“Faith is believing that God is who He says He is and He will do what He has promised.”
That explanation of faith has stuck with me for the last couple of years. I want that kind of confidence in Christ. I want to believe He is who He says He is, and He will indeed do what He has promised.
A couple years ago, I faced several situations that allowed me to put my faith into practice. It was a time where everything I had counted on fell apart, leaving me so empty that all I could do was have faith. As I started to practice my “faith,” I realized that it was more than a feeling and a positive thought of hope. I started realizing I didn’t really understand what faith meant.
Before I go on, I should mention that I grew up in church, got baptized, knew all the Hillsong songs, and bought the t-shirts. So when I realized that I didn’t know what real faith was, it was quite a frustrating moment. This was a point in my life when I needed God to show up. I couldn’t have Him be silent; this was not the time for that. I was angry with God’s lack of communication with me. I felt God had turned His back on me and He was nowhere to be found. I prayed and I cried for Him to show up and He remained silent. I felt lost and confused as to who God really was.
A few months later I believe God showed up, but it wasn’t the way I expected.
I listened to a preacher by the name of Francis Chan talk about how important it was to read your Bible. He said, “You need to really know who God is and who you are following. If not, how do you know what I’m saying here is true? How do you know if you don’t read your Bible?”
I didn’t think much about it at first. It wasn’t one of those sermons where you listen, get super pumped, and go feed the homeless the next day. I just listened. I was going through so much at the time that everything was a big blur. Even thinking about it now, I can’t quite recall how it all happened, but somewhere along the way I was urged to read my Bible.
So, I read. I’m not even sure where I started, but I read, at the Starbucks in Lafayette, Colorado. Eventually, I did get a study Bible that went more in depth about what each verse meant.
This was surprising for a lot of reasons, but mainly because I had tried this before and it never worked for me. It’s not that this time I read it and I suddenly understood everything; I most certainly did not (hence me getting a study Bible). The only difference was that this was my last shot. It was all I had left. Everything else had failed me. It was a process that I’m still learning; I’m barely starting to scratch the surface of who my Creator is and about who I was created to be. The more I learned, the more I used the Bible as a weapon to protect myself from my own thoughts and desires. I even started to enjoy journaling.
Four journals, one Bible, and 3 years later, my life was forever changed.
See, believing that God is who He says He is and believing in His promises is great, unless you don’t know who God is and what He has promised. I have been to church 23 years of my life and I can tell you this was a turning point for me. After Jim and Scott had said all they could, the pick-me-up phrases had done their five-minute job of hope, friends had given as much support as they could, and I had cried all I could cry, it came down to God and me, and I can assure you that had I not picked up that book, I would’ve spent the rest of my life looking for something I had never seen or experienced no matter how many times I went to church. The more I learn about God’s character, the more I feel eager to learn more. Because as it turns out, it is true, God is a fountain that never runs dry. There is always more.
The verse below really stands out to me because we are often referred to as sheep, and God as our Shepherd. Sheep are not the smartest of animals, but read what it says the sheep do.
“The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of the strangers”.
Sheep can differentiate between the voice of their shepherd and a stranger. That’s important! They know it because they’ve heard it before; they’ve spent enough time with him. They know they can trust him and they know not to trust a stranger.
Imagine what our lives would be like if we took the focus off our own lives and look more into His life and the lives He left for us to read about. You see, Jim, Scott and Francis Chan are all great, intelligent teachers, but they are nothing if they don’t study who God is.
Faith is great, but it’s more than an inspirational word. Faith is knowing and believing, and letting that shape the rest of your life. Let that sink in. I’m not a preacher, and I can’t tell you every Bible story in the book. But this is what my heart beats for, for us women to really know our Creator and through that, to become the creation He intended us to be. Because what other reason are we in this world for?
Jamina Carbajal is 23 and was born in Peru, where her dream was to learn English. She’s been to 10 countries, is passionate about learning about Jesus, and fútbol (otherwise known as soccer).