Life Lesson: Having Faith

Here’s another Tuesday Night Teaching that I did with my kids. This one is called, Life Lesson: Having Faith.

“Having faith in God means that even though we cannot ‘see’ him, we know he is there. Faith is believing in what we don’t see. Can you actually see love?” My kids nodded that “no”, we don’t really see love.

“What about smells? Can we ‘see’ them?”

Giggles…”Well, maybe sometimes….”

“Okay, but you get the point.”

I looked at my daughter and reminded her of the times she thought God wasn’t listening to her prayers because she didn’t see the answer. I then spoke to my kids about feeling distant sometimes from God, especially when times are hard.

“There are moments when we are going through rough times and we really don’t feel or see that God is near us.”

I took three sheets of wax paper and held them up so that they blocked a cross hanging on our hall.

“Remember, the cross represents God. Can you see the cross now?”

“Not really”, they said.

“Okay, there are other times when things aren’t quite as bad but you still wonder where God is.”

I removed one sheet of the wax paper.

“You can barely see God, right?”

“Yes.”

“Let’s say things are maybe a little bit better but still a little cloudy and you’re not sure if God is near you.”

Removed another sheet of wax paper.

“The cross is becoming even more clear now, right? Okay. Now life is great and we’re moving along…”

Removed the final piece of wax paper to reveal the cross.

“Do you see that the cross was there the entire time, even when you couldn’t see it or when it was a little hard?

This is what it means to have faith in what is unseen. No matter how bad things get in our lives, even when we cannot see him clearly, he is there.”

I then read Hebrews: 11:1:

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”

Explaining faith to children can be hard, especially for extremely literal kids! I’m hoping that this visual lesson helped them to truly believe in what is unseen; to have faith in God during times in their lives when the view is cloudy and when it is clear.

Life Lesson: Having Faith – this one is for us adults, as well.

Oh, You of Little Faith {big things can come from small beginnings}

It was just a stick with a few leaves (and that may be generous to say) when my husband planted what he called a “tree” in the ground.  I laughed at it.  I said, “That stick is not a tree!”  My husband watered it, spoke of high aspirations for it, and tried to convince me that with time, and once the roots have dug in, that little stick would become a tree.

This was several years ago, and indeed, that little stick with just a few leaves grew into a healthy, and vibrant tree.  My husband likes to remind me of how little faith I had in that tree to ever settle roots and grow into something of beauty.

When I look upon it, I often think about our own lives, and how we sometimes possess little faith that anything of substance will grow out of measly beginnings. When we look at people or situations that seem deprived of any hope, it is quite hard to imagine how powerful, beautiful, or strong that person or situation just might turn out to be.

I also think about the necessity of nurturing roots. This necessity does not just stop with plant and tree life.  It also is vital for the growth and development of human beings.  How many times have we all said, “That child will not grow up to be anything”, or “That person will not change”?  

How many children are trying to survive in soil that lacks nutrition? 

God’s Word says,

 And he told them many things in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow.  And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them.  Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched.  And since they had no root, they withered away.  Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them.  Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”

Matthew 13:3-9

Scripture not only instructs us on the importance of setting roots in good soil, it also speaks to us about the importance of faith.

He asked them, “Why are you afraid, you who have little faith?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.

Matthew 8:26

When facing difficult situations in life, it is important that we do not dwell on the beginning.  We should be encouraged to consider the future, but consider it with hope.  Something I have learned throughout my life, especially dealing with the trauma of my illness and subsequent barrenness, is that if we knew the outcome to every situation, or if we could know what happens in the future, faith would not be important.

Where would faith be in our lives?  Or, better yet, what would faith mean to us?

I suspect that our faith would become a secondary commitment, or more like a hobby, instead of a necessity.  I question if it would even exist.

When I look upon that tree that my husband planted many years ago (I can call it a tree now), the words, “Oh, you of little faith” tend to ring out in my ears.  I remember the planting of that nearly barren stick, my laughing at my husband’s hope for its growth, and how my husband tended to it.  And, I am reminded time and again, that from the most destitute, insignificant, broken, weak, small, and seemingly meaningless beginnings, people can grow into incredible creations.  Desperate circumstances can become turning-point moments in life, if we all just loved a little more, whispered aspiring dreams, and possessed a grounding of faith in them.20150714_172203

That little stick grew into a tree – a wonderful, pretty, and full of life tree.

Isn’t this what the Lord wants for all of us?