Doubt and Faith

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Part Two: Faith

(To read Part One, click here)

“Count it all joy when various trials fall upon you, because the testing of your faith produces perseverance; and perseverance, when it has completed its work, will make you whole and complete, lacking in nothing.” ~James 1:2-4

Untested faith is not faith. True faith is a muscle which, when properly strengthened, enables us to hold onto the one in whom we place our trust. That’s why James can say that trials are cause for joy. Not happiness, mind you; happiness is temporal (eating pizza and ice cream makes me happy; looking at the bathroom scale the next morning does not). But drawing nearer to God, no matter the test ahead—or rather because of it—brings me joy, which, unlike happiness, transcends the temporal state (2 Corinthians 4:17).

Are emotional results instantaneous? No. Muscles don’t grow bigger the second you start pumping iron. But there can be break-through moments: I wrestled for months with a huge amount of stress over one of the most important projects of my life, losing sleep, waking up early obsessing over everything that remained undone. I spoke these words aloud again and again: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). And I earnestly believed them, having experienced the truth of them too many times to count. But my emotions hadn’t gotten the message yet.

Emotions tend to lag behind the convictions of heart and mind.

And then last week, eleven hours into a fifteen hour project day, I told my emotions, “Look, I’m gonna do this with or without you.” An hour later, a remarkable peace engulfed my body: my heart slowed down and my lungs expanded. I knew instantly that this was no mere tropical islet; I’d hit the mainland. And despite the ongoing challenges of the project, that peace has been with me ever since. And it will be…

Until the next big trial opportunity to grow in faith.

Some additional thoughts on faith:

“Faith certainly tells us what the senses do not, but not the contrary of what they see; it is above, not against them.” ~Blaise Pascal

 “Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart. And try to love the questions themselves.” ~Rainer Maria Rilke

“Faith is not the intellectual acceptance of a body of doctrine; faith is faith in a person.” ~William Barclay

“It is so hard to believe because it is so hard to obey.” ~Soren Kierkegaard

“Faith is the assurance of what we hope for and the certainty of what we cannot see.” ~Hebrews 11:1

“It’s a good thing to have all the props pulled out from under us occasionally. It gives us some sense of what is rock under our feet, and what is sand.” ~Madeleine L’Engle

“Faith goes up the stairs that love has built and looks out the window hope has opened.” ~Charles Spurgeon

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in For Pastors and Teachers, Memoir, Quips and Quotes, Religion/Faith and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Doubt and Faith

  1. Pingback: Doubt and Faith | Mitch Teemley

  2. Pingback: Doubt and Faith – Resigning as the General Manager of the Universe

  3. Faith cannot be faith if there is no element of uncertainty to be tested. Very good couple of posts, Mitch.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Candice says:

    I had always thought that my emotional response in troubled times was showing a lack of faith. Thank you for pointing out that it sometimes takes a while for the emotions to catch up with the faith in my heart.

    Liked by 5 people

  5. I like to thing that faith is a verb…an action word.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Love the last quote! That’s a powerful one!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. So true and wise, Mitch! Feelings often get in the way of stepping out in Faith. So glad you knew to exercise your faith muscles, and wrote about it to encourage us! Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Mischenko says:

    I really needed this. Thanks, Mitch. 💜

    Liked by 1 person

  9. smzang says:

    You sure know how to make the worries go away!

    Thank you again!! (and again)

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I love this post! I have never thought of faith as a muscle… and yet the analogy makes perfect sense and gives me a better understanding of something complex! You’re a gifted writer and story teller!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Nancy Ruegg says:

    SO important to remember: “Emotions tend to lag behind the convictions of heart and mind.” Such reassurance can keep us from despair or worrying that’s something wrong with us. Thank you, Mitch!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. revruss1220 says:

    Wonderful work… both yours and theirs. My favorite quote of the collection is the Pascal quote; “… it is not against, but above them.” Thanks for this gift.

    Liked by 1 person

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