As I searched for a lost pacifier, I lifted up prayers that I would miraculously…and quickly…be led to one. I checked underneath furniture, tore into the chair cushions, and dug through the toys, desperate to find the one thing that would calm a sweet little girl and give her a peaceful rest. Before I knew it, I was struck by the similarity I could find between faith and pacifiers. One day there is overabundance of pacifiers visible everywhere you look, while the next day, it is a struggle to find a single one. I have had that same experience with my faith. One moment I am full of faith, ready to take on any doubt or fear that tries to present itself to me. I walk in the confidence of knowing God will be faithful to His Word and promises. Yet the next day I am a coward, full of doubt and skepticism, wondering how God could possibly work in the situation confronting me at the moment. I question His love, His faithfulness, His grace, His mercy and struggle with the overwhelming thought: How could He possibly forgive what I have done? How does this happen?
Merriam-Webster defines faith as “strong belief or trust in someone or something, firm belief in something for which there is no proof.” Our faith is personal to each of us and every Believer has been given a measure of faith (Romans 12:3). I want my measure to be a full, huge, overflowing measure. I want my faith and my words to match perfectly and I want them to boost one another when they don’t. If my words sound cowardly and doubtful then I want faith to rise up within me and overtake those words. And I want my words to stand, steady and strong, upon His Word which causes me to hope when my faith feels weak (Psalm 119:49).
Jesus revealed something about the power of our faith when He spoke to individuals when they came to Him in search of healing. People like…
· The Gentile woman seeking healing for her daughter (Matthew 15:21-28).
· The woman with the issue of blood who had the faith to believe simply touching the hem of Jesus’ garment would make her well (Mark 5:34).
· Blind Bartimaeus who came to receive his sight (Mark 10:51-52).
· The Ten Lepers who were cleansed (Luke 17:19).
There was also the sinful woman who fell at Jesus’ feet while he sat in the home of a Pharisee. She was weeping and washing His feet with her tears, anointing them with her alabaster flask full of fragrant oil, wiping her tears away with her hair, as she kissed them. The Pharisee knew “her type” and was disgusted by her presence. She knew who she was too and was equally disgusted by her sin and all that her past held. But “…Jesus said to the woman, your faith has saved you; go (enter) into peace [in freedom from all the distresses that are experienced as the result of sin](Luke 7:50, AMP). Wait a minute....Her faith saved her. Saved her? Jesus told others that their faith had healed them, but this woman heard, “Your faith has saved you.” Jesus confirmed what this broken woman needed to hear; the faith she had put in Jesus had indeed saved her from a sinful life and a past filled with shame and remorse. His gentle words would prove to her that she was worth more than she ever believed she was.
When she fell at Jesus’ feet, I imagine much more than oil and tears poured out upon Him. I believe every drop held years of shame and guilt, condemnation and despair, along with all of her insecurities and doubts. They all fell upon this Man- Jesus. Her life of hopelessness, which may have led to her to believe nothing could ever change and that she would never be different. All of it, poured out in those tears that fell upon His feet. Her faith saved her from the emotional destruction her sin had heaped upon her. Her faith saved her from continuing to live her life bound to the sin and from the guilt and “distress” she had experienced as a result of her sin. Her faith had saved her.
My Pastor, John Carter, made a statement regarding this story that had a powerful impact on me: “Sometimes,” he said, “the answer is not to keep struggling with the past or fighting against the sin. Sometimes, the answer is simply falling on your face and just worshipping Jesus.” When we are willing to fall before Him, surrendering our struggles with the past and our fight against the sin that wants to entangle us, we can be confident we can hear Him speak to us, “Go in peace, your faith has saved you.” Go in peace. Doesn’t that sound heavenly? Who doesn’t want to go in peace? I want to move forward and leave behind the struggles I have with a past that wants to haunt me and sin that wants to fight and destroy me. Oh Jesus, please let our faith save us so we, too, can go in peace.
I still remember sitting in the service and sensing the tug on my heart that pulled me out of my seat and sent me running to the altar where I fell on my face before Jesus. It was here I allowed tears that held shame and guilt, condemnation and despair, along with many insecurities and doubts, to pour out at His feet. There wouldn’t be just one altar for me, there have been several throughout the years, but with each one, my faith grew and I can look back now and say without any doubt, “my faith saved me.” I know my faith in Jesus saved me from the sins of my past. Now, it is time to protect my faith like any parent wants to protect their baby’s pacifiers. I must make sure carelessness doesn’t get the best of me. I don’t want to misplace the faith that I need in order to believe I am who God says I am; I can do what He says I can do and I have been set free from the past and the torment of my sins. That requires me to make sure I am not placing my faith in anything, or anyone, other than Christ.
There was also a time when Jesus “marveled at the lack of faith held by people so He continued teaching among the surrounding villages “(Mark 6:6). I wonder now how many times my lack of faith caused Jesus to marvel at me and move on to someone else. When two blind men came to Him asking for mercy, seeking their sight, He first asked them, “Do you believe I am able to do this?” When they answered, “yes,” He touched their eyes saying, “According to your faith let it be to you” (Matthew 9:28-29, NKJV). I don’t want Jesus to need to ask me if I believe, I want Him to see my confidence in Him, springing up from my faith and have Him declare; “your sins are forgiven you” and “your faith has saved you” (Luke 5:20, 7:50)
Faith and pacifiers each bring peace in a moment of crisis; pacifiers can calm a crying baby for a moment, but only true faith in Jesus can save us. Can Jesus see your confidence in Him, springing up from your faith or is He marveling at your lack of it? Maybe He is waiting for you to fall before Him and surrender all you hold so tightly; a past that haunts, a sin that has you entangled, or shame that covers you like a blanket. When faith seems weak and hard to find go on a hunt for it. Get into the Word of God and read about the faith of others. Ask Jesus to fill you with faith.
Faith and pacifiers. While there may be times when a search is in order to discover their hiding place, one we outgrow and the other we can’t grow without.
Have you heard the song How Can It Be? by Lauren Daigle? Take a moment to listen....