Creative Expression – Without What?

Without faith, it is impossible to please God. What kind of faith? What does that mean? Do I have to work something up within myself to believe something to be pleasing to God? What if tragedy strikes and I simply fall apart and can’t believe? Am I pleasing to God? What if life throws me a curve, out from left field and I am not prepared to handle the stress simply because I am human? What if sorrow or discouragement comes? Does that make me less spiritual? What kind of faith is necessary to please God?

When my sister was murdered in 1980, I fell apart and crashed in the midst of the ‘why’s’ and the ‘what if’s’ and the ‘how come’s.’ I could barely breathe for a few years let alone have faith in God. I felt betrayed. I felt alone. So I hid out in the midst of life, pretending that all was okay. But, inside, I was falling apart. You can say that I had a crisis of faith. That would put it mildly.

I asked God all the right questions. It’s just that He never really gave me a satisfying answer. Why did this happen? It was hard to talk to anyone about this pain. Christians often retreat into cliches and platitudes when questioned about pain or sorrow that can’t be explained or Scriptured-out. The equation kept coming before me. Without faith it is impossible to please God. I had no faith therefore I was not pleasing to God. Without faith it is impossible to please God. There is more to this verse than just that.

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6 NKJVS)

What is faith? At my lowest, I had none or at least I did not think I had. Yet God says that it is impossible to please Him without it. So what kind of faith is that? I had done everything I knew to do and yet, I simply didn’t have that mountain moving faith to get going and live again. Is there something more to this than meets the eye? It actually is quite simple.

The faith that God finds pleasing is faith in His Son, Jesus Christ.

Faith = a strong and welcome conviction or belief that Jesus is the Messiah, through whom we obtain eternal salvation in the kingdom of God.

The simplicity of faith in Christ for salvation is wholeness- healing – physically, emotionally and spiritually. The faith of the Son of God, who gave His life for me, is the faith that God finds pleasing. I enter into that reality. Faith in Christ when life is impossible. Faith in Christ when questions are not answered. Faith in Christ when I am so low that I can’t rise up. When I am weak, then He is strong in me. It is not my faith but His faith. I believe in Him and that is where the journey starts.

I can breathe and rest in Him. I stood in the simplicity of that revelation, trusting Christ with my life. I relinquished my ‘right to know’ or even understand to just BE in Him. If anger, fear or grief rose up, I stood in His grace and mercy and love. That is hard for us as humans to swallow at times. Life is not packaged into manageable components. Life is filled with unanswered questions. Life also gives us the opportunity to disdain God simply because there are these unanswered questions. Years have gone by since my sister died. My faith is active and alive and moving again. Why is that? My life still has it extremes and its trials.

My faith rests in the finished work of Christ Jesus, not in me. I live and move and have my being in Him. That’s not an easy way out. It’s the only way. Life moves and I move with it. I don’t cope. I live. I don’t strive. I rest. I don’t control. I abide. Christ is the way, the truth and the life.

When I write these blog posts, I usually want to come to a bit of closure. Then, I realize that is very unrealistic. My life is a journey. If, through my experiences, I can stir questions up in you, that is a good thing. I have always believed the purpose of the prophetic is not so much giving answers as it is stirring up questions.

In Christ, Debra Westbrook

DebraPlease pray and consider having Rivers of Eden minister in your gathering, home group, conference or church in 2014. This is our year of release wherever and whenever God opens His doors bringing His grace and His glory through us to those to whom we are called in this season. You can contact us on Facebook or Twitter.

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Creative Expression – Restrained Vision

That same day two of them were walking to the village Emmaus, about seven miles out of Jerusalem. They were deep in conversation, going over all these things that had happened. In the middle of their talk and questions, Jesus came up and walked along with them. But they were not able to recognize who he was. (Luke 24:13-16 Message)

As I walk on the road of my own preconceived notions or my sublime presumptions, Jesus often draws near to me, in the midst of it all. When life’s events have placed more questions in my mind than answers, Jesus draws near – just to walk with me and talk with me.

Light on a PathThese two men were walking towards Emmaus, talking about Jesus’ crucifixion. Their minds were ablaze with questions. Their hopes– what could have been, should have been, and yet was not- seemed dashed to pieces as they faced the reality of His death. What now? What exactly happened?

Jesus enters into the midst of it all, just like He does for me. When He draws near, I often find myself in the midst of thinking, a process of questions. Why did this happen? What now? He walks besides me and sees my limited restrained vision, just as these two men on the road that day. Vision that is restrained by the power of presumption or assumption inhibits me from truly seeing, just like these two guys. Vision that is held in the power of its own process limits and restrains me from truly seeing.

He draws alongside, never forcing His way into my process, at least not at first. Like these men, I may continue to explain the events taking place through my ‘restrained vision’. He probably can’t help but shake His head as He listens to my words, just as He listened to the words of these men that day. At the right moment, in my own tension, He speaks. Here is how He spoke to these men that day. And sometimes, this is how He speaks to me.

Then he said to them, “So thick–headed! So slow–hearted! Why can’t you simply believe all that the prophets said? Don’t you see that these things had to happen, that the Messiah had to suffer and only then enter into his glory?” Then he started at the beginning, with the Books of Moses, and went on through all the Prophets, pointing out everything in the Scriptures that referred to him. (Luke 24:25-27 Message)

listen.520In other words, His words silence me, just as it did for these two guys, catapulting me into a greater reality, past my restrained vision and limited understanding. I find His confrontations into my life as wonderful as His gently flowing words of affirmation and love. Both show me His intense love for me. Both ways open my eyes to see past the nose on my own fact. My pain often restrains my vision. I need a shaking down some days that forces me to rise above my own self-pity and introspection. It’s good for me. He’s always good for me.

They came to the edge of the village where they were headed. He acted as if he were going on but they pressed him: “Stay and have supper with us. It’s nearly evening; the day is done.” So he went in with them. And here is what happened: He sat down at the table with them. Taking the bread, he blessed and broke and gave it to them. At that moment, open–eyed, wide–eyed, they recognized him. And then he disappeared. Back and forth they talked. “Didn’t we feel on fire as he conversed with us on the road, as he opened up the Scriptures for us. (Luke 24:28-32 Message)

Jesus stops me in the midst of my forward momentum many times. My eyes open to see, to truly see things that have been hidden from me. I get so excited at times at the revelation of truth, which lifts my spirit, that I want to detain Him at that point of revelation to sit with me, talk more with me, dine with me at my table. Yet, I have noticed, that just like these men, at the point of received revelation, sitting at a table of intimacy, He often is quickly up and away. Why is this?

There is more to say, more to see, and greater things to encounter. Being totally human, I may self-centeredly keep Him at that place at my table, receiving and receiving and receiving. Yet, He is up and away and now my choice is to follow Him with all that He has revealed to me, moving and living and having my being in Him. I can’t stay at this place of comfort. I now move in what I have received and take it out.

Yes, there will come another time when my presumptions will get the best of me again. That is only human. And on that day, He will draw near again to show me my shortcomings in truly understanding His greatness, His majesty and His being. That is called life. I go from glory to glory to glory, from faith to faith to faith. I walk on the road of life, wondering, asking questions, and thinking. He draws near, listens and even brings correction to me.

Christ in you, the hope of glory. (Colossians 1:27 NKJV)

Christ in me is still revealing Himself to me as I live my life in union with Him. I am enjoying the journey.