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Keep the Faith

September 26, 2022

Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress.  I will never be shaken.”  (Psalm 62: 1-2).

The song “Keep the Faith,” sung by Bon Jovi, encourages listeners to keep the faith through the rain—the disappointments, hurts, and difficulties of life.  Likewise, Sunday’s Scripture texts encourage us to keep the faith in the face of life’s vicissitudes.[1]

Sometimes people lose faith in God after the death of a family member or during other times of devasting loss or stress.  They ask, “How could a loving God permit this to happen?”  In such times, God tells us to hang on. Just hold on.  He is coming.  

Habakkuk asked God the difficult questions: Why doesn’t God do something about the evil in the world?  Why is there evil anyway?  Will he rescue us? Habakkuk complained, “God, how long do I have to cry out for help before you listen? How many times do I have to yell, “Help! Murder! Police!” before you come to the rescue? Why do you force me to look at evil, stare trouble in the face day after day?” (Habakkuk 1: 1-3, The Message).  

Habakkuk used the metaphor of a watchman to draw a picture of expectation–of waiting for God’s answer to his complaints: “I will climb my watchtower and wait to see what the Lord will tell me to say and what answer he will give to my complaint. The Lord gave me this answer: ‘Write down clearly on tablets what I reveal to you, so that it can be read at a glance.  Put it in writing, because it is not yet time for it to come true. But the time is coming quickly, and what I show you will come true. It may seem slow in coming, but wait for it; it will certainly take place, and it will not be delayed.  And this is the message: ‘Those who are evil will not survive but those who are righteous will live because they are faithful to God.’” (Habakkuk: 2: 1-4, The Message).  

God knows that we are impatient.  He knows that we not only want answers to our prayers, but we want the answers we ask for—and we want them now! God often asks us to wait—sometimes hours, sometimes weeks, sometimes months or years for an answer.  But he promises that justice will ultimately prevail.

While we are waiting, the psalmist encourages us to turn to God constantly for strength, refuge, and comfort: “Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress. I will not be shaken.  My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge” (Psalm 62: 5-8).  In other words, keep the faith.

Luke reported that the apostles asked Jesus to give them more faith to enable them to forgive and to trust: “The apostles came up and said to the Master, ‘Give us more faith’” (Luke 17: 5).  Jesus responded, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you” (Luke 17: 6).   It is the genuineness of the faith that is important.  Genuine faith that starts out as small as a mustard seed can grow as big as a mustard bush, if nourished by the sun of trust in God and by humble dependence and obedience to God under all conditions.  Our faith has a chance to grow during the rain of circumstances—the setbacks, the disappointments, the losses, the illnesses, the heartaches, the anxieties—that push us to our knees.  Keep the faith.

Paul encourages us during difficult times to keep our faith alive by fanning the flames: “That precious memory triggers another: your honest faith—and what a rich faith it is, handed down from your grandmother Lois to your mother Eunice, and now to you! And the special gift of ministry you received when I laid hands on you and prayed—keep that ablaze!” (2 Timothy 1: 5-7). Be thankful for those who nurtured you in the faith.  Keep the fire alive.  Keep the faith.

God gives each of us a special gift to use in ministry.  We are to use our gifts to help build up the body of Christ.  We strengthen our own faith when we encourage others in the faith. When others see the joy that is in us through Christ Jesus, they are encouraged in their faith journey.  

Keep the faith.  And let Christ’s light shine brightly through you to those around you.

Prayer: Father, “Come and find the quiet center in the crowded life we lead, find the room for hope to enter, find the frame where we are freed.  Clear the chaos and the clutter, clear our eyes that we may see all the things that really matter–be at peace and simply be.”  –Shirley Erena Murray

Diane Cieslikowski Reagan

[1] The Scripture texts for next Sunday are Habakkuk 1:1-4, 2:1-4; Psalm 62; 2 Timothy 1:1-14; and Luke 17:1-10.

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