Posted by: celticanglican | June 18, 2007

Keeping the Faith Under Pressure

Keeping the Faith Under Pressure

This past year has been, well, strange for me. It’s hard to describe the variety of emotions that one feels with a major depression, unless you’ve been there yourself. A lot of times it can feel like you have a stormcloud looming over your heard every second, or that no one understands you, or that God Himself has abandoned you. I won’t presume to have suffered more than Job, but I can indentify much more closely with his story in the Scriptures than ever before. Depression, though a condition that often requires medical help, is also a powerful tool that satan uses to his advantage.

To make a verryyy long story short , the past year has been one of major personal and business-related setbacks; coping with a loved one suffering from the effects of chronic pain, and trying to help the same cope with the emotional and spiritual effects of his pain. For quite awhile, it did look as though there was no hope in sight at all.

Much of this, I think, was the devil trying to detract my attention from God and onto my circumstances. In spite of it all, I knew that in Christ alone was my salvation to be found. I am bought and paid for by His blood, so satan has no chance of victory over me. May God forgive me for ever thinking it could be otherwise. If you are one of Christ’s, he can have no power over you. He was a defeated enemy at Calvary.

Part of the paradox of the struggle I’ve gone through in the last year is that I finally discovered what my vocation is for this point in time. Last summer, in spite of all the difficulties I was facing at home, I trained to become a Eucharistic Minister. EM’s assist at Sunday communion services, read the Bible readings, lead intercessory prayer, take communion to and pray with the sick, and in some cases, preach sermons. This was a ministry I had been called to for quite some time, but circumstances had not allowed me to receive training until now. I believe it was my having to learn to trust in God even more fully that lead me to realize His plans for me at this time.

There are many scoffers that anyone going through major adversity will encounter. Some will claim suffering is due to wrongdoing or insufficient faith (“If you were praying with any real faith, your unsaved loved ones would be serving God now”). Others will use it as a “jumping-off” place to proclaim their anti-Christian sentiments (“You’re crazy to believe God can actually do anything for you! He doesn’t care!”). What can be said to these naysayers?

“But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord”. But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails, and my hand in his side, I will not believe.” A week later the disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put in in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” John 20:24-29 NRSV

Many of us have not “seen” the mercy of God when going through a struggle. Yet, if we have faith and believe in Him despite our circumstances, blessed are we. Let us walk by faith, and not by sight.

Written in 2005.

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