What is more important: The faith to START, or the faith to FINISH?
As I reflect on the “moments of faith” in my life I can’t help but see the many times I trusted God until things started to get worse. I put my faith in Him and His Word, as a Christian should, but when the circumstance that prompted this moment of faith did not immediately improve, or started to get more desperate, I took back the control that I had released and once again tried to fight my way out of whatever storm I was currently in.
Can you relate? Its crazy how easy it can be for us to trust God until He fails to respond to our trust the way that we thought He would. We put our trust in Him, an act of Bible faith, but reveal when He is slow to act just how thin, and conditional, our faith is. We start well but finish never knowing what He could or would do if we had just continued to trust.
That is one of the things about genuine faith. It must be given without pre-condition or it is more an attempt at manipulation than it is a true act of confidence in our Creator.
In the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 14, we find the story of Jesus and, at least for a short time Peter, walking on water. If you are not familiar with the story I encourage you to read verses 22-33. What I love about this story is the humanity of it all. In a flash of confidence and faith Peter steps out of a boat onto a storm tossed sea and walks! What an amazing picture. Until it isn’t. Peter must have thought the storm that he was walking into would stop but instead it got worse! The Bible in this passage tells us that at some point in his walk, Peter took his eyes off of Jesus and was overwhelmed by the storm. And although this is the point in the story where we like to laugh at Peter, what He did next is what all of us need to do when our faith begins to fail.
Matthew 14:30 But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. 31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?
What did Peter do? He looked back and Jesus realizing that He was the only one who could provide rescue, and cried out, “Lord, save me!”
I am so thankful that when my faith as a frail human fails and I think that God has somehow let me down I can turn my eyes back to Him and expect for Him to work in my life even though the storm continues on. I am thankful that when the circumstances of my life don’t come together the way that I would like for them to or thought they would that God still waits for me to wait on Him. I am thankful that even though I fail, He does not. And the best part? In my frailty and failing He still receives the glory. The rest of Peters story is this:
Matthew 14:32 And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. 33 Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.
So, what is more important: The faith to START, or the faith to FINISH?
The faith to start. The faith to start again when we fail understanding that God never does. Even in the storm.