I’ve been thinking about my faith lately. Looking back over the last 6 years I’ve noticed that there are a lot of ups and downs in my walk with the Lord. There were times when I was on the top of the mountain – conquering all – and joyfully giving the glory to God. Then there were the seasons when I was trudging through the valley – discouraged by life – crawling my way back to hope. I guess that’s just part of life here on earth. We’re not there yet. We haven’t made it to heaven where there are no tears. We’re still struggling through the day to day grind.
I remember my first year as a Christian. I was on cloud nine. I felt like nothing could get me down – I was a child of the King afterall! I have saved all the emails that John and I exchanged while he was at VMI and I was still in school at ODU. We dated for 3 months before I came to faith and the change in those emails astonishes me. Suddenly they were filled with joyful exclamations of how beautiful the day was, or a new verse I had discovered that was just amazing to me, or a new worship song I learned and had been humming all day. John’s emails read very much the same way. We both felt this supernatural joy over that first year.
I’ll never forget a phone call with him, though. He had been sharing all this with a buddy of his at VMI. Andy had been walking with the Lord for a long time. He told John that he was so happy about our new faith, and he knew how awesome it was to us. But, he wanted to tell John that it wouldn’t always feel this way. He told him that right now we’re on top of the mountain, but there will come a day when we’ll be in the valley and God is just as much in the valley as on top of the mountain. I remember feeling like Andy was crazy when I heard that. I thought – nothing will alter this feeling of abundant joy! I truly thought that now that I was a Christian I would always feel so good … every.single.day. I have new respect for Andy … he was right.
Maybe God protected me my first year. Maybe He put a hedge up and didn’t allow Satan near me. Maybe He wanted to just let me enjoy HIM purely for a little bit – to give me time to get to know Him. After that first year the hardships came. John and I got married 15 months after my conversion. We had to trust God like never before. John only had a part time job – we had no home, no insurance, no substantial income… and we were getting married in 3 weeks. But the Lord had spoken to John that he would get the full time job at VMI and we sensed a need to stand firm in that. People thought we were crazy. We had no backup plan – we just stood on faith. We signed a lease on an apartment we couldn’t afford without full time work. 3 days later John was offered the full time position. God is good – but boy did I spend a lot of time in tears over that stretch of faith! A year later as I lay in the hospital trying to process that my child had died in my belly, I knew in a moment that my life and faith was forever changed. I was in the valley like I’d never been before. This was a long season of despair, discouragement and doubt. Yet, the crazy thing is – I felt God the most then. I was aware of His presence almost constantly. It was just different. I didn’t feel the happiness I did before, but I still felt my Savior.
This is how life has been. Up and down. I still have seasons where I’m just not sure where God is. I know in my mind and heart that He’s always with me, but I just can’t feel Him sometimes. I only feel a disconnect that I don’t understand. But, that’s what faith is. “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1 If we are in the valley, and cannot feel or see God to save our lives, but we still know that He’s with us… that’s the definition of faith.