POSTS
8
April 2021
Waiting
12
November 2020
The Gift of Self
4
November 2020
False Guilt
4
November 2020
Living Hope (part 2)
28
October 2020
Living Hope
7
October 2020
Consider It Joy
7
October 2020
Seize the Trial
10
September 2020
Take Heart and Endure
2
September 2020
Free From Fear
20
August 2020
Our Unseen Hope
20
August 2020
The God of Peace
SEARCH
Doubt, Endurance for the Journey, Featured

Listen to my prayer, O God,
do not ignore my plea;
hear me and answer me.
My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught

My heart is in anguish within me;
the terrors of death assail me.
Fear and trembling have beset me;
horror has overwhelmed me.
PSALM 55:1-2,4-5 (NIV)



During my time of depression, I had problems with strange, awful thoughts. My thoughts frightened me; it scared me that I was even capable of thinking such terrible things.


I later learned that obsessive-compulsive thoughts are often the result of depression. I was so relieved when I read that King David also was troubled by his thoughts. Today I point to Psalm 55:2 when I work with people who are experiencing depression and who have obsessive compulsive thoughts because they, too, are horrified that they could think such things. David gives us a wonderful example of what to do about this problem. Tell God about them, He counsels us. Bringing them out in the open takes away their secret power of shame and guilt. And it gives us the opportunity to ask God to help us overcome them.


<.br>

Yet I still belong to you;
You hold my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
leading me to a glorious destiny.
Whom have I in heaven but You?
I desire You more than anything on earth.
PSALM 73:23-25 (NLT)


On the journey with you,
Jan Dravecky

0

Cancer, Doubt, Fear, Grace, Guilt, Words of Endurance

This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses,
for he faced all of the same testings we do,
yet he did not sin.
So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God.
There we will receive his mercy,
and we will find grace
HEBREWS 4:15-16 (NLT)



I have always had high expectations of myself – never wanting to fail – always wanting to be strong – never weak – earning my success – in the game of baseball and in my everyday life.



All that changed when cancer entered my life. Oh I was strong and performed well at the beginning of my journey of suffering. But as the journey took me into the wilderness and the days became long and endless, I experienced a weakness of my being that I had never felt before.



I had a fear of death – I doubted – then shame for my lack of faith. I experienced frustration over my weakness and my failure to overcome. This resulted in anger – rage filled fits – then extreme guilt over my sin. Like Adam in the Garden of Eden, my inclination was to run from God and hide. BUT … running and hiding from God was not the answer. In order to endure I needed to run to Him and receive His grace even though I felt I had not earned it and therefore I did not deserve it.



But God loves who we really are – whether we like it or not.
God calls us, as He did Adam, to come out of hiding.
“Come to me now,” Jesus says.
“Acknowledge and accept who I want to be for you:
a Savior of boundless compassion,
infinite patience, unbearable forgiveness,
and love that keeps no score of wrongs.
Quit projecting onto me your own feelings about yourself.
At this moment your life is a bruised reed and I will not crush it,
a smoldering wick and I will not quench it.
You are in a safe place.
BRENNAN MANNING (ABBA’S CHILD)



God’s grace is an incredible source of fuel for enduring the journey. It encourages us to keep going even when we fall because we know He understands and knows our weaknesses yet He still loves us. This was a huge source of fuel for me to continue taking steps forward on my journey with Him knowing that …

“If we have only the will to walk, then God is pleased with my stumbles.” CS LEWIS



Sometimes we are so sick and tired of stumbling that we don’t want to walk anymore. What a blessing it is to know that all we need to have is the will to walk with Him, and God is pleased with us – even when we stumble. That’s an incredible expression of grace. That is a tremendous motivation to keep stepping forward and endure the journey!



On the journey with you,
Dave Dravecky

0

Doubt, Fear, Relationships, Words of Endurance

Receive Support From Others

It’s better to have a partner than go it alone.
Share the work, share the wealth.
And if one falls down, the other helps,
But if there’s no one to help, tough! ECCLESIASTES 4:9-10 (THE MESSAGE)



One of the hardest things for me along my journey was to receive help from others. I wanted to endure on my own – not rely on anyone but myself. Unfortunately, the journey becomes extremely lonely and difficult when we try to go it alone.



