Remember the time when faith was brimming and overflowing from within you? It’s as if each time you read the Bible, each word would literally jump right out of the page and into your heart. You just lapped it all up. No questions asked. If God says it, you believed it. Prayer was simple. Decisions were easily made, standing on His promises.
Then the realities of life begin to hit you. One by one, as if to wear you down bit by bit; like a wave that beats persistently against a rock, determined to reduce it to a stone, a pebble, a grain of sand, to nothing. You still read the Word and you still pray. But somehow, it’s not like before. For some strange reason, the dynamics have changed. Don’t you still believe? Of course you do! Don’t you still have faith? Of course you do! And yet, the results are not as forthcoming. Instead, the pace and demands of life become even more overwhelming. You keep praying and you keep believing, but nothing seems to be happening.
To make it even more frustrating, you now know a lot more than when you first began. You have learnt so much more and have been exposed to so much more. You are more widely-read with deeper convictions. And yet, instead of helping, these have thrown up even more questions. What used to appear as black-and-white, today you realise some principles in certain situations are not quite as clear-cut. Through experience, you discover that God cannot be put in a box. His principles cannot simply be turned into formula statements. His Word cannot be thrown about or applied as you please.
To make it even more challenging, you now come into contact with younger Christians, who like you before, are having mountain-top faith experiences. They share with great joy and excitement. You wonder, “Am I missing something here? What did I do or not do to lose what I once had?” Ironically, these desire to be like you; but secretly, you wish you could be like them. How easily and quickly they believe. No questions asked.
Perhaps, that’s where the key lies. Think again. Was it not the same childlikeness that caused you to believe and move as you did? Did not that same boldness come from a simplicity of trust in the Lord and His Word? What happened then? Well, perhaps, the more you learned, the more you depended on yourself; the more you did for Him, the less you allowed Him to do through you; the more others looked up to you, the less you looked up to Him.
Yes, your faith must remain childlike. That said, it must not remain childish, for we are all expected to grow from faith to faith. As a young Christian, your faith grew when you saw the desired results – and the Lord obliged graciously. But today, as a maturing Christian, your faith is to grow in another dimension … when your desired result may not appear to be forthcoming at all. You are in a different season and you are being stretched in different ways than when you were a baby Christian. Perhaps, the most difficult thing for Christians to accept – and then to remember – is that God is more interested in the result we become in Him than the result we hope to receive from Him. Easy? Not at all. That’s what the Christian walk of faith, of spiritual maturity and discipleship, is all about.
Do not be discouraged or downcast. Instead, know that you are in a good place. The wave that beats persistently is God’s instrument, not to break you down, but to shape you into what He wants you to be in Christ. Take heart for your God has not changed at all. He is still the same even as you undergo moulding and transformation.
Of course you know this. And that’s why you can confidently declare, “If God was able before, He is still able today.”