It Depends on Faith

When you are at your darkest moment and you open your eyes in the morning and all you see is crushing despair, how strong is your faith?

Friends who are saddled with the unrelenting sadness of failed marriages, family members involved in criminal activity, terminal diagnoses, and watching a mother waste away in hospice are currently experiencing this right now. Maybe you are, too.

In the bleakest of our circumstances, Paul advises us to look to God’s promises to counter-balance the hopelessness that we feel. God’s promises are real. God’s promises are steadfast. God’s promises are eternal.

The promise made to Abraham in the form of a covenant of God’s abiding presence with his descendants is one of the most comforting promises we can rely on in times of trouble. God promises to always be WITH us, having claimed us for himself. This promise is not based on any law, but based solely on God’s faithfulness to his people.

Romans 4 (New Revised Standard Version)

13 For the promise that he would inherit the world did not come to Abraham or to his descendants through the law but through the righteousness of faith. 14 If it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. 15 For the law brings wrath; but where there is no law, neither is there violation.

16 For this reason it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his descendants, not only to the adherents of the law but also to those who share the faith of Abraham (for he is the father of all of us, 17 as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”)—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. 

The promise rests on grace. Hallelujah! It doesn’t rest on performance on our part, it doesn’t rest on the law, but solely on the grace of God. We understand grace to be the unmerited favor of our Lord. You can’t earn it, so you can’t lose it, thanks be to God. God’s grace is guaranteed.

18 Hoping against hope, he believed that he would become “the father of many nations,” according to what was said, “So numerous shall your descendants be.” 19 He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was already as good as dead (for he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. 

And so we must be like Abraham, and hope against hope. No matter how awful your circumstance is, grace can come in such a way that your head will spin. God often does the unexpected in answer to our fervent prayers and unwavering faith. Even old Abraham and geriatric Sarah conceived a child!

20 No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21 being fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. 22 Therefore his faith “was reckoned to him as righteousness.” 23 Now the words, “it was reckoned to him,” were written not for his sake alone, 24 but for ours also. It will be reckoned to us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, 25 who was handed over to death for our trespasses and was raised for our justification.

May we have the faith of Abraham as we encounter the terrible. May we have the righteousness of Sarah as we pray for the impossible. And may we be raised in Christ as the final proof of our hope that “with God, all things are possible.”

New Mercies I See by Michelle Robertson

Second Wind

Have you ever had a never-ending week that turned into a never-ending weekend that suddenly became the middle of the next week, and you had not yet come up for air? And then it became a month, then a year, then a life of never ending-ness? I think this is why God created the second wind. Were it not for our ability to catch a second wind, we would have all burned out decades ago.

So let’s talk about second winds for a second. (See what I did there?) According to, a second wind is defined as:

A second wind is a renewed sense of vigor after becoming fatigued, a fresh conviction that one is able to achieve one’s goal, a burst of energy following exhaustion. The word wind, in this case, refers to breath. The idea is that one becomes fatigued and is out of breath, and then becomes reinvigorated and catches one’s breath. The term second wind may be used to mean a burst of energy after one becomes physically fatigued, or it may mean a burst of energy when one is mentally or spiritually fatigued. The term second wind was first used in the 1830s, to mean a renewed sense of vigor when one has become tired from physical exertion.

I love the fact that this definition mentions becoming spiritually fatigued. Spiritual fatigue can happen just like any other fatigue. When we push hard at something, even the rewarding task of spiritual development, worship, sharing the good news with others, trying to be a light in the darkness, or just getting through the day without punching somebody in the throat, exhaustion can happen.

We are living in a time when hate, anger, hostility, rudeness, and viral vomiting are the norm. These things hurt our spirit. These things exhaust our souls. It is exhausting to be the light when people feel the freedom to bash, criticize, condemn, and bully others on every social media platform, news program, and radio show that we turn on. We are surrounded by a cacophony of negative noise that makes in impossible to hear anything good or wholesome. And that wears us out.

Are you worn out? Need a second wind?

I think there are two things to keep in mind when your will to go forward goes backward and you just want to sit down and stop.

First, sit down and stop. The whole reason God created the sabbath is so that we would stop everything and have a sabbath rest. Some days you just need a day of disconnected, unplugged solitude in order to recharge. Pushing when you have absolutely nothing left in your tank just means your engine will stop anyway, just farther down the road.

Second, consider what Paul says about second winds:

Hebrews 12 The Message (MSG)

Discipline in a Long-Distance Race

12 1-3 Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!

When you see yourself flagging in your faith, take a breath, stop to rest, wait for the second breath to come, and remember why you are doing this. Remember what Jesus plowed through. Remember the story, every step of the way, and how Jesus plowed through all the hate, anger, and hostility that he had to overcome.

YOU are the light of the world. YOU are the salt of the earth. You got this.

Take a breath, and then a second breath, recharge, and get back in the race. And keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we are running. God is at the finish line, so breathe.

Just breathe.

Resting Sun by Steve Hanf.