God said, “It’s not good for the Man to be alone …” GENESIS 2:18 (THE MESSAGE)



Being an amputee I need a lot of physical support. Initially I tried to do everything on my own – dress myself – put my luggage in the overhead bin – hang our Christmas lights. Pride got in the way. I did not want to humble myself and ask for help so I would struggle through the task. Eventually I would become frustrated and then angry. It was not a pretty picture.



I have learned through the years though that I do need physical help – though humbling it sure makes life a lot easier. Jan now tucks in my pockets, puts my belt through the loops I cannot reach and ties my shoes. When someone offers to put my luggage in the overhead bin – I gladly accept his or her help. As for the Christmas lights – I no longer hang them!



Along the journey I also have needed emotional support. I needed the listening ear and understanding heart of a trusted family member or friend. I needed a ‘safe person’ to whom I could open my heart – share my fears and doubts – cry with – and not be judged.



Fortunately for me I found that ‘safe person’ in Jan. She has listened to me, cried for me when I could not, just held me when there were no words and loved me when I did not deserve it. But at the same time, I can’t tell you how many times she has given me a swift kick that has challenged me to move forward again.



It is personal interaction such as this – the gentle hug and the swift kick – that helped me take those next steps forward. It can come only from someone tangible – someone you can touch, feel, see and trust. When someone reaches out to me I experience the awesome gift of God’s expression of love towards me.



“Modern research echoes
what the Bible has said for centuries:
people who have intimate connections
in which they are vulnerable and honest
generally live better, function at higher levels,
and heal faster than those
who are isolated or distant from others.
We all need the fuel of love and relationship
to continue growing and healing.”
Dr. John Townsend



When I experienced the dark night of the soul I desperately needed spiritual support. During that time I had no desire to even pick up the Bible to read. That was when Jan would step up and offer to read to me – to encourage me. She became my Bible. I was humbled.



The majority of that time I didn’t feel like praying but that was when my closest friends would come alongside and pray for me. In my darkest moments I often would receive a call or a card from a friend or a group from church saying that they were praying for me. I was so grateful that they stood in the gap for me – this encouraged me to take steps forward.



Let’s see how inventive we can be
in encouraging love and helping out,
not avoiding worshiping together as some do
but spurring each other on,
especially as we see the big Day approaching.
HEBREWS 10:25 (THE MESSAGE)



Remember my friends while there are seasons in our lives for giving – there are also seasons for receiving. As humbling as it may be, learning to receive physical, emotional and spiritual help will lighten your burden and help you to endure the journey.



“Friendship is one of the sweetest joys of life.
Many might have failed
beneath the bitterness of their trial
had they not found a friend.”
CHARLES HADDON SPURGEON



On the journey with you,
Dave Dravecky

0

Depression, Discovering Who I Am, Doubt, Guilt, Healing, Hope, Loss, Pain, Words of Endurance

Lord, have mercy, because I am in misery.
My eyes are weak from so much crying,
and my whole being is tired from grief.
PSALM 31:9 (NCV) WORDS OF KING DAVID



It took an act of God to convince me that I was depressed. Me? Dave Dravecky depressed? You have got to be kidding me! I was always taught that it was impossible for a Christian to be depressed if he or she were walking with the Lord. I bought into that teaching and denied all my symptoms (as well as Jan’s) of depression. At that time, admitting that I was depressed and seeking professional help would have been like confessing sin.



I really believed that if I kept a positive attitude and kept trying to help others I could and should get around my own emotional pain without going through it. As an athlete, I had learned how to push past the pain. If I stopped pushing myself whenever I felt physical pain I never would have made it to the big leagues. So naturally I applied the same jock mentality to emotional pain but it didn’t work.



It didn’t work because I was going the wrong way and it nearly killed me. It was true …



There is a way that appears to be right,
but in the end it leads to death.
PROVERBS 14:12 (NIV)



My way of dealing with my pain pushed me into unhealthy habits that inevitably lead to depression. And what finally triggered the depression? I can tell you in one word: exhaustion – I was physically and emotionally exhausted.



Immediately after my amputation I pushed myself into a busy speaking schedule – I said yes to almost every request made of me. I had been given a message from God for people who were suffering and I was determined to deliver it. As a result, I ended up exhausted.



And to make matters worse I kept busy to avoid dealing with my emotional pain and loss. My pain was still within me – waiting to be addressed – draining me just as much as my hectic schedule. To this day I can’t clearly remember those months – it’s a blur – as though I were living in a fog. I was living in the fog of depression.



