| The hearing of faith.|
A number of years ago, my wife and I experienced a tragedy in our lives as we witnessed the still-birth of our daughter seven months into her gestation. She had a genetic disorder called triploidy. According to healthline.com, the longest an infant with this condition has ever lived outside of the womb is ten months. Attempting to explain the range of emotions I felt that day as I watched my daughter enter the world already dead is impossible. To even look at her was one of the most difficult things I have ever done. And it has taken me years to now even be able to admit that.
Triploidy is a complete genetic fluke. What it meant was that rather than having two sets of chromosomes in her cell structure, her chromosome sets were tripled, hence the name. The severity of retardation that occurs under this kind of situation is genetically apocalyptic. Thus it is a mercy of God that children who are born with it do not live. Were they to do so, their lives would be complete and total misery.
You can then imagine my reaction when my wife told me that someone inferred to her that the reason our child was dieing was because we did not have enough faith in God. For the record, I completely forgive this person now and have no bitterness, however it really begged a question
what exactly is faith? Is, as this individual suggested, faith some exasperated internal force of will that makes God our marionette? I know that we see Gods hand move in response to the faith of men, so I can say that I understand the tension of this question. However I will say that God responding to our faith will always have His purposes in mind as the ultimate end of His response rather than our own self-gratification
Trying to wrangle faith to the ground so it cries uncle and defines itself is a rather slippery task. If you have not noticed, scripture uses the word faith so much, and we know that faith is the only way to please God, yet scripture rarely seems to actually define faith in cerebral terms. I think the closest it gets to being defined is Hebrews 11:1.
It would probably take me pages and pages to explain what I am about to say, but for the sake of this being a blog I will just throw it out there that it seems to me as if there are a couple facets of faith, and God responding to our faith is really one facet, however, I think that the most important facet of faith I have come to understand is that it is a positive/obedient response to God.
Galatians 3:5-6 says, He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law or by the hearing of faith? Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.
Did you catch that? The hearing of faith? What in the world does that mean? I looked up numerous commentaries on this tonight and every one of them utterly dodged and failed to explain what the hearing of faith, even means. Verse six gives us a clue, in order for Abraham to believe God, what first had to happen? God had to say something
He, in His almighty sovereignty made a claim
He made a promise. What was that promise? Abraham would have a son. Abraham believed that God would do through him, what God had promised, and that son would bring forth a nation.
I forgave that individual because they knew not what they were saying, it seems that she, like many people in our society have imbibed more theology about faith from Yoda and Luke Skywalker lifting an X-wing out of a swamp than they do from the Bible. They think that faith is the force of personal will.
According to Galatians, faith is hearing God, and responding to His desires
this is the dynamic of walking in the Spirit, and growing as a Christian, this is what Paul is getting at when he asks, Are ye so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? NO!!! And yet so many today have been swayed and lulled into a near demonic belief system by thinking that faith is a product of fleshly force of will.
A number of years after this tragedy, God blessed my wife and I with a healthy daughter, and not just any daughter, she is mind blowing. When she was about a year and a half old she had a fever over 105 degrees, my wife took her to the doctors office, and while she was waiting for our family practitioner to come in, my daughter had a febrile seizure. My wife said it went on for minute after hellish minute. We spent the rest of the day in the emergency room as my daughter lay upon my chest crying hour after hour in an almost non-coherent fashion, until the fever broke and we took her home safe.
About a week or two later, since I was not there when this occurred, I asked my wife what she was thinking or feeling when the seizure was in full swing. I had waited a while to ask her, because all the while I had been personally thinking about our first daughter, and the subject has been a very tender one for my wife over the years. Her answer utterly shocked me, I just prayed, and thanked God for the time He gave me with her. The implication being that the thought of my daughter becoming a vegetable or worse, dieing, had crossed her mind.
If that is not true faith, then I do not know what is. My wife, out of the abundance of her heart, simply responded to the sovereignty of God with the faith of a child, utterly, totally, completely trusting Him, regardless of the outcome.
| 2010/7/10 4:31||Profile|
| Re: The hearing of faith.|
Thank you for sharing your story. As a father myself there is nothing more difficult than seeing those you love suffer when there is nothing that you can (humanly) do about the situation. It certainly puts a new light on John 3:16.
