Faith Anticipates

 
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No Way Forward  

Our faith is a journey of stepping into the victory already ours in Jesus Christ. Yet, for many of us, obstacles and defeats lead us to forget we really are victorious. We are caught in the limbo between the already and the not yet. We are already overcomers through Jesus Christ, yet we must still overcome. We have already received every spiritual blessing, yet we long for the day we'll fully walk in them. In this paradox, our lives often unravel. I’ve stepped out in faith, I’ve said my prayers, I’ve let go and sacrificed it all to follow Christ. And still, my situations seem hopeless. God seems to be deafeningly silent. Where are you LORD in the midst of my struggles? Will you really bring victory into this area of my life?

When we repeatedly experience defeat in one area of life, it’s easy to fall into despair and disillusionment. Our human hearts are fragile and vulnerable. We start by believing that God brings victory into all areas of our lives. Then we move into believing God has brought victory into most areas of our lives. Before we know it, we start to think God brings victory just into some areas of our life: some obstacles in life are just meant to be. It’s probably not God’s will for me to overcome my addiction to pornography, or to keep praying for that one sister who I know is far from the LORD. We move away from those obstacles in our lives that seem undefeatable.

Unwittingly, we float toward a Christian faith that minimizes risk and wins the more “realistic” battles. I went to church this week, paid my tithe for this month, and opened my bible once this week. I’m good. Why fret and feel guilty about the obstacles that no one else is facing anyway? Besides, haven’t I prayed for that non-Christian friend enough? Haven’t I agonized over my habitual sin that God doesn’t seem to help in? It’s a dead end with no way forward.

However, when there is no way forward, this is actually where God wants us to be. Usually our greatest obstacles highlight where God wants us to go. It’s not around it. It’s not away from it. He actually wants us to walk through it, as impossible as it seems.

Don’t Run From Your Jordan, Wait There

“Then Joshua rose early in the morning and they set out from Shittim. And they came to the Jordan, he and all the people of Israel, and lodged there before they passed over.” - Joshua 3:1

Joshua was at the cusp of a make-it-or-break-it moment in his leadership. After having an encounter with God, he leads the people to the banks of the Jordan in anticipation of God’s victory. All the people camped there waiting for the next instructions. What are we doing at the banks of the river? There’s nowhere to cross? The promised land was on the other side. Yet a river stood in the way. To cross, you would have to go over a hundred miles either way to find a narrower part. Additionally, the rivers were overflowing during this time of year, so there was really no way through.

However, Joshua still led them to the banks of the Jordan and they lodged there. They camped there at the foot of the flooding banks. They waited in anticipation for God to make a way where there was no way. As they faced an impossible situation, they waited on God, and actively looked for God in it.

Looking For God

“And [the officers] commanded the people, “As soon as you see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God being carried by Levitical priests, then you shall set out from your place and follow it.” - Joshua 3:3

Are you anticipating God to make a way in the midst of your struggles? Are you actively looking for God in your situation and leaning into His voice? In this day, we turn too quickly to google, friends, or family for our answers. How often do we look to God and His promises for our answers? In another way of phrasing it: How often do we look for Him in our everyday struggles? God, how are you speaking right now through this difficulty? How are you working through this situation for your glory? How do you feel about my difficult boss or ignorant teacher? How do you feel about me in this place of my persistent moral failure? Where are you in all of this LORD?

We can mistakenly think living in faith is a fiery ordeal that’s loud, effective, sexy. To live with faith produces results. If your situation’s not changing, then there’s something wrong with your faith. But often faith simply looks like waiting; waiting at the last place God asked you to be. It often looks like fully following through with the last word he spoke to you; to remain at the last church he called you to serve at; to continue to love the family member that God has placed into your life. Not out of mere duty, but because if God has called you to it, God has prepared a way through it. He wants you to experience a wonderful and decisive victory!

No Other Way

On the surface, waiting can look passive, but God actually wants us to wait in anticipation. He urges us to look for him with the anticipation of a full victory. He desires that we wait with a confident hope that he will fulfill all that he promised. We don't wait because God needs more time to discover the answer. We wait because he’s allowing perseverance to cement our faith. We wait because he’s allowing our unfulfilled longings to create a greater yearning for him. So in anticipation, look to God and express: you have made a way where there is no way.


Jiwon J Lee (@pastorfromdownunder) is a husband, soon to be father and youth pastor at New Life Vision Church in Koreatown, CA. He graduated with a M.Div from Talbot Theological Seminary, and currently lives in Koreatown, CA.

 
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