The hectic schedule wasn’t the only thing that exhausted me, however. Trying to do things with my remaining hand – the nondominant one at that – made me mentally tired. I had always worked well with my hands and now I was fumbling all over the place – that exhausted me.



And pain itself is exhausting. Having to mentally deal with pain – day in and day out – sapped my energy. I experienced phantom pain daily and the pain could be unbelievable. My left hand would cramp up. Just to release the cramp I would mentally have to pry loose my missing fingers. Sometimes the ends of my finger felt like they were on fire.



And then there was the contribution of my fears, doubts, worry and then guilt. When these emotions engulfed me it was like a tidal wave had hit me and that wave did me in. No wonder I was experiencing depression!



But then I finally listened to the Godly, Biblical counsel of others.



Fools think their own way is right,
but the wise listen to others.
PROVERBS 12:15 (NLT)



After about three weeks of counseling I realized that I was just as depressed as Jan was. But what a wonderful place to make such discovery – under the care and guidance of a Godly counselor – an act of God! Bit by bit I began to understand how my way of dealing with my pain was not God’s way. I learned God’s Way – God’s Truth. I needed to open my heart and address and confess my pain. What came out was, “I’m scared. I’m afraid. I don’t want to die. Where is my faith that I have so strongly professed? I am so weak and tired.”



You know there was great freedom in admitting that truth. The truth of God’s Word set me free but so did the truth about myself that only the Holy Spirit could expose. There was wonderful freedom for me in knowing I don’t have to be anything but who I truly am – the good, the bad and the ugly – even me depressed!



If you find yourself in the same place I was – exhausted and depressed – please do not hesitate to seek help from our Heavenly Father, the Holy Spirit and the help from Godly others.



“And I will ask the Father,
and he will give you another Advocate,
who will never leave you.
He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth.”
JOHN 14:15-17 (NLT)



On the journey with you,
Dave Dravecky

0

Discovering Who I Am, Doubt, Healing, Hope, Words of Endurance

What marvelous love the Father has extended to us!
Just look at it—we’re called children of God!
That’s who we really are.
1 JOHN 3:1 (THE MESSAGE)



On my journey of discovering who I am, I have come to one profound and simple realization: I am a child of God! But what exactly does that mean as we stumble through life with the afflictions, failures, and losses that we all experience?



I think about when my own kids were little – when they were just starting to walk. They would get up, stumble and fall and I would help them back up. I delighted in watching them learn to walk.



Now they are grown – they can walk just fine but they still make mistakes – they still stumble and they sometimes fail. Yet I still love them. I want the best for my children and I will do whatever I can to help them find their way. When they falter I pick them up and put them back on the right path.



That is precisely how God sees me – sees you! We are his little children. He directs our steps and picks us up when we stumble yet He still delights in us.



The Lord directs the steps of the godly.
He delights in every detail of their lives.
Though they stumble, they will never fall,
for the Lord holds them by the hand.
PSALM 37:23-24



Along my life journey I had stumbled plenty and every time I failed I was ashamed. I had a hard time believing that God would be delighted in my stumbles. But then I was encouraged greatly to read this quote by CS Lewis:

If we only have the will to walk,
God is pleased with our stumbles.

I knew I had the will to walk – God knew I had the will to walk. God knew I wanted to trust Him and so I kept taking the next step – trusting that He is holding me by my hand. And now if I stumble I get back up and move on as a child of God – God’s chosen!



So, what do you think?
With God on our side like this, how can we lose?
If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us,
embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst
by sending his own Son,
is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God
by messing with one of God’s chosen?
Who would dare even to point a finger?
The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!
—is in the presence of God at this very moment
sticking up for us.
Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge
between us and Christ’s love for us?
There is no way!
Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger,
not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing,
not even the worst sins listed in Scripture …
None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us.
I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—
nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic,
today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable
—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love
because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.
ROMANS 8:31-39 (THE MESSAGE)



On the journey with you,
Dave Dravecky

0

Doubt, Endurance for the Journey, Fear, Grace, Healing, Hope, Lighten Your Load, Words of Endurance

I am not saying this because I am in need,
for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.
I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation,
whether well fed or hungry,
whether living in plenty or in want.
I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
PHILIPPIANS 4:11-13



As a Christian athlete, whenever I was being tested physically, my mantra was always –



“I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”
PHILIPPIANS 4:13



When I was stricken with cancer, I would recite this same verse over and over reminding myself that I, too, could overcome this new obstacle. But after several surgeries and radiation, I was seriously weakened and I began to doubt whether I had the strength to ever overcome this one. I was frustrated with my own weakness and inability to overcome.



