the loss. His love is there.

And the good news. We can’t earn it. There’s nothing we can do to say “Okay God. Now I earned your love.” He freely gives it. And we definitely don’t deserve it, but he pours it out on us anyway.

There are a lot of people who search their whole lives for this kind of love. A love that sees all the mistakes, all the flaws, and says you’re beautiful. I choose you.

That’s exactly what he’s saying to you.

The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”  ~Zephaniah 3:17

Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God,keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.  ~Deuteronomy 7:9

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!  ~1 John 3:1

His love has become so tangible in my life since I lost Sam. Even if I don’t understand and the pain is so deep that sometimes it physically hurts, his love is there. It covers every doubt, every fear, every moment.

I’m so thankful that his love is overwhelming, never-ending and reckless.