muddy feet

How to Respond When Your Faith is Tested

muddy feet

Right before Christmas last year I wrote about joy. I must admit that when I wrote that blog post, our family was in a state of joy – I mean the outward kind. Our youngest daughter and her family were doing well, we were looking forward to the marriage of our oldest daughter,  we would all be together for Christmas, and my husband and I had celebrated 31 years of marriage. All was right with the world. It’s not that I did not have that deep abiding joy in Christ, I did. But admittedly, it’s easier to have joy when everything in your life is lining up. We had been through many things as a family where the abiding joy in Christ had been all we had, but at that point, everything was going great. We were in a mountain season! As a mom, I finally felt that our daughters were settled, that any struggles they had growing up had made them strong and ready to go through life, and I had that feeling of settling in. Of stability. Of peace. Of joy on many fronts.  

January 27, 2014 is a day seared in my memory for two reasons. The first is because it is my oldest daughter’s birthday. The second is because it is the day we found out that our youngest daughter’s husband had a brain tumor. And just like that, much of our world came crashing down. He was rushed to UCSF and taken to surgery by the next day. Recovery and radiation followed. Nothing was the same as it had been. Life had just become very uncertain and we did not know what the next day would hold. It dawned on me that we were unwittingly thrust into a situation where we would get to live out our faith while our friends and family watched. I could not help but think about joy again. Could we, and especially my daughter and her family, by the grace and strength of God, live out that deep abiding joy in Christ? Could we make Christ well known even in this situation? What about that peace that passes all understanding? How would that look?

We were unwittingly thrust into a situation where we would get to live out our faith while our friends and family watched.

Yep, the blog I had just written was now put to the test. They say be careful what you pray for. I can now say be careful what you write about! Could we truly walk in joy and walk by faith in His plan? In reality, I believe God impressed upon me to write about joy knowing it would be something I would need to live out. Something my family would need to live out. And I now get to live it out each day along with my daughter, her husband and our whole family. I am constantly reminded of the words to a Jeremy Camp song that is rooted in knowing and living out scripture:

(Walk by Faith)

“Would I believe you when You would say
Your hand will guide my every way
Will I receive the words You say
Every moment of every day

Well I will walk by faith
Even when I cannot see
Well because this broken road
Prepares Your will for me

Joy, the deep abiding kind, is the joy that produces in us the image of Christ

Help me to win my endless fears
You’ve been so faithful for all my years
With one breath You make me new
Your grace covers all I do

Well I will walk by faith
Even when I cannot see
Well because this broken road
Prepares Your will for me”

Years ago our daughter committed to memorizing the entire book of James. On that day – January 27th when she and her precious husband were en route to UCSF the word of James rolled over and over in her mind – especially James 1:2-4 (ESV) which says: “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” I had put to memory this small part of James as well as many others that I wanted for quick recall in any situation. These rolled around in my mind as well. If we really believe this, then we have to live it. If we really believe that God holds everything in His hands, that He knows the hairs on our head, that He knows us and knows our exact time on this Earth, then we have to say “God’s got this” both in good times and in times of struggle or sorrow.

If we really believe this, then we have to live it.

Joy, the deep abiding kind, is the joy that produces in us the image of Christ that we can bring to build up our brothers and sisters in Christ and to make Him well known to those who do not know Him. I’ll take that kind of joy and faith any day! I challenge you to memorize scripture so that your response to any curve ball thrown at you will be His Words. Words that can speak life into any situation! I know of no better way to walk in joy and by faith than that.

 

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Image credit: Rex Boggs, Creative Commons

 

 

 


Darlene Hanson

About

Darlene was born in California but grew up in several states including California, Nebraska, Hawaii and Oregon. She has been married for 32 years to her wonderful husband Eric and they have two daughters. Lauren, who is married to DJ and Allie, who is married to Jesse. Allie and Jesse have two children, Jed and Riley. Darlene and her husband Eric have lived in Fresno for the past 25 years. Having their grand children close and being able to hang out with them is one of their greatest joys! They also take yearly mission trips to serve the Hill Tribe Villages in Northern Thailand. Another passion for them both is working with Fresno State Athletics helping to serve the medical needs of the student athletes and hosting monthly Fellowship of Christian Athletes leadership meetings in their home. One of Darlene’s greatest privileges is to disciple young women.


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