A friend of mine was aware of my weakened and discouraged state, and decided that I could use some encouragement. He asked his friend, Chuck Swindoll, a well-known pastor and author, to give me a call and encourage me. Since I had listened to Chuck on the radio for years and admired him greatly, I was thrilled when I answered the phone and realized it was he who was calling me.



Chuck told me that he wanted to call and encourage me with a vignette that he was writing on Philippians 4:11-13. I remember immediately popping up and saying proudly to him that Philippians 4:13 was one of my favorite life verses.



He responded gently back to me and said, “Yes, Dave that is a powerful verse but your emphasis should not be on verse 13 alone but also on verses 11 and 12 that proceed that verse.”



He then shared that Paul stated that he had learned the secret of contentment no matter what his circumstances. He pointed out that Paul was under house arrest at the time. He had experienced poverty and prosperity, being filled and going hungry, having abundance and suffering need – yet in all circumstances he experienced contentment.



Chuck then shared “Contentment is possible no matter how dire your circumstances. The secret to Paul’s contentment was knowing Christ’s strength was perfected in his weakness.” He then quoted 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 where Paul wrote:



But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you,
for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses,
so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
That is why, for Christ’s sake,
I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.
For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 CORINTHIANS 12:9-10



When I considered that Christ’s strength was perfected in my weakness – my own inability to overcome – I experienced contentment because I knew I could trust Him no matter how dire my circumstances – no matter how weak I am.



What is the secret of contentment even through the trials of life? Focus on Jesus not your circumstances.



My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
PSALM 73:26



On the journey with you,
Dave Dravecky

0

Anger, Doubt, Endurance for the Journey, Fear, Grace, Love, Next Steps, Perseverance, Words of Endurance

This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses,
for he faced all of the same testings we do,
yet he did not sin.
So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God.
There we will receive his mercy,
and we will find grace to help us
when we need it most.
HEBREWS 4:15-56



I have always had high expectations of myself – never wanting to fail – always wanting to be strong – never weak – earning my success in the game of baseball and in my everyday life.



All that changed when cancer entered my life. Oh, I was strong and performed well at the beginning of my journey of suffering. But as the journey took me into the wilderness and the days became long and endless, I experienced a weakness of my being that I had never felt before.



I had a fear of death – I doubted – then felt shame for my lack of faith. I experienced frustration over my weakness and my failure to overcome. This resulted in anger – rage-filled fits – then extreme guilt over my sin. Like Adam in the Garden of Eden, my inclination was to run from God and hide.



BUT … running and hiding from God was not the answer– in order to endure, I needed to run to Him and receive His grace even though I felt I had not earned or deserved it.



But God loves who we really are – whether we like it or not.
God calls us, as He did Adam, to come out of hiding.
“Come to me now,” Jesus says.
“Acknowledge and accept who I want to be for you:
a Savior of boundless compassion, infinite patience,
unbearable forgiveness, and love that keeps no score of wrongs.
Quit projecting onto me your own feelings about yourself.
At this moment your life is a bruised reed and I will not crush it,
a smoldering wick and I will not quench it.
You are in a safe place.
BRENNAN MANNING (ABBA’S CHILD)



God’s grace is an incredible source of fuel for endurance. It encourages us to keep going even when we stumble because we know He understands and knows our weaknesses – yet He still loves us. HE LOVES US EVEN ON OUR WORST DAY!!! This was a huge source of fuel for me to continue walking on my journey with Him knowing …



“If we have only the will to walk, then God is pleased with my stumbles.”
CS LEWIS



Sometimes we are so sick and tired of stumbling that we don’t want to walk anymore. What a blessing it is to realize that all we need to have is the will to walk with Him, and God is pleased with us – even when we stumble. That’s an incredible expression of grace. That is a tremendous motivation to endure.



