Walk By Faith, Not By Sight
Many of us pray to God to be given a focus word for the New Year. I have done this for the last few years. On December 21, 2020 I had written this:
“My focus word for 2020 was “grow” and as I understood God then, it was to grow in grace and obedience in all of who I am-spirit, soul, and body. Well, grow in body I certainly did, as months of COVID-19 restrictions and weeks of bereavement cloistering led to comfort cooking and eating at home. Did I grow in soul? I had to in order to make room to bear in my soul alone all that remains of my earthly love and relationship with Bill., now that his physical presence is gone. To keep him alive in my heart, my soul had to slide over and make room for him on the swing so that I could continue to feel the consolation of his being present with me within my soul. Have I grown in spirit? I’ve certainly grown in my sensitivity to the sufficiency of God’s grace through the Holy Spirit’s presence with me. I am blessed and full. The Lord showed me once again this year, both in circumstances and a very personal visual parable he has used in the past, as well, that the things of this season are not endings, just preparation for things of the next season and I will not lie fallow. Rather, I will continue to be tilled and cultivated and will receive what He plants so that I may continue to bloom where I’m planted and produce fruit for the Lord.
My word given by God for the year ahead is: “Faith.Full.” My experience is that God is a Father-Husband-Friend of few, but very succinct words…… I’ll be excited to watch as he shows me the meaning of this particular iteration of a word I have cherished and sought to communicate to others for years…….”
Earlier in December, on the 12th, as I drove to our daughter’s home, I had experienced an unusual sudden loss of vision while driving and contemplating some things with the Lord. I wrote about that experience here What Happened While Thinking About Thinking – Seeking Christ in the World (disciplerofself.com) At the time I had considered this experience an attack by satan because of the way in which I was being led into some new understandings of God and how he relates to his people. However, as I have thought about it and, following a dream three nights ago, I now believe that God was telling me something through that experience.
My dream this past week, on January 7th, in the very early moments of the morning, before I began to stir awake, I revisited those moments on Interstate 65 as my vision of the road ahead was suddenly blotted out in what looked like a “whiteout” , impenetrable snowy view. My response to it had not been panic, but prayer and a cautious plan of action to ease the car off the road. But before I could even implement my conscious and cautious plan, the impeded view faded away as quickly as it had appeared, leaving me with a lot of questions about what had happened. In my dream about remembering that moment on this particular morning, God suddenly showed me again the word for 2021 he had put on my heart- “Faith. FULL”. And immediately God brought to my remembrance the scripture from 2 Corinthians 5:7, “for we walk by faith, not by sight.” It made me smile and suddenly I realized that God had tested me in that driving moment on December 12th to see if I would indeed not only walk by faith, but also drive by faith instead of sight. Was my faith in him FULL enough to trust him even when I could not see the next second’s path? And therein lay the reason for him having given me the 2021 word of “Faith.FULL” Once again, I realized that what I had immediately interpreted as a satanic attack was, in fact, fully in God’s hand. He allowed me to experience in a dramatic physical fashion what “walking by faith, not by sight” would feel like. Somehow it seemed that I had passed the test. I had not yielded to fear. I had not panicked. I simply did what seemed natural and right, rested in God’s hands and implemented the safest action that I was capable of formulating in the moment.
This dream seemed to be God showing me that walking by faith, not by sight will demand that one be aware of where they are and be prepared at any moment to rely on his presence and provision for whatever comes one’s way. That state of readiness and confident reliance on him are the essence of the fullness of faith. It’s more of a state of being than a way of thinking. It’s not what you believe, it is what you do in response to what you believe in the moment that you are called to stand in that belief.
It reminds me of the response of a many who have been confronted with a call to yield to fear and to deny Christ or risk loss of life. Those who stand in readiness and confident reliance on God will not be shaken by such a prospect. They are prepared for whatever consequence results from remaining steadfast in their faith in Christ. This was the response of the apostles who were martyred for their faith and their steadfast evangelism of the Gospel that changed the world in their day. It is the same response that God calls us to in our time…. to fear not, to stand firm in our knowledge of his sovereignty and goodness and of us being securely in his hands…… to “walk by faith, not by sight.” CBB 1-10-21