COLUMNS

By His Grace: Have Faith in God

Edith Nevis

I recently began reading a wonderful book, “Life Interrupted, Navigating the Unexpected,” written by Priscilla Shirer. The book touches on our reaction to change and its impact on our faith. As I poured through the pages, I immediately began to relate to it. In the folds of the pages, I was simply reminded how great is God's faithfulness towards me. 

I had recently returned from a four-month stay with family in New Jersey after Hurricane Ida, as you might recall. What I haven’t shared is what occurred during my stay that increased my faith during difficult times. 

Allow me to share. 

Edit Nevis

The week prior to the storm, I already had been in New Jersey on vacation. That trip had been delayed by divine intervention two months earlier (more on this at By His Grace: When God’s hand is at work). Due to the storm’s impact on the community, there was a five-day waiting period for re-entry into the parish before accessing any home damage. What I witnessed was heart-wrenching. I hit the ground running, assisting wherever I was needed. How many know when you do for others you do unto the Lord?  

“And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.” 

After securing what was remaining of my home, I began the journey back Northeast. I am person whose heart is in her giving, so to cook and care for family when in town always brought me great joy. But this time would be different.

Upon my arrival to New Jersey, unbeknownst to me, I contracted COVID and was hospitalized. You could imagine my reaction. I held mix emotions about this change of events.  

It was unclear if my home would ever be inhabitable again, or at best anytime soon. With each passing month, there was a new start date to begin repairs and then another delay. I began to realize God allowed these delays for a greater purpose. As I practiced patience while in the wait, I sought the Lord for comfort in His peace and rest.    

“Cast your burden on the Lord, And He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.” 

For many years, I silently endured Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, which means having a tendency toward excessive orderliness or perfectionism. This behavior leaves little tolerance for change and requires control, and it is a challenge to resist. Not to mention it drove my family crazy. I have since been delivered and healed and for many years. But at times when my faith is tested due to unforeseen events in life, I am reminded of the symptoms I once endured.  

Change is not always comfortable. On many levels it requires faith to take the necessary steps to reach the place God intended for us to go. When I encountered all the various life interruptions, beginning with the storm, it became imperative. I leaned into what I know. I became like Peter when he walked on water. I kept my eyes on the Lord to prevent from drowning.  

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” 

And then comes letting go (control) and allowing God (His way) when it comes to making the right choices in life. Is God not the Creator of all things in heaven and earth, which includes you and me? I often wonder how many blessings I had missed out on because I was in the way. When faced with unforeseen circumstances in life we can go to God. He always has our very best in mind. He cannot fail. You can trust in His word, for it is true.  

“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.” 

Finally comes our decision of choice. Do we resist the temptation to walk in the way of self or come into full agreement with the One who is ultimately in control? When we choose to live a life of faith remember God is not required to show His hand before we come into compliance with His will.  

Life unexpected surprises allowed by God may come in many forms (emotional, physical, financial…etc.) and is always accompanied with a divine purpose and plan in place.  

You may ask why it is allowed. For me, I was reminded of my need of God and he alone. Life little surprises often disrupts our routine and comfort zone in way we live life. What I experienced encouraged me to continue to my growth in the Lord as my faith increased through the study of His word. And all I can say is out of obedience blessings flows for every need and prayer were met. I serve a faithful God.  

You may ask how you begin to grow in faith. First a relationship must be established with the son of God. For those who desire a relationship with the Lord, or would like to renew it, allow me to extend an invitation to experience his unconditional love for you. By your own free will you accept Christ as Lord and Savior. 

When you declare with your mouth "Jesus is Lord" and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, it is written you will be saved. This has nothing to do with religion and all to do with a relationship. For it is written, "It is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved." 

Please repeat this prayer: "Lord, Jesus, forgive me of my sins I committed against you. I believe Jesus died for my sins and has risen again. Please come into my life and heart and lead the way. I confess you as my Lord and savior from this day forward. In Jesus' name, amen." 

Welcome into the family of Christ. 

Until next time, be blessed and go in peace. Shalom. 

Bible references: Matthew 25:40 ESV; Psalm 55:22 NKJ; Joshua 1:9; Psalm 28:7 NIV. 

-- Edith Nevis can be reached at 857-2200 or at enevis@gannett.com.