Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Substance of Faith

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio

These gardens are a thing of faith hidden beneath the frozen ground.

Hebrews 11:1  
Now faith is the substance 
of things hoped for, 
the evidence of things not seen.

Romans 5:5  
Now this hope 
does not disappoint us, 
because God's love has been poured out into our hearts 
by the Holy Spirit, 
who has been given to us.

I'm not sure where I am going with these verses but they are what I wolk up with this morning and I have sat here thinking about them wondering what it is that I am to write.

Faith is an interesting thing there are times when I would like to have faith for something and I have done all kinds of things to try and bolster or drum up faith. Other times the faith that resides with in me is so present, even though the thing that is hoped for, is from every angle impossible. Yet it remains strong and steady with in me, a thing that I know, that I know that will come but has not yet.

In my art work there are times when I can so clearly see a project and I have done enough of them now to not stress over the process. They exist from the moment that I can see them in my mind. They go from there to become rough sketches and then drawings on a board and then glass laid and then the finished project. That process can happen very fast at times and other times it waits as it did with the Beloved Project.  There are some other big projects that I can see but they wait for something to unlock the next steps. That un locking process is something I can't fully explain. I think sometimes there is something in me that must be awakened or released. Sometimes I think God just breathes upon it - in His appointed time. Some times it is a word of encouragement in the right moment that some how turns a key and says, it is time to walk up to the next level. I think we are all formed in the image of God who spoke and made the world and everything in it. I think sometimes he waits for us to find the courage to speak what we believe. Sometimes he waits for us to stop speaking that which is undermining our progress forward. There is power of life and death in the tongue. Watch your words.

Faith, I have found requires action. One must find the courage to take the next step, and the next to get to the thing that one can see in the distance. Sometimes I am un clear what the next step is or I await the inspiration and in it all, in both my life and my art I have learned to trust that when the time is right, the things that I need to proceed will be there. It is a confidence that I walk in and rest in. There are steps of faith that I must stretch out my faith to accept. God will not push you to go one way or the other. He will not make you turn off the tv or walk away from that mind numbing game or activity. At some point I must - choose to be available and to be open for Him to take my willing hand and to hear Him say... Here is the way ...walk in it.  Can you hear him saying to you "are you ready - its time we move on from this dead thing - I have more - will you go with me into the unknown - will you trust me and will you go with me? Don't be afraid I am with you and I will never leave or forsake you."

Sometime I must first work through beliefs that are not quite right or wounds that must first be healed. Sometimes sometimes God must help me to find the courage and confidence to step from where I am at present into the next phase of his plans and purposes. Sometimes moving forward means letting go of good things to reach for God's best. Those are often hard choices to make and hard things to let go of. While sometimes I think we can stall things through disobedience, and we can miss opportunities, in the end Gods plans and purposes are accomplished, he may however pass us over and give the blessing of that thing to another who is ready and who responds to His calling.  Some things wait for God to move and arrange and bring people who are needed together. There is a synergy that happens when people of faith come together to do the will of God. It is a beautiful and a powerful thing. In such things the wills of people play into the equation. I have seen God move and shift circumstances and people at times suddenly and other times it seems we can wait a very long time for God to move. I am reminded of a suddenly verse in Malachi 3.
“Behold, I send My messenger,
And he will prepare the way before Me.
And the Lord, whom you seek,
Will suddenly come to His temple,
Even the Messenger of the covenant,
In whom you delight.
Behold, He is coming,”
Says the Lord of hosts.

I guess I have come to trust and accept Gods greater sovereignty. I am coming to accept that He accepts me where I am today but He calls me to come higher up and higher in as CS Lewis writes in the final chapter of the Chronicles of Narnia. When we come to the end of one adventure there is yet another that awaits us. In 30 some years of walking with the Lord, I have seen this to be true. There is always more of Him to discover. 

Dear Lord, 
Your timing and plans are wonderful and perfect and often far beyond our ability to fully comprehend. I am thankful that you generally show us things a little at a time so as to not overwhelm us. Lord today help us to see the next steps, help us to be available and open. Help us to be found in your presence so that when you speak a thing that we will be there to hear and respond. Thank you for the amazing journey called life.  Be with us in this day and reveal your glory in and through lives that are submitted to your will and your way. 

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