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  • Maggie Wallem Rowe

Challenging Faith Walk? Your Feet Know the Way

[A special welcome to our new friends from Camp Berea joining us here for the first time! “Yes’m, old friends is best, unless you can catch a new one fit to make an old one out of.” Thankful that you are my new (soon-to-be-old) friends!]

Camp Berea, Newfound Lake, New Hampshire (photo courtesy Regina Bartlett)

Have you ever struggled with issues of faith? Who among us truly has not?

“Faith is not about how much you believe in what you believe. Faith is about believing that the One you believe in is believable.” Dr. Tony Evans

An old friend (metaphorically speaking) sent me these words last week as I was preparing to speak at a women’s retreat at Berea, a camp in central New Hampshire. Bill knew that my heart was heavy with concern for our newborn granddaughter, now in her fifth week in the cardiac ICU at Boston Children’s Hospital. He and his wife have been lending me their strength even as so many of you have done.

Do I have faith that God can heal Janie? Yes, absolutely.

Do I have faith that it is his sovereign plan to do so on this side of eternity? Here’s where that question becomes problematic.

Faith is not about me – or you – or the amount of holy confidence we can muster up that God will indeed answer our pleas in the way we desperately desire. Faith is about believing that the One we believe in is believable.

“The way you find out if the one you believe in is believable is by knowing and experiencing him…Faith is situated in our feet. That’s why the Bible calls it ‘walking by faith’ rather than ‘feeling by faith.’” Dr. Tony Evans

I admitted to those at Berea that I’ve felt as if my heart has been scraped over a box grater in recent weeks. Shredded. There is nothing I can do physically to help the tiny girl who is flesh of my flesh, bone of my bone.

The only thing I can do – I must do – is continue to believe in the One who loves Janie far more than I do, and who will do what is ultimately best for her.

So how do we walk by faith when every step feels shaky?

We remember that faith is a grant from God – a bequest – not a loan to be repaid or something we have earned. It’s not primarily our offering to God but His gift to us (Romans 10:17; 12:3).

We remember that our faith muscles are flexed when we wrestle with God. Just as Jacob pleaded with God to reveal His name (Gen. 32:22-30), we gain spiritual strength in the times of our greatest weakness.

We remember that faith, fully ripened, leads to fruitfulness. Like Joseph, we can acknowledge even through tears that “God has made me fruitful in this land of my grief” (Gen. 41:52)

Elsa Einstein, wife of Alfred, responded once to a journalist: “No, I don’t understand my husband’s theory of relativity, but I know my husband and I know he can be trusted.”

Do I understand what God is doing in these long weeks of hospitalization with no certain outcome? No, but I know Him, and I know He can be trusted.

After the privilege Mike and I had of caring for our older grandchildren the last five weeks, I have stayed on in New England to fulfill weekend ministry commitments which in God’s providence are only 90 minutes from our son’s home. With the arrival of the other set of grandparents, I’ve slipped away to a friend’s home on Cape Cod for a few days of rest before returning to Berea for the second of three retreats this coming weekend.

Yesterday afternoon I walked the beach in our former hometown that was the site of so many clambakes, beach parties, and baptisms. I walked this same beach over 30 years ago begging God for the life of our youngest son, who also spent weeks at Boston Children’s Hospital. God healed Jordan. Will he do the same for Janie?

Grandpa loves his wee girl

I pray with every fiber of my being that one day soon I will be able to share joyous news with you.

But until then, will you join me in my faith walk? I suspect you already know the Way.

“You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” JESUS (John 13:7)


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