Discussion: Faith: One Door Closes… Another Opens
J Anthony Spencer
December 23, 2022
In a few short days, 2022 will come to a close and a much anticipated 2023 will begin. I’ve been seeing posts on Facebook as well as overheard in conversations about how many are ready to put this year to bed. With hopes next year will be better. This year I have lost family and close friends. I walked away from a job I enjoyed (not loved). I have faced financial decisions that seemingly came out of nowhere. My small business has seen ups and downs (mostly downs). This past Thanksgiving, I looked forward to spending days with my family; and after driving over twelve hours, we found that Airbnb double booked, not one but two houses. After spending a night in South Carolina, I spent my Thanksgiving driving back to Maryland.
As we walk expectantly towards 2023, we hope to lose weight or maintain a healthier diet. We are praying for a better job, house or financial windfall. In a broader sense, we cry out for a world that feels so divided to come back together. The doorway to the end of this year is in sight. We want to walk through it, slam it shut and lock it. Some want to forget it ever happened. But what are we really expecting?
Expectation: a strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future
Hope: a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen
We hope, expect things will be better in the coming year, so much that we turn these things into a prayer to whatever God we believe in. The problem is that hope and expectation differ vastly from Faith which is a complete trust or confidence in someone or something. Put in context, it is a firm belief in God. When we hope, pray and expect, how much true faith do we put in that these things will come to fruition? Do we lay what we want at God’s feet and truly put it in his hands? Or even as we pray, do we try to insert ourselves, hoping to guide it to a desired conclusion?
Faith is not easy. From one crying in the wilderness to the man in the pulpit. Faith is one of the hardest things to achieve and maintain. Even the spiritual leaders, whom we put our faith/trust are challenged from time to time to stay on track with belief. Example: We pray and have faith that a loved one will pull through an illness or injury, only to find out they succumb to that trauma. When this happens, how many of us question our faith? Do we get mad? Do we even find ourselves cursing the God we believe in? Do we throw faith from the proverbial window or do we gather ourselves and understand that God is not on our time or understanding?
Let’s put ourselves (Wow, I am using the word ourselves a lot) in the mix. How many people believe and have faith in us? Family, friends, loved ones and spouses. How many have we let down? We surely didn’t mean to, and we surely tried our best not to. But it happens. Faith is not an exacting science. We are mere mortals. Just as our emotions go up and down, so does our faith. And even when you question your faith and God specifically, he still loves you and is patient in your faith walk.
Matthew 7:7-8 says, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.”
But even in this you must have faith that what you ask for will be given. Ask with conviction. Make your plea and lay it at his feet. If you ask, don’t do it yourself. We were given free will and if he sees you are trying to do it yourself, he may let it happen. I am not an expert on faith. My own waxes and wanes, but I try to stay on track. And I have people that care and love me to keep me on track. Just as it is better to have a workout partner, it’s good to have a confidant as you make your faith walk.
I started the first paragraph with a snapshot of how my year has been. Now let me tell you where faith comes in. I have lost family members and close friends this year. Just today I attended the memorial service of one of those close friends. I have faith that those I lost are with the Father in Heaven and have no more pain or suffering. On top of that, all our kids and grandkids are well and healthy. Actually our newest grandson was born in July.
As for my unexpected financial decisions, I’ve made moves to correct them, and I have faith they are handled. My small business has had ups and downs. Again I have faith that it is only a season, and if I weather the storm, I will come out on the other side. And about that frustrating and crazy business with Airbnb on Thanksgiving. We were able to spend a few satisfying hours with family and the next day everyone made it safely back home.
So as we walk towards 2023, through the proverbial door, have faith that what you want for this coming year is achievable. Faith increases and decreases, but as long as you don’t lose it, anything is possible!
Thank you for joining me for Friday at Sundown. Remember… Just Breathe!
(Disclaimer: We do not own the rights to the motivational speech in this video)
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