The LORD makes firm the steps
of the one who delights in him;
though he may stumble, he will not fall,
for the LORD upholds him with his hand.
PSALM 37:23-24



On the journey with you,
Dave Dravecky

0

Doubt, Faith, Fear, Hope, The Ultimate Treasure, Words of Endurance

Joanie Thompson was well acquainted with the world of suffering and how God could make His presence known in the midst of it. Through her prayer ministry, she had seen God’s love, peace and unmistakable presence touch the hearts of the broken women who had come to her for prayer. She marveled again and again at the unique way God would reveal Himself and meet the true need of each woman’s wounded heart. He never failed to pierce the darkness of each woman’s pain with the light of His love.



Many hurting women had walked out of Joanie’s prayer room with a renewed sense of God’s love, a healed heart and a treasured, personal experience with God’s mercy. Then Joanie became sick. Over a period of months, her health began to deteriorate. Her breathing became labored. She tired easily and had no stamina. It was her turn to receive what she had often seen God provide for others.



For two years, Joanie suffered without knowing what was wrong with her. Exhaustion limited everything, even the amount of time she could spend with family and friends. Her prayer ministry had to be curtailed. Doctors eventually diagnosed her with a chronic lung disease, but there was little they could do to help. They could improve her lung function with steroids, but the severe migraines that resulted were almost worse than the disease. The doctors couldn’t predict whether her condition would improve over time. But the worst part was that Joanie had prayed—as she had for so many others—for God to be near her in her time of darkness, yet God seemed distant and silent when she needed Him the most.



Joanie was not the first of God’s children to question His promise to be “close to the brokenhearted” (Psalm 34:18). Job cried out to God,“Why do you hide your face?” (Job 13:24). King David pleaded with God,“Oh my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer” (Psalm 22:2). Such experiences have caused many of us to wonder why, if God wants to give us treasures in the darkness so we’ll know that He is God, there are times when we just can’t seem to find Him.



The knowledge that other people have felt alone in the darkness of their suffering can be consoling. After all, giants of the faith—even Jesus—have felt abandoned by God (Matthew 27:46). Perhaps the inability to “connect” with God is, at least for some of us, part of the journey rather than a random, isolated experience. But why does God allow His presence to be hidden from us when we need and long for it the most?



We may never understand the why, but there is good news in the unanswered question. Our struggle to connect with God is evidence that our relationship with Him truly matters. It is evidence that although our faith may be threatened by the harsh reality of suffering, it is far from dead. And when God is hidden by the darkness, we may realize:

  • How desperately we want and need Him (see Psalm 73:25).
  • That every word of the Bible is true (see Mark 13:31).
  • That we are being prepared for a greater ministry (see 2 Corinthians 2:3-6).
  • That we have no source of true meaning and hope other than God (see John 6:67-69).
  • That earth is not our true home. Our hearts long to be with God in heaven, in uninterrupted relationship with Him forever (see Psalm 84:1-10).
  • That God is with us, and when we can’t perceive Him we must learn to live by faith (see 1 Peter 1:6-7).



God never “showed up” in the way Joanie expected, but she did find treasure in her relationship with Him—treasure that can never be hidden.



When God seemed hidden from sight, Joanie learned that her faith rested on what God had already done, not on what He was doing in the present. She realized that Jesus died on a cross and rose again to prove the extent of His extravagant love for her. History confirms it. Scripture details it. So whether or not she could feel His nearness in her present suffering, she knew He was already with her. In time, Joanie quit wrestling with the “Why didn’t He come?” question because, as she explains it,“He had already come. I realized that I still had the cross. Sometimes that is all we have, but it is enough.”



Dear God,
I am desperate in this darkness.
Please speak to me through Your Word.
Open my eyes, unstop my ears, soften my heart, so that I might see You in these pages,
hear Your voice speak these words
and be open to Your instruction.
Give me a hunger for Your Word.
Give me wisdom to understand it.
Guide my hands and my heart to a Scripture that will light the path before me.
Lead to me to a quiet place and time
where Your words can sink into my heart
and transform the darkness inside.
Amen.

0

Cancer, Dealing With Doubt, Doubt, Healing, Love, Peace, Trust, Words of Endurance

Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed;
blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
JOHN 20:29



When dealing with a season of doubt, I am always encouraged and inspired by the faith exhibited by others -especially those who believed and had not seen.



First consider the famous “Hall of Faith” listed in Chapter 11 of Hebrews. The list includes such “Greats” as Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph and Moses. All who exhibited great faith in the midst of much tribulation and what is even more amazing to me is that …



All these people were still living by faith when they died.
They did not receive the things promised;
they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance,
HEBREWS 11:13



Then there is Stephen, “… a man full of God’s grace and power …” (ACTS 6:8) who as he was about to be stoned he …



… looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God,
and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.
“Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man
standing at the right hand of God.”
ACTS 7:55-56



Wow! To have that kind of faith, strength and trust while facing imminent death- I truly cannot fathom!



