We’ve all heard of “blind trust,” of stepping forward in faith, believing what lies ahead is better than what we’re leaving behind.
Faith is easy to define, but never easy to live out.
I think of the Israelites being led out of Egypt and into the desert. Surely the desert, unfamiliar though it was, held something better for them than the life of slavery and persecution they were leaving behind. So why did they struggle to step out in faith? At the first sign of trouble, they cried out in fear. When they tired of the desert, they grumbled and complained, longing for their days of bondage.
Why do we not walk by faith?
I have sojourned through significant seasons of “blind trust” many times in my life, one of them quite recently. Last year my husband was compelled to resign from his pastoral position at our church. He had been held captive by depression and anxiety, much of it triggered by his circumstances at work. He couldn’t carry on without great risk to himself. While I knew it made sense to leave a life of struggle, our future was unknown. Like the Israelites, we had no plan for what came next, but we knew we couldn’t stay where we were. We stepped out in faith and followed God into the desert, far away from the familiar life of full-time ministry. For six long months we wandered in our own metaphorical wilderness. We had no paycheck, no direction, and no end in sight. There were many times we doubted our decision. As we watched our savings account deplete, we wondered if God would provide. We longed for our life of stability, hard as it had been.
Walking by faith asks us to trust in what we cannot see when we’re used to trusting because we can see.
It’s difficult to reverse this way of thinking. Like the Israelites, we often look behind us and see the enemy hot on our trail. Then we look around us and see nothing but a barren desert. We question whether we made the right decision to follow God’s call to the wilderness where we see no signs of protection or provision. What’s to keep us putting one foot in front of the other, blindly trusting a God who has not revealed His plan to us? But, that’s when we see the pillar.
“By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people,” (Exodus 13:21-22, NIV). God’s presence took the form of a pillar of cloud and fire to serve as a steadfast reminder to the Israelites that He was with them. By day or by night, He never left them. When their faithed dwindled and they failed to remember what God had saved them from, the pillar was ever-present, guiding them one step at a time.
The presence of God did not mean the Israelites had it easy.
The desert was hot, dry, and dusty. God provided them with water and food to sustain them, not overindulge them. He gave them just enough to survive each day, requiring them to trust Him all over again the next morning. The pillar served as God’s reminder He had not abandoned them. The landscape around them was bleak, not bountiful, so the presence of God had to be sufficient.
When my husband resigned, we had no choice but to trust God one day at a time. It was uncomfortable. We spent half a year waiting, worrying, but never wanting. The money miraculously never ran out. God provided what we needed, never more and never less. My husband received the help and rest he required. We drew closer as a family. We never once forgot our need for God,, despite our fear and doubt. When we remembered to fix our eyes on Him we were met with overwhelming peace in His presence. God’s faithfulness spurred us to be faithful too.
The reward of walking by faith is always worth the struggle.
The Israelites were eventually gifted a land overflowing with milk and honey, the land God promised them. My husband eventually returned to full-time ministry as a pastor in our home state of California. We returned to family and dear friends with healthier minds and a renewed faith. Our time in the desert was short-lived compared to the Israelite’s, but it was no less significant. Every minute of our wandering was worth it in the end.
The ultimate reward of our faith will be our heavenly home. When the apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians about living by faith, not by sight, he was talking about the hope of heaven. When we face earthly trouble and feel like all is lost, we are to fix our eyes on our heavenly home, where we will be given relief from all the pain and trials of this world.
We need to keep walking, keep putting one foot in front of the other for all the days He has ordained for us on this earth, knowing that heaven awaits us.
God does not promise it will be easy, but His presence never leaves us and His provision never fails. By day or by night He will guide us, all the days of our lives, as we walk by faith.
~Anne Imboden, Blogger
Anne is a pastor’s wife, adoptive mama, and a blogger. The only things she loves more than coffee are her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, her incredible cheerleader of a husband, and her two gorgeous kids. She is known by her friends for her gifts of sarcasm, wit, authenticity, and encouragement (in that order). She is an imperfect woman living for a perfect God. Want to read more from Anne? Subscribe to her blog: GloryInTheGrind.com.