It’s been over seven months since I wrote Sowing in Tears and not a lot has changed. In this stage of our journey, it feels like we have not only sown in tears (Psalm 126:5), but we have sacrificed everything to water and fertilize these seeds. Still, we have not seen even the beginning of a sprout.

About a month ago, my husband was miraculously given a job. After months and months of trying to find work, this opportunity practically fell in his lap. It was such a huge provision and we were so grateful.

Then, two weeks ago, he injured himself and has been unable to work. Just as things were looking promising to us, there’s another problem.

In so many areas of our lives, we continue to sow with no reaping. Even normal things like eating healthy and exercising are not giving me results like they did previously. It’s very discouraging.

My faith has never been stretched like this before. Months ago, I felt like that was as far as my faith would go, yet here I am. That, in and of itself, is a miracle—a sign that God really does continue to strengthen us and renew our hope. Each time I start feeling completely discouraged, like I can’t go on anymore, God gives me an extra measure of faith.

Faith is never easy. But what is faith, really? Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”

Not long ago, I would have considered faith to be my belief in God. Belief in God is an absolutely necessary part in a Christian’s life, but perhaps belief is more like a prerequisite for faith. Don’t get me wrong: We need to begin at this level of believing God’s Word, but it seems as though many believers have stopped at this point.

Even our initial belief in God calls for faith. Each step of obedience, each step towards God, each time we crack open the Bible to read—it is all done in faith that believes this all matters and will somehow make a difference.

We need faith in everyday moments. We need faith when we eat right and exercise. We need to be able to “see” the future results of our hard work and believe that our sacrifices will be worth it.

We need faith when we go to college, sacrificing money, time, and energy. We have faith that a college education will provide more opportunities for us and enable us to do well in our careers.

We need faith when we parent our children! We need to know that our discipline and sacrifices will eventually show results. We hope for our child to mature into a responsible adult, but right now he’s a whiny toddler throwing a fit in the middle of Target. Faith.

Speaking of parenting, I believe raising a toddler is one of the biggest steps of faith. How many years does a parent invest and sacrifice into a child during the infant/toddler years before she sees results? It takes years! YEARS! But the parent presses on, disciplining and investing into this child with faith of seeing results.

The point is, faith is more than our beliefs. Faith requires action. It’s a risky step that puts our beliefs to the test. Faith sees beyond what we can see in the natural and presses on towards a better future. Biblically speaking, we are hoping for God’s promises to come to fruition—promises spoken of in His Word and promises He’s spoken directly to us for our lives.

Our faith stands on the foundation of the goodness of God and the reliability of His Word. As Bill Johnson says, “The revelation of the goodness of God is our invitation to the life of faith.” It’s our knowledge and experience of the goodness of God that enables us to step out in faith. And faith isn’t through our efforts, but rather our surrender.

What I am learning through this season is that faith requires that I let go of my reputation. It’s funny how we esteem Christians when they play it safe—read the Bible, go to church, lead small groups—you know, the usual (which was how Josh and I lived most of our adult lives). These people seem so mature and wise (I remember those good ol’ days of thinking I had my life all figured out). Then when Christians take God at His Word and give up everything to follow Him, they’re seen as crazy! Yet, wasn’t this the example we see throughout the Bible?

Think about Noah for a second. Noah had to have a crazy amount of faith. God told him to build a boat because He was going to flood the earth…in 100 years. Day in and day out as Noah and his sons erected this monstrous ark, they endured mocking and ridicule. How easy would it have been to give up after just a few days or weeks of this? Noah remained faithful, looking like a fool to those around him, for the entire 100 years.

Are you willing to be considered a fool in the world’s eyes?

I am also learning that the measure of our faith is not in the initial size—our zeal and passion in the beginning. The measure of our faith lies in our perseverance when we don’t see immediate results. In other words, how quickly do you give up?

Perseverance is the difficult part of faith, especially when you notice the trend in the lives of the men and women of faith. There’s a reason the people mentioned in Hebrews 11 were called men and women of faith. It’s not because God gave them promises and proceeded to immediately fulfill them. No, they had to wait. And wait. And wait. Some of them did not even see the fulfillment of the promise in their lifetimes.

Abraham never saw his descendants inherit the Promised Land. Moses only saw the Promised Land from afar. “All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth” (Hebrews 11:13).

I sincerely hope that this is not our fate. I hope my family sees the fulfillment of our surrendered lives and journey of faith. After all, “He rewards those who earnestly seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6), but even Moses understood that no Promised Land is worth it without the Presence of God. Even if we don’t see this fulfillment, though, we will continue to move forward and not give up because I believe in the goodness of God and trust His purpose for my life.

When we started this journey, I promised to be open and honest with my readers. I didn’t want to sugarcoat our experiences. Many times, we are filled with gratitude with what God has done in our lives. This journey has been exciting and new, filled with unexpected blessings, new friends, amazing experiences, and fun adventures.

The most miraculous part has been how God has been changing us on the inside. It’s all the stuff people can’t see. It’s the roots that are going down deep, preparing for an insurgence of nourishment that makes us stronger and more of a blessing to those around us.

For now, though, this journey is still hard. We get discouraged. We lose heart. It leaves us in a place of completely depending on God. We are perfectly positioned so that we have no choice but to rely on God. It’s a season of learning to trust. Trust requires that we stop leaning on our own understanding and that we stop creating safety nets because we don’t think God will come through. Trust means all in. We are all in.

I really appreciate your feedback and support! Let me know what stuck out to you the most regarding the topic of faith. Are you on a similar journey? Has God called you to something that seems risky? Comment below with your stories, thoughts, or questions!

For more on living a life of faith based on the goodness of God, read Bill Johnson’s “God is Good” and “Dreaming with God“.

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