The Gift of Faith

God did not give us a spirit of cowardice,
but rather a spirit of power
and of love and of self-discipline.

Guard the good treasure
entrusted to you,
with the help of the Holy Spirit
living in us.

2nd Timothy 1:7,14

Over the last several weeks, we’ve helped families celebrate the lives of three saints of our local church who now are part of the great heavenly witness after living long and fruitful lives. I am referring to Dottie Bryan, Larry Meaders, and Russ Barr.

Each lived a very unique life. Each found unique ways to glorify God through their lives. The common thread woven throughout all three lives was faith in Jesus Christ.

I was struck by the reality that all three lived well over 90 years in this world. In hearing their stories, I realized they all lived through political upheavals that threw the world into horrific conflict many times. They all lived through the reality of unchecked disease in many forms. They all lived through some of the worlds worst economic depressions. I guess you could say they lived through it all.

And yet there is a wonderful truth that was part of the celebration of all three lives. They all maintained an incredible inner strength through faith. Clearly, all three placed their hope in the redemptive love of Jesus Christ.

I wish I could talk to Dottie, Larry, and Russ right now. What insight might they give us as we all strive to keep our heads above water through the multiple challenges of living through 2020? I know this. My life feels richer just by the witness of their lives!

As I think of them, I am encouraged. They remind me that this faith we share is not meek or timid. They remind me this faith we share is powerful. They remind me that this faith we share is sustained by the Holy Spirit of God living in us.

So as I encounter times when I feel weak. I remember the strength of God. As I encounter times when the future feels uncertain, I remember it is the Holy Spirit’s movement through us that brings about God’s future for us all. As I encounter times of being overwhelmed as if I am nothing but an insignificant speck in the grand scheme of things, I remember that it is the God OF ALL HEAVEN AND EARTH that intimately holds me in a loving embrace that NOTHING can break.

Hold on. Hold together. Hold fast. We are not facing anything that people of faith have not already faced for hundreds (and thousands) of years. What’s different is this is our watch. We have been handed the baton from Dottie, Larry, Russ, and all the others. It’s our turn to carry it (and each other) and run a good race.

Run steady. Don’t sprint. Rest when you need to rest. Call a friend or a family member when you are lonely. Reach out to those that you sense are struggling. Give help when you can give help. And we will all make it through 2020 together. But guard the good treasure you have been given – “faith.”

Here’s a thought. Start thinking, what Christmas present would you like to see the world receive this year? Think big. Think real big. And join me in the “methodical” disciplines of unending prayer, passionate worship, reading Scripture, constant Holy Communion, and encouraging Christian conversation as we move through this season into the new season to come.