February 25, 2019
The Lord Really Is My Shepherd
Friend to Friend
Valleys are lined with disappointment and discouragement. Some people seem to thrive on adversity, emerging from their valley with greater strength and deeper faith. Others stumble and fall, giving in to discouragement and dropping out of the race. The difference in outcome is determined by the way we choose to handle discouragement.
We must respond to each valley with trust and faith. The word “trust” means “to lie helpless, face down” and is the picture of a servant waiting for his master’s command or a soldier yielding himself to a conquering general. “Heart” refers to “the center of one’s being.” In other words, to trust God completely means that from the very center of our being, from the very core of our existence, we trust Him, totally abandoning ourselves in childlike faith to Him and His plan. We come, holding nothing in our hands, pushing no agenda, with one word in our heart—“whatever!” “Whatever You want me to do, Lord, I will do. Whatever You want me to say, Lord, I will say. Whatever You want me to think, Lord, I will think. Whatever path You have for me, Lord, I will walk.”
If you are like me, you sometimes think you don’t have enough faith. The amount of faith is not nearly as important as the right kind of faith—faith in God alone.
A mustard seed is small but can still take root and grow—just like faith. Faith is also like a muscle. The more we use it, the stronger it becomes.
We must remember that faith doesn’t rest on what we have done but on what Christ has done. As Paul says, times of stress accentuate the presence and power of God.
“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us—they help us learn to endure. And endurance develops strength of character in us, and character strengthens our confident expectation of salvation. And this expectation will not disappoint us. For we know how dearly God loves us because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love” (Romans 5:3-5, NLT).
When the valleys come, we are tempted to abandon our faith and strike out in our own strength. What we should do is embrace our faith in God, look for our Shepherd, and follow Him.
The story is told of a shepherd who tried to persuade his sheep to cross a swiftly flowing stream. Since sheep are naturally afraid of rapidly running water, the shepherd couldn’t get them to cross. Then he had an idea.
Picking up a lamb, the shepherd stepped into the river and carried it to the opposite shore. When the mother saw that the shepherd had safely led her lamb across the stream, she forgot her fear and stepped out in faith and into the rushing current. Soon, she was safely on the other side. The rest of the flock followed.
Faith rests in what Christ has already done on the cross and in our lives.
Faith hopes for what God will do for us in the future.
Faith builds on the victories of yesterday to help us face the valleys of today and the questions about tomorrow.
Faith in God is sure and certain, believing that God is who He says He is and that He will do what He says He will do. When we believe that God will fulfill His promises, even though we can’t see a single promise materializing, we are exercising faith.
Faith does not bypass pain. It does, however, empower us to deal with pain. Faith steps up to the bat and invites the opponent to throw his best pitch. Sometimes faith strengthens us, and other times, surprises us. Great faith is forged in the deepest valleys, beginning where our strength and power end.
Father, I want to be a woman of faith, but I am so weak and so often afraid. Today, I choose against fear. Instead, I choose to believe You and Your Word. Please help me learn how to reject the lies of the enemy and celebrate the absolute truth of Your Word. In Jesus’ Name,
Now it’s Your Turn
One of my favorite descriptions of faith is:
How would you define faith? _______________________________________________
Read Hebrews 11:6 and record it in your journal. Then write the verse in your own words.
Hebrews 11:6 “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”
More from the Girlfriends
Our faith is tested when the storms of life hit. Are you sitting in a rocking boat that you fear is about to capsize? Mary has a message of hope for you! Check out her book, Hope in the Midst of Depression and discover how to find strength and the courage to face the trials in your life.