I will happily admit that today, I am a totally sold-out God-lover. How about you? I haven’t always been that way. There was a time I didn’t believe in God. I wasn’t raised in church and didn’t know much about God, though, as a young teen, I had a frightening experience in an over-zealous church, that left me struggling. One day that all changed.
When I was 18, and visiting my mom in Oklahoma, she asked me to attend a church service with her and I did. During the final prayer, I put my head down with everyone else, though I wasn't really praying. I didn't know how, and I didn't really believe God was there anyway, or that he even would care about me. Truthfully, I was thinking about getting home, putting on my little pink bikini and laying out back to soak up the sun's rays. As I secretly looked around me, seeing everyone with heads bowed, I wondered why they were praying and how they thought doing so would help anything.
Little did I know that this day, and one person in the church service this day, would change my life forever.
The pastor was giving the closing prayer. Standing, and with my head still down, I felt a hand touch my shoulder. Startled, I looked up and saw the pastor’s wife standing next to me. Intently, she looked into my eyes and asked,
“You’re having trouble with faith, aren't you?”
“Woah - how did she know that?” I wondered. I stepped back, closer to my chair.
“You don’t know how to believe in God, do you?” she asked.
It was true, I didn’t. And again, I wondered, “how did she know that?” My feet rooted to the spot.
Then this pastor’s wife smiled at me, a beautiful smile that made me feel warm and cared for.
“That’s ok,” she said softly.
My heart beat faster, and this little tugging began inside me – this yearning to know and understand what she was talking about. I wanted to know about this faith. I wanted to believe that there really was this God out there somewhere in my crazy world. But she said it - I didn't know how.
“Can I pray with you?” she asked.
Nervously, I nodded and bowed my head. She began to pray, quietly, personally, right there with me. This woman, who seemed to know me, whispered a prayer for me, simply asking God to give me faith.
“Yes, please!” I found my heart agreeing with her words.
Then the service was over, and I went home. I really didn't feel any different, so I went out back and did my sun worshiping 😁
Later that afternoon, I stood at the kitchen sink, washing my hair. I felt this strange feeling on the top of my head. I stood up straight, wondering if it was just my imagination. I panicked a moment, thinking I might have a big bug on my head! Now this feeling seemed to be spreading, down into my head. It didn’t really hurt, but I felt pressure, as if someone was pushing a rock down through my head, through my neck, my chest, and right into my heart. I could literally feel it!
Emotion overcame me, though I realized I wasn’t afraid. As I felt whatever it was, enter my heart and stop, I somehow knew in my mind that it was faith. I realized that somehow, that thing I felt on my head was a rock of faith being inserted into my head, pushed through me, and instilled into my heart. Oh, my sweet Goodness! Faith! The knowledge that God is real. Somehow, I just knew that there was a God, a real God, living and being! Who made me and created me and saw me and knew me. Amazingly, I now felt like I had known and believed that my entire life. It was as if I had never doubted. I now simply had a knowing in my heart that God is.
And so, I had my faith. God answered the softly whispered prayer of a humble Salvation Army Captain’s wife, for a troubled teen to have faith. The beautiful gift of faith had gloriously become mine.
That was many years and life crises ago. But my faith has not wavered since. Yes, I have questioned "why," and have been angry and hurt at God at times. However, my belief that He is there, and my trust in Him has never wavered. And it is this belief and trust that carried me through, and yet carries me through each storm in my life.
Yes, this surprising gift of faith has turned out to be the most beautiful, life-changing gift I have ever received. And it can be yours too. I won't tell you that having faith will make your life easy. No, nothing will do that. But it will carry you through the deep waters of life - which we all have - knowing you are not alone, and that he is there, helping you every step of the way.
All you must do is ask him. A softly whispered prayer or a desperate cry for help. With all sincerity, just ask him to give you faith. Ask him to help you believe. And he will.
For you are his Beloved. We are all his Beloved. No exceptions.
He knows you because he created you. He planned you, and loves you, and grew you in your mother’s womb. (Psalm 139) And he wants you to know him and love him. He wants you to have the peace that believing in him brings.
This is what I want you to do: Ask the Father for whatever is in keeping with the things I’ve revealed to you. Ask in my name, according to my will, and he’ll most certainly give it to you. Your joy will be a river overflowing its banks!
John 16:23-24 (MSG)
Ask him now. He is waiting joyfully to answer you. Pray with me:
I really want to believe in you. I want to know that you are real and that you care about me. I want to have peace in knowing I am not alone, that you are with me. Would you please help me believe? Would you please give me the gift of faith? Thank you, God.
Did you pray that prayer with me? How do you feel? I'd love for you to let me know in the comments so I can jump for joy with you, and pray for you personally. 💜