(Starting this week, there will only be one post with more information and different ways to use the Bite of Bread reading plan. Scroll down to find out how to download extra questions and prompts to deepen your quiet time with the Lord. Now, without taking more time, grab your coffee. . . Let’s dig deep.)
When I look back at my fifty years of life, and I think of those who impacted my faith the most, it was the people who, despite tragic circumstances, held onto their faith with unfathomable joy. They grieved. They had their moments of struggle, but they held tightly to the goodness of God, even during wrestling matches with Him.
They walked with Him through the sorrow. The struggle. The loneliness. Not all were healed. Most weren’t, in fact. But through it all, they stayed steady in their faith as they continued to worship God while they waited on the answer.
I have a list of those people etched on my heart, three of them are writer friends of mine currently fighting the fight of faith through cancer, chronic illnesses, and disabilities. My friend, Erin Elizabeth Austin is the founder of Broken but Priceless Ministries . She produces a quarterly magazine for those suffering with chronic illness as she does. Paige Snedeker is a beautiful young woman who writes and illustrates children’s books despite a rare disease that struck her as a toddler causing the inability to move her arms or walk and the loss of hearing and sight. Though she is legally blind, she is an amazing artist who gives God all the glory.
My dear friend, Bruce Brady, wrote this on his Facebook timeline last week:
Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom (Psalm 90:12 NLT).
One of the most important, and best, days of my life was the day I was told I have terminal cancer. The realization that no human can do anything to save my life caused me to rely completely on the Lord. And my life has been so much better since. Yes, I still have the cancer. But, He is showing me what truly matters in life. There are so many things we pursue on this earth that result in emptiness. Relationships are the ONLY important thing— relationships with Him and people. Join me in experiencing the unequivocal joy that comes from an intimate relationship with Christ Jesus.
Don’t these words encourage you!? Oh for that kind of faith!
I’m beginning to believe that faith in the goodness of God and our eternal life promised with Him is more important than faith for physical healing, but I know we need both. We were made to fight for life–both the here and eternal. We don’t need to fight for our salvation; grace has given us that, but I know at times I’ve had to fight my own doubts of God’s goodness and love in those hard days so that I can really live here and now no matter what.
I’m not always a Steady Eddie. I have weeks when the soul shadows bind my joy. I know better. But sometimes the pit I’m in is slimy, and I can’t climb out in my own strength. I need a hand.
That’s why I appreciate King David so much. I think he struggled at times keeping his heart steady too, even though God called him a man after His own heart. I love this scripture:
Take a deep breath in. Slow down for a minute. Read that passage one more time. And then let’s do some digging to bring this set of verses to life–to our hearts.
You know I love to excavate the ancient words under our English, because we often lose special nuances according to the culture. This is the case for the word Shema which simply means “hear” to us. According to Lois Tverberg, in her book Walking in the Dust of Rabbi Jesus, “ . . . the word shema has a much wider, deeper meaning than “to perceive sound.” It encompasses a whole spectrum of ideas that includes listening, taking heed, and responding to action to what one has heard” (p.34).
So, many times in the Bible when we read the word “hear” it actually means taking action. When David writes that God “heard” him, he was saying that God began helping him. He gave David a hand out of the pit and then God did something really cool.
David wrote that God gave him a “firm place to stand” (kun). Read the meanings of the Hebrew word Kun:
- steadfast, firm, certainty, ready, deep satisfaction, sense of well being, certainty of trust
God gave David a steady heart, deep satisfaction, a sense of well being, and a certainty that he could trust God. If you’ve ever wondered what the psalmist meant when he wrote about God setting his feet on a rock, I believe this is the answer.
And then David wrote that God gave him a new song to sing. I love that. Many of us need a new song. His was a song of praise to God. And that song of praise testified to all around him. “Many will see and fear and put their trust (Batah) in the Lord.”
Look at the meaning of the Hebrew word we’ve replaced with put their trust.
- to attach oneself, confident, secure–denotes confident expectations.
Don’t you love that visual? Trusting God looks like a kid hanging on his daddy’s leg refusing to let go.
It’s like a dryer sheet to a bath towel.
A suction cup to a window.
David’s new song, caused others to attach themselves to God.
I want to be like that.
My friends Bruce, Paige, and Erin help me exchange my song of the pits to a song of praise and trust.
We will have slimy pit days, but when we do, let’s cry out to God and trust that He not only hears us, but will steady our hearts and give us a song of praise to sing. And that song will be a witness that draws others to Him–just sucks them right up to His heart.
Weekly Reading Plan to deepen your walk with God and your faith.
Monday: Hebrews 9:27,28
Tuesday: Psalm 40:1-3
Wednesday: Titus 2: 11-14
Thursday: Isaiah 30:18
Friday: 2 Peter 3:9
Saturday: Psalm 130:5,6
Sunday: Psalm 27:13, 14
Different Ways to Use this Plan
- Print off this post to have the reading list. (The print icon is with the sharing buttons at the top of the post.)
- Join me Monday -Friday at 8:20 AM ET on my Facebook page for my Daily Broadcast to unpack the “bite.”
- Click here to download a free Printable of the reading plan with the scriptures typed out and extra questions and prompts to deepen your time with God each day.
Who has been a “witness in their waiting” in your life? Leave a comment! Let’s give those people the recognition they deserve for their strong faith. In the process, I think we will be encouraged!
PS. I just watched this video from Max Lucado on Crosswalk.com. More encouragement along the same topic.