Although you cannot articulate (it appears) what faith means into a dictionary definition, you and your wife certainly know its definition experientially.
Your last two paragraphs are awe inspiring.
Yours in Him,
PS How is your daughter's health now? Do you have any more children?
| 2010/7/10 7:15||Profile|
| Re: The hearing of faith.|
Wow Jeremiah you have certainly blessed me with this testimony. My heart wept and rejoiced with you and your wife, and certainly you are correct that faith is response to what God has spoken. Your wife certainly did respond in faith. You are blessed to have such a virtuous woman.
Some people don't really have faith in God, but faith in faith. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, not demanded. Hope is something placed in our heart by God, not our own concoction. Some people are demanding big houses and fancy cars, and when they get them they think they have big faith, little knowing that the devil can give them these things just as easily.
Thank you for sharing, you have blessed me this morning.
| 2010/7/10 8:20||Profile|
East TN (for now)
| Re: The hearing of faith.|
I had two friends and one got very sick and the other told her that "if she had enough faith, she could get healed." Let me tell you, I was livid (not in front of my sick friend). I had to forgive my friend. I could never confront her over it b/c I didn't want to make an enemy. And even now when I think about it, I have to choose life and forgive her.
Some will even think this is not God but ask me if I care! (wink wink, I know it was God). Almost 20 years ago a stores grocery cart plowed into the side of my van and I needed a new sliding door but they wouldn't pay for it because one of their bag boys wasn't controlling the cart, it was a customer who even came and got the cart from my door and took it in the store! (My granny was sitting in the van with my year old son while I ran in).
I refused to shop at that store, no matter what good deals they had and if anyone asked I would tell them what happened. Well, one day last fall I am driving past that very store and I needed some things to take to work but I wouldn't stop even though they were the only ones open and the Lord point blank spoke to me and told me I held a grudge against a store of all things. I choose to forgive that store and now I shop there when I go by there and when I'm in there I praise the Lord for the word His is doing in me.
We will have to forgive the strangest things and even people who have personally not done anything to us and sometimes not because THEY need it, but b/c we do!
Areadymind, I wholehearted agree with you on Galatians 3:
You wrote: "According to Galatians, faith is hearing God, and responding to His desires
this is the dynamic of walking in the Spirit, and growing as a Christian, this is what Paul is getting at when he asks, Are ye so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? NO!!! And yet so many today have been swayed and lulled into a near demonic belief system by thinking that faith is a product of fleshly force of will."
Amen brother, Your words opened that up to me and it made sense and when something makes sense to me... I get it! Thank you for sharing something so personal to you but that could help us too.
God bless you,
| 2010/7/10 9:00||Profile|
| Re: The hearing of faith.|
Powerful testimony, Jeremiah. So glad you shared.
A few comments:
I consider it the height of ignorance, ridiculousness for a person to suggest the reason you had a child with a severe deformity was because of a lack of faith on your part. I do not know the stats - they are high - but nature will spontaneously abort children with deformities; very few actually experience a live birth! It may be better to assume the mercy of God at work when a miscarriage does occur...something to consider. But we do hate to see a child die, do we not?
Your wife's insight when the daughter had a seizure is the same as mine was when our 25 YO daughter died: "the LORD giveth and the LORD taketh away, Blessed be the name of the LORD!" And I was so thankful God had allowed her to grace our home, our community for these 25 years! How much poorer we would have been had she never lived! But you know what? This faith comes directly from God, one cannot gain this faith through positive thinking!
Thanks again for sharing...
| 2010/7/10 9:39||Profile|
| Re: |
"PS How is your daughter's health now? Do you have any more children?"
My daughters health is excellent, since that day it has never happened again. She is the most amazing child I have ever been around.
Two weeks ago to the day my wife and I had another a son. We are thrilled beyond our wildest imagination. What I failed to mention in this thread is that we have had three miscarriages including the one I wrote about in this blog. So we are nothing but grateful for our two little kiddo's.
Thank you for asking Matthew.
Great stories everyone else, and Lysa I am glad you got over your grocery grudge...
| 2010/7/10 16:43||Profile|