Frustrated, I shoved the crumbly soybean mixture into the pan. Meatloaf, again. Soybean meatloaf, at that! No matter how I prepared it, the loaf always came out the same. Dry and tasteless. I sat down in tears.
“Where are You, Lord? Don’t You care that we’ve had to eat this stuff for weeks on end? I know I’m supposed to be grateful, but this is getting ridiculous!”
I wiped my hands on a kitchen towel, grabbed my purse and keys, and fled to the car. I’ll drive. Anywhere. It doesn’t matter. Just to get out of here for awhile.
As I gripped the steering wheel, hot tears streamed down my face. I didn’t care what other drivers thought as I cried out to God to help my husband and me.
“Lord, You know our financial situation. We’ve just moved into a city where we don’t know a soul. We have a baby, no jobs, and no food, well, except for soybeans. Please, Lord, show us You care. Do something!”
Back home, my husband looked up from his seminary studies as I slammed the screen door. My blotchy, red face gave me away. His concern was evident.
“What’s wrong?” He rose to console me.
“I’m just so weary of having to make food stretch, of not knowing how we’re going to cover bills and our next grocery trip.”
Chuck took me by the hand and led me to the couch. He dropped to his knees, pulling me down beside him.
“Let’s pray,” he simply said. And pray we did. Fervently.
As if on cue, the phone rang on the final “Amen.” Chuck’s parents were on the other end.
“Thought we’d call and see if you guys need anything,” Chuck’s dad said. “Do you need any money to tide you over for awhile?”
Chuck and I had been committed to making it on our own, without our parents’ intervention, but this seemed like a direct answer from the Lord. Mom’s and Dad’s gift was just the faith lift we needed in answer to our earnest prayer.
That was 32 years ago. Through the years we have recorded other precious faith lifts God has given us during times when we needed His care and provision. Our family journal lists multiple memorial stones of God’s faithfulness. We have discovered four areas over the years that have been faith lifters. Perhaps you too will find them uplifting for your faith.
1) Answered prayer boosts faith. James 5:16b says, “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” There is no greater shot in the arm for faith than answered prayer! It reaffirms that God is in His heaven, that He cares for His children, and hears and bears their every care.
2) Suffering tests faith. James 1:2-3 says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.” The path to spiritual maturity is the path of pain. We don’t have to live long to know that this world is full of heartache and trouble. While I had experienced some of that, I knew suffering to a greater degree when we lost our second child. Anger blocked my view of God. Honesty with Him opened the door to healing which caused me to search the scriptures for comfort and direction. My faith grew as a result of my pain.
3) Sharing affirms faith. James 2:26 says, “As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.” Even in the bleakest moments of doubt, when I have ventured to open my mouth for the Lord or extend a hand to the needy, I have felt my faith renewed. Proclaiming faith in word and deed makes us stronger spiritually.
4) Accountability encourages faith. James 5:16a says, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” Although I have baulked at times in my Christian journey about opening up to other sisters in Christ concerning my sins and weaknesses, when I do, I feel a sense of liberation. I am not alone. Others have walked where I have walked. Others struggle with similar issues. When I have asked God for sisters I can trust, who understand my bondage, He has provided. In them, He has put on flesh and come alongside of me to comfort, convict, encourage, and redirect. Accountability encourages faith to flicker and flame.
Do you need a faith lift today? Perhaps God wants to provide what you need through answered prayer, suffering, sharing, or an accountability partner. Look up; look within; then look around to see the ways God may be boosting, testing, affirming, and encouraging your faith.
Eileen Rife, author of Second Chance, conducts marriage seminars with her husband. She is currently working on her fifth novel, Laughing with Lily, and a gift book of cute kid quips titled, Wit & Wisdom from the Wee Ones, inspired by her six grandchildren. www.eileenrife.com, www.eileen-rife.blogspot.com.