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NOT WITHOUT FAITH
by Cindy Grasso
Student Ministries | Speaker | Author

The day my brother called to tell me he was getting married I was thrilled. He asked me if I would be there, and I said, “Absolutely, nothing would stop me”.

The plan was to drive back home to Vegas after spending Christmas with my in-laws in Northern California. Then I’d fly out the next afternoon to Vancouver for my brother’s wedding on Sunshine Island.

The morning we were supposed to leave our car mysteriously died. It shouldn’t take very long to fix they said. It was an electrical problem not a mechanical one they said.  We spent the entire day waiting at the mechanic’s, trying to keep our boys occupied while they tried to fix this simple problem.

The bigger problem was that the longer we delayed our 12-hour drive back to Vegas, the greater the chance I would miss my flight to Canada.  Talk about stress.  Should I call my brother and tell him I can’t make it? No. I want to be there. I have to be there. I believe God will make a way.  The car did get fixed that day, but only in time to drop me off at the airport for a late flight to Vegas without my family.

I landed in Vegas a bit after midnight and after an expensive taxi ride home, crawled into bed around 1:30 am. I woke up in a cold, quiet, lonely house, only to discover that I couldn’t find my birth certificate (which I needed to board the flight). I spent the next few hours frantically tearing apart the home office. I found it!

Then I discovered that my credit card had expired. I am not making this up. The new credit card was in the mail that was being held at the Post Office. I had no car. I could walk to the Post Office, which was only about a half-mile away. On a nice day, it was a nice walk. This was not a nice day, and it was not a nice walk. Should I give up? Call my brother and tell him I couldn’t be there? No. I want to be there. I have to be there. God will make a way.

The air was frigid and the wind was wicked. Every step I took was difficult. I had a hard time seeing with all the dust flying around.  I hunched my shoulders, put my head down and walked straight into the violent windstorm all the way to the Post Office. The new, non-expired credit card was there! I walked back. I got a friend to give me a ride to the airport. I didn’t give up. God was making a way.

I was so relieved when the plane touched down in Vancouver that I almost cried. Then I did cry when I went to rent a car at the airport. My credit card was not expired, but that didn’t really matter since there was not enough room on it to rent a car. Bobby had paid the bill, but it hadn’t cleared . . . yet.

I was so done. I wanted to melt into a puddle of discouragement right there on the concrete floor of the parking garage and cry myself to sleep. At every turn, there seemed an opportunity to throw in the towel and just say it was too hard. Give up. Turn around. Go home. But God had gotten me this far.  He could get me all the way. God was making a way.

I ended up hitching a ride with a couple of my brother’s friends that happened to be in the city that night and were going to the wedding the next day. I gratefully slept on a half deflated air mattress on their floor that night, was crunched in a little car with four strangers for the majority of the next day (who were delightful by the way) and finally arrived at the little B&B on Sunshine Island in time to see my brother get married.

Nothing about getting to my brother’s wedding was easy.  At every obstacle, I had to ask myself if I wanted to go forward or turn around. I had to choose to believe God could make the impossible possible. I had to choose not to quit and fight for the vision God had given me–to see my brother get married.

In the end, it was totally worth it.  As I watched my brother promise to love and care for his beautiful bride, I didn’t give a thought to how hard it had been to get there.  I was simply glad nothing had stopped me from being a part of it.

By the time the disciples were facing their own violent windstorm on the Sea of Galilee in Matthew Chapter 14, they had already faced a day full of more ups and downs than I had on my journey to see my brother get married.

  • They got news that John the Baptist had been beheaded. Matt. 14:10-12
  • They went with Jesus to a remote place to grieve and regroup in solitude. Matt. 14:13
  • Thousands of people searching for Jesus followed them to that remote place, solitude become obsolete. Matt. 14:14
  • Thousands of people got hungry. The disciples watched Jesus look up to heaven, say thank you and feed the hungry multitude from a small lunch donated by a small boy (and have 12 baskets of food left over). Matt. 14:15-21
  • Then Jesus told them to go on ahead without Him. He withdrew. They obeyed. Matt. 14:22
  • They hit a violent windstorm in the middle of the night where they thought they had lost their minds and saw a ghost walking on the water. They were freaking out when they heard a familiar voice call to them, “It is I, don’t be afraid.” 14:27
  • They watched Peter do the impossible and walk on water. Then they watched him do the expected and sink in it. They watched Jesus PULL Peter up and bring him back to the boat alive. Matt.14:28-32
  • They saw Jesus more clearly than they ever had in their entire lives. Matt. 14:32-33
  • They got to their destination. Matt 14: 34

Not one thing that happened that day was easy. At every step, quitting probably seemed like a good option. Stopping probably seemed like a good idea. Whenever I read Matthew 14:13, “As soon as Jesus heard the news, he left in a boat to a remote area to be alone”, I can almost feel the grief rolling off of Him. All He wanted was a moment alone and instead turned to see the multitudes coming for Him.  And this was how His day started.

This is where I see the passion of Jesus rise up. This is where I see the compassion of Jesus to reach out. This is where I see His determination to let nothing stop Him from doing what His Father had given Him to do. This is where I see the faith of Jesus in action.

We often think that faith makes following God easy, but Jesus and His disciples show us the truth–faith in God doesn’t make following Him easier, it makes it possible. Faith doesn’t give up. Faith overcomes. Faith isn’t determined by feelings but by the vision.

Faith doesn’t say, “I will only go forward if God makes it easy”.

Faith says, “ I will go forward because God will make a way”.

Imagine what God will do with a church that says, “Nothing will stop us,” instead of “Make it easy and we will do it”.

Nothing about doing what God is asking you to do will be easy.  At every obstacle that comes up, you are going to have to ask yourself if you want to go forward or turn around. You are going to have to choose to believe God can make the impossible possible. You are going to have to choose not to quit but to fight for the vision God has given you.

This is where the passion of Jesus rises up within you. This is where the compassion of Christ moves you. This is where His determination to let nothing stop you will challenge you to go forward with what God has given you to do. This is where you will see the faith of Jesus in action in your life . . . when it gets hard . . . when it looks impossible.

You can’t do it without faith, and God isn’t asking you to.

And as you watch what God can do with your little, how He can impact the world with your sacrifice, how this very community will be changed because you chose to step out in faith, your focus won’t be on how hard it has been to do but on how thankful you are that you get to be a part of it.

God has amazing things planned for us in the future and not one of them will be done without faith.


PRAYER AND REFLECTION:

How has your faith been challenged to grow during this season?
How is God asking you to step out in faith today?
Which of the following scriptures help remind you to push through when the going gets tough: James 1:3-4, Hebrews 11:1 or Phil.4:11-14?