Over the last several years I have noticed a recurring theme in my preaching and in my writing. This topic I describe as holding on tight to my faith when I feel like giving up. This issue has been stirred by numerous conversations with people of faith, especially men. I keep finding people who claim to have faith but refuse to do anything with it because of some painful story. As a result, I keep reminding people that real faith will make it through anything no matter how difficult it may seem.
1. Hold onto faith in the face of loss. This year I have faced the loss of my dad. It has been one of the most difficult experiences in my life. I know I am not alone in this. I am sure some of you have wondered how there can be a good God when someone you love is hurting or even passes away. Hold onto Jesus as the resurrection and the life.
2. Hold onto faith when Christians hurt you. Christians are deeply flawed people. I make no pretense that this is not true. We are sinners saved by grace. The cross removes all our sins, but it does not remove the possibility that we will sin again. Unfortunately, our old ways occasionally rise to the surface, and we say and do things that hurt other people. Sadly, it happens more often than you think. Real faith understands that only God is perfect and all of us need grace upon grace.
3. Hold onto faith when people criticize you. Maybe you have not been hurt by the sins of other Christians, but you have been hurt by their cutting words. They had tried to rebuke you or offer correction when they were wrong or misunderstood the situation. Faith does not put all of its trust in other people. It listens for the nugget of truth and throws out the rest.
4. Hold onto faith when you feel bad. There are times that life just gets hard. I don’t feel well, and I am hurting. When pain enters our life in any form, it has the possibility to push us away from faith. Hold on even when you hurt.
5. Hold onto faith when life is hard. Often our struggle is not because of one thing in our life. It is the result of a dozen little things. I was once told that termites destroy more homes than tornadoes. Many times, all of the little things eat away at our faith and do far more damage than some catastrophic event. Hold onto your faith no matter what is eating away at you.
I wish faith were an easy project for people. The reality is that nothing in life worth having is easy. Faith is no different. Sometimes having faith takes demanding work. Other times you have to hang onto your beliefs in spite of an ugly situation. I firmly believe that the Christian life is full of blessings upon blessings, but only if we hold on through the dark nights until the light of morning.