We always hear the against-all-odds stories, but we often fail to recognize our own. We fail to recognize that each one of these stories is the fruition of faith. God often moves in incredible ways, but we become so distracted by our surroundings that we fail to miss the gravity of the miracle in the moment.
Here is something to think about: doubt sees the wall, faith sees the way.
My mom came from a nobody family. Her parents really paid no attention to her- they never remembered her birthday, never took an interest in her school, her clothes, or anything else. This was not because they didn’t care; it was just a matter of living as they themselves were brought up. She was made fun of for being chubby throughout her childhood and her teens, and it was something she really struggled with. Her brother was shot when she was in high school, and required a lot of care after he woke up from a coma. After that, her education kind of went down the drain, and her own problems didn’t seem to be of any significance. Almost every girl wants a Cinderella story; they want to be pretty, and they want a faithful husband who will take care of them, but this was a little different. For her, a Cinderella story meant getting out of a life in a pit; it meant a complete reversal from where she was at.
Her marriage to my dad was pretty much a fluke- it was something that should not have happened, but it did. Even after she was married, she struggled with her weight. Instead of helping her, everyone around her still criticized her. She had yo-yo dieted since she was young, and it was a struggle that bound her to her past. She told me that more than anything, she just wanted to get out of that self-destructive cycle. Anyone that has ever had to lose weight will tell you that it is just plain hard- physically and mentally, and to lose weight without any encouragement, without any direction or advice, and without any support, especially coming from an overweight family, seems impossible. But she did it. She went from hardly being able to finish a mile to running well over 10 miles with nothing but will power and prayers to a God she didn’t even know yet.
So, how did she get out of what seemed to be her inevitable path of falling into the slump of what she was born in to, and how did she manage to turn her health around? Faith. Not only did she want change more than anything, she had faith.
I look at the situation God lifted my mom out of, and I am inspired. She had will power; she wanted out more than anything else. She knew inside of herself that she could not get out on her own, and even though she didn’t know who she was praying to, she would pray that things would change- that her life would not always be this way. Praying was not enough though. She prayed that her life would change and acted knowing that it would happen. She did everything that she possibly could knowing that God would do what she couldn’t.
Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Faith is seeing the unseen and the invisible. Faith is confidence in action. It not only passively waits on God, but also actively seeks to know and do His will. Faith requires action and is the practice of trust. It was by faith that Noah being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark; it was by faith Abraham obeyed God and went out not knowing where he was going; and it was by faith Sarah herself received ability to conceive beyond human possibility (Hebrews 11:7-11)
Throughout high school, I was told that I could never get into a school like Harvard. An Indian from El Paso, Texas from a school who hardly sent kids to Harvard in the first place- my chances weren’t looking so good. I had heard stories of disappointment after disappointment- it didn’t matter if you were the valedictorian- it didn’t matter if you had 5 million things on your resume, El Paso Indians just had bad luck. For four years I worked so hard, and I put forth everything I had in me to work towards getting accepted at a school like Harvard. There were over 30,000 students that applied for the 1,600 slots in Harvard’s class of 2013 In every moment for those four years, at the back of my mind was a voice telling me that I was wasting my time, that I wasn’t going to get in anyways- why work so hard, knowing your chances are slim to none? Why? Because it was my desire. It was my statement of faith. I knew that my chances of getting in were awful, but I also knew my God. I knew that God would make my desire a reality according to His will, but that he would only do so if I acted as if my desire was already my reality- if I acted in faith.
God himself is the object of faith, and we must trust Him even where we cannot trace him. Faith sees what is not there and believes before it even seems possible. At the depth of our being, there are desires that God places in us. These are not the superficial desires that are often connected to sin that lead to greed, lust, and perversion; these desires are implanted deep within our hearts. They are the things that we yearn for, the things that we know are good. I believe that these desires are our connection to God. They are our opportunity to pursue His will and our means of sensing His presence. They render us vulnerable to dependence on him yet make us infinitely powerful by connecting us to a God who can make the impossible possible.
A lot of people want a lot of things. People want to lose weight, people want to get an education, people want to go back to school, people want to get a job, people want to stop smoking, people want to stop drinking. It is easy to want, but wanting has no substance unless it is grounded in faith. People can easily want what is not there, they can want the unseen; yet, where people stumble is that the cannot see the unseen- they want it, but they can’t see it. When you have faith, your desire becomes your reality before it is even there, and because of this you do everything in your capacity to make it happen.
Here is the incredible thing about faith. When we receive our blessing, we are always given more than we asked for. Our blessing is so large that we can hardly receive it; it is so large that we know beyond all doubt that the only way it was possible was through God.
Doubt hits the wall; faith sees the way.