Lord, Give Me Faith
I was 21, and I was hopeless.
I desired a purpose in life, longing for something to justify the suffering that I observed within and around me. I chased relationships that left me empty and spent my time and resources on things that left me spiraling into deep brokenness and shame. The brokenness drove me to the point where I thought about taking my own life.
A year and a half ago, He gave me the gift of faith.
Theologian Wayne Grudem defines saving faith as “trust in Jesus Christ as a living person for forgiveness of sins and for eternal life with God” (Systematic Theology). This faith is the “assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1 ESV).
Though I have not seen Jesus, I believe in Him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of my faith, the salvation of my soul (1 Peter 1:8–9).
Did God Actually Say…
Since I became a Christian, it hasn’t been hard for me to read the Bible.
I don’t mean this in a proud way. Practically speaking, the Bible has never been more accessible to those of us living in North America. Different versions of the Bible are available in every nearby church or bookstore, online, or in the app store. The problem for me was not reading God’s Word. The problem was my unbelief.
In the Garden of Eden, Satan questioned Eve, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1 ESV).
Yes, He did. Not only that, but God also decreed that any disobedience against this command will not go unpunished: “…but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Genesis 2:17 ESV). Eve’s faith in God’s sure command wavered, and she took the fruit and ate of it. There are times when I read Scripture and the words bounce off my stone-cold heart due to my pride, lack of focus, sin…Clearly the connection between the head (what I know God says through His Word) and the heart (a reflection of our will and desires) is broken. This is the foolish nature of our flesh. Even when we taste God’s goodness and grace, we quickly forget Him and turn to our own wills and interests.
Ultimately, what God says about sin and its consequences (leading to eternal death in Hell) will stand true regardless of whether we believe Him or not. It is written: “…so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11 ESV). God is not mocked — we will reap the destruction that we sow if we live according to our double-minded, doubting flesh, and not in step with the Spirit.
Give Me Faith
A friend recently pointed me to an excerpt in a collection of Puritan prayers, The Valley of Vision:
“I believe thee,
accept thy Word,
acquiesce in thy will,
rely on thy promises,
trust thy providence.” (The Valley of Vision, pg 296)
To acquiesce is to “accept something reluctantly but without protest” (Google dictionary). Such is my greatest wrestle — to accept the Lord’s will for me and to submit to His Word regardless of the suffering that it would bring.
In Mark 9, the father of a demon-possessed child pleads with Jesus, “if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us,” having just experienced Jesus’s disciples attempt and fail at healing his son. Jesus calls him out on his doubt, exclaiming, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.” Immediately, the father cries out and exclaims, “I believe; help my unbelief!”
My most frequent prayer aligns closely with the father’s cry and echoes the prayer of the Puritan. Though the Lord’s will for me includes much suffering, I trust that He is for me and I “put confidence in thee, though I know my faith is not as strong as it should be.” Lord, “supply thou the defects of my faith… and give me strength and grace to put entire confidence in thee” (Barnes’ commentary).
In times of suffering or temptation, run to God and His Word, and believe what it says. When we struggle with believing the very words of our Maker, pray that He would give us faith.
Elevation Worship’s Give Me Faith has been one of my favourite songs to listen to because it echoes my prayers for the Lord to increase my faith. My friend Melissa Chau recently did a cover for this song (linked below).