But nothing inspires my faith more than when I have the privilege to witness the faith of the people we meet through our ministry, Endurance. Our ministry is to bring comfort, encouragement and hope to all we meet but inevitably we are the ones who end up encouraged the most. One such person who has blessed us is Mary Schiltz.



Mary lost her battle with ovarian cancer this past weekend. I have followed Mary’s journey ever since she walked through our ministry door over two years ago when she was inquiring about encouraging resources for others in her church who were battling cancer. Mary was one of the most awesome people I have ever met. She has been an inspiration to me and to so many others just by the way she lived her life and fought to beat her cancer. Her love for the Lord, her family, friends and church family was something to behold.



This past summer, when she felt she might not beat her cancer she asked me “Jan, how do I do this? I don’t know how.” I did not know how to answer her but I can honestly tell you for someone who did not know how to walk through her final days on this earth, Mary did it with grace, love, humor and great faith.



Like the “Greats” listed in the “Hall of Faith” Mary did not receive her promise for healing on this side of eternity but like the “Greats” and Stephen, Mary’s eyes were fixed on the eternal and her faith has brought her into the eternal presence of her Heavenly Father.



Therefore we do not lose heart.
Though outwardly we are wasting away,
yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory
that far outweighs them all.
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen,
but on what is unseen,
since what is seen is temporary,
but what is unseen is eternal.
2 CORINTHIANS 4:16-18



On the journey with you,
Jan Dravecky

0

Dealing With Doubt, Doubt, Trust, Words of Endurance

How do I seek Your face when my flesh needs Your hand? What must I do, O Lord, there’s a need to understand.
RITA SPRINGER “I Remain in You”



I can really relate to the verse above from the song “I Remain in You.” Especially because I am constantly seeking God’s face, longing to feel His presence and have a strong inner drive to always understand what is going on. It was not too long ago, when I was going through a season of doubt, that I cried out to God and asked Him how was I supposed to carry on a ministry to others – encouraging them to endure and have hope – when I could not even feel His presence and I myself was desperate for His touch. I totally expected a feeling of condemnation and guilt in response to my cry but much to my surprise and delight instead I heard a soft voice speak to my heart – “My child, what you are experiencing is so pleasing to me because you are in a season of exercising and growing your faith in Me.”



And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. HEBREWS 11:6



I was elated! I was pleasing to God because I had faith in Him even when I could not feel or see Him and doubt was pounding at the door of my heart. But the key was I did not turn away from Him – I turned and cried out to Him because I knew He was there and He was listening. The Bible defines faith in Hebrews 11:1:



Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
HEBREWS 11:1



Faith is exactly what we need when we are plagued by doubt. Faith banishes doubt as it enables us to seek God, to believe in Him, to trust Him and to move on through life with Him even when we do not see Him. We sometimes overlook the fact that faith is also a living thing. Faith is not static and unchangeable. Like a muscle, faith can grow and be strengthened when we exercise it. We exercise and grow in faith when:
*We put the gift of faith into action, such as when we believe in God’s power and ability to do something rather than believing in our own power (Romans 4:19-21)
*We spend time seeking to understand God’s Word (Romans 10:17).
*We are encouraged by others who share our faith (1 Thessalonians 3:2, 10).
*We remember God’s faithfulness to us in the past (Psalm 77:10-12). *We admit our faith is weak and ask God to give us faith (Mark 9:21-24).



It is important that we exercise and strengthen our faith because the Bible assures us that life on earth will test our faith. In the same way that the strength of a muscle is stretched and tested by hard use, the strength of our faith is stretched and tested as we apply it to the trials of life. When our prayers seem to go unanswered – when our pain lingers for months or even years – when God appears to be silent despite our desperate cries for help – our faith is stretched and tested. During times of testing, we are particularly vulnerable to doubt. For some of us, our faith may be stretched to near the breaking point but even then we can find hope and comfort because the Scripture assures us that the testing of our faith refines it – purifies it – strengthens it – proving it to be a genuine faith.



So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold— though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.
1 PETER 1:6-7 (NLT)



On the journey with you,
Jan Dravecky

0