Walking Our Faith: The one who never leaves us
Walking Our Faith
First, thank you it’s snowing. I believe we’ve received 20 inches. We so dearly need the snow. Thank you very much. In fact, I won’t mind if you send a lot more snow over the coming month or two. I love snow.
I’ve been watching the snow all day as I write. And now, night has fallen and still it snows, and I watch it from my darkened room.
As the piles of snow grow, it is cozy inside my little home, but I am also reminded that I am alone, and in the still night, the aloneness may turn to loneliness.
Sometimes, my thoughts turn to the future, and I worry about growing old alone. Isn’t there an old saying that many hands make light work?
But God says, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” — Deuteronomy 31:6
Is it this fear of the future or my inability to experience your presence at times that causes me to lose faith, if only for a moment or a week or a month or a year?
And God says, “When you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord.” — Jeremiah 29:12
When I feel most alone, I feel the flame of my faith dimming. So I must offer you the dying ember and hope it is enough for you to rekindle.
And God says, “I will give them a heart to know that I am the Lord, and they shall be my people and I will be their God, for they shall return to me with their whole heart.” — Jeremiah 24:7
But I love you God, even when I cannot feel your presence, even when I feel alone. I hope you will help me when my faith falters.
And God says, “Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” — Isaiah 40:31
What am I to do when I feel age and loneliness have left me with a life without purpose or companionship?
God says, “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to give you a purpose and a hope.” — Jeremiah 29:11
And God says, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” — Jeremiah 31:3)
Sometimes God, I wonder if you tire of hearing my lowly prayers?
And God says, “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. From one man, he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’” — Acts 17:24-28
When I fear facing the future alone, I will hold your promise that I am never alone because you are with me. You knew I would face this moment, and you promised me before I was born, to help me through it.
You have searched me, Lord, and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue, you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.
Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.
— Psalm 139:1-12
Let’s read through the Gospels in 2021. This week we’re reading Matthew Chapters 3 and 4.
“I baptize you with water for repentance, but one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” — Matthew 3:11
A note on Bibles: Please use any Bible you are comfortable with or download a free Bible app to your phone. I’m using the Word on Fire Bible, which contains only the four Gospels — Matthew, Mark, Luke and John — but it’s packed with artwork, short essays and brief, understandable explanations.
Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson’s column “Walking our Faith” publishes Saturdays in the Summit Daily News. Anderson is the author of 10 novels and nonfiction books on faith. She has lived in Breckenridge since 2016. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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