The Slow Burn
This the first of a series of posts related to Colour Conference London 2015 and before I go any further, I have to say it was a truly life-changing experience. Despite buying my ticket with immense hesitation, wondering why an (in my mind) elongated church service worth my time and money - I was genuinely blown away. Nothing I can really say here will truly reflect how amazing it actually was, I would simply encourage all women to register for 2016 here.
The reason I'm saying all this is because I personally feel like the experience of the messages preached by our inspirational speakers can never be replicated in my writing. Swiftly moving on...
Our story starts with Hebrews 11, also known as 'The Hall of Faith'. This chapter documents how the faith of the people mentioned had a lasting impact on their lives and the lives of others - one of which was Sarah the wife of Abraham. Sarah had what Dawn Chere calls a 'Slow Burn' type of faith. This faith is like dynamite - it may lie waiting quietly for a while, but when the time is right it has the power to change everything. This is the type of faith we need in our lives, faith that lasts, no matter what the situation is, no matter how long the journey may be. This faith is immoveable and constant because it reflects a God who is immovable and constant, who always does what He says He will do (Numbers 23:19).
Let's consider Sarah's story in more detail
We learn that when God tells she and Abraham that she will have a child, despite being past the age where she could have children. The concept was so ridiculous that Sarah "laughed to herself" (Genesis 18:12) because her "womb was dead" (Romans 4:19) the level of faith that she was expected to have in this situation was beyond all scientific and situational probability. Nevertheless the Bible tells us that "by faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised." (Hebrews 11:11). In the end, God did keep his promise, as she then gave birth to Isaac and Abraham became the "father of many nations" just like God had said in Genesis 17:4-5
Looking to our own lives, how do we develop the slow burn faith that Sarah had?
- Remembering who God is will sustain strengthen your faith, as the author of Psalm 119:59 (MSG) writes "When I took a long, careful look at [God's] ways, I got my feet back on the trail [He] blazed" - we have have proof all around us of God's power to turn around a seemingly dead situation around and when we remind ourselves of this we will also receive the strength that Sarah received. God reminded Sarah herself that "is anything to hard for the Lord?" (Genesis 18:14). If we truly believe God is who he says He is, then the answer will always be no, nothing is too hard, no situation is too bleak for him to restore.
- Keeping your eyes fixed on what Jesus has done, is doing and will do will sustain your faith until the end. Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). Feel encouraged that regardless of how we feel, the fact remains that God who started this work of faith in you will definitely complete it (Philippians 1:6)
- Don't focus on your limits and inabilities, because God's abilities are limitless. Where is does our confidence truly come from? Is it in our achievements, our connections and our accolades or is it firmly based on the One who has done incredible things in our lives, even when we didn't ask for it and when we didn't want to engage him? When we start to believe Him more (see point 2.), instead of focusing on what we have or don't have our faith will go from strength to strength.
While you're waiting your prayer to be answered, be encouraged that:
- There is faith in your frustration. Even when you feel hurt and upset by the wait, by holding on to what you believe your faith is being continually built up - although it may not feel like that and you may not feel like you're doing it right.
- Faith isn't always attractive or smooth sailing, sometimes situations get gritty and tough, we feel we're in a battle and that's okay, it's not always going to feel nice and easy, but the that fact remains is that God will answer you.
- After all those years of waiting for the child Isaac, Abraham is sent to take him away to be killed. Yet when Isaac and Abraham are on the mountain - God provides a lamb for the sacrifice and Isaac doesn't have to die. In the same vein, as you're waiting, don't ever think your dream or promise has died, God is providing the solution, sometimes we just have to wait longer than we expect.
You don't need to wait until we get what we want in order to have your 'testimony'. Your testimony is in the fact that you have lasted this long, waiting on God to come through: He has sustained you throughout. So be encouraged, and remember that for every trial we face our faith becomes stronger than ever.
"Like pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through this suffering comes out proved genuine" - 1 Peter 1:7
© Noterie, 2015