“Follow Me one step at a time. That is all that I require of you.
Keep your mind on the present journey, enjoying My Presence.
Walk by faith, not by sight, trusting Me to open up the way before you.”
—from Jesus Calling, February 1
Jesus left us with a lot of promises: words of hope, encouragement, plenty of instruction. Yet one thing Jesus said we probably wish He hadn’t was that trials are sure to come.
“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
As you know, trials come in all shapes and sizes—financial insecurity, sickness, infertility, the loss of a loved one. While we might be overwhelmed by them, trials can also be great opportunities to put our faith to the test. Trials refine and reveal our faith.
Several years ago, we encountered such a test when my father-in-law passed away suddenly in an automobile accident. Nearly two years later, my mother-in-law took her last breath as she opened her eyes to all that Jesus has in store for those who believe.
Trials have a way of turning our world upside down, whether we see them coming or not.
Although they are now together in heaven, at the time, my father-in-law left behind a wife of 49 years. My mother-in-law Betty was no stranger to trials. Like all of us, she had her stories of successes and sorrows.
In the months that followed my father-in-law’s tragic accident, I was reminded over and over that suffering not only refines who we are, but also reveals who we are. Trials uniquely prove the “genuineness” of our faith (1 Peter 1:7). On numerous occasions, I witnessed my mother-in-law speaking of God’s faithfulness, grace, and provision.
Though she was many years removed from raising her own children, my mother-in-law continued to leave them a legacy with the way she handled the circumstances God placed before her. Betty’s faith and her faithfulness were a great witness to those around her. Like so many who have gone before us, she, too, was leaving a legacy of faith.
As I watched Betty grieve her husband yet continue to walk in faith, I couldn’t help but think of one of my favorite chapters in the Bible: Hebrews 11. It is a chapter that records the lives of many who trusted the Lord in the trials of life. Hebrews 11 begins in this way:
“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.”
It is not an accident that the writer of Hebrews records the faith of “the ancients” before their faithfulness. One has to come before the other.
Legacy begins not with living, but with believing.
This becomes the refrain of Hebrews 11. “By faith . . . by faith . . . by faith . . . by faith . . . by faith.” It is not hard to see how the legacies in Hebrews 11 would read so much differently if we reversed their faith. For example, we might read, “By his lack of faith, Noah did not build an ark. By his lack of faith, Abraham did not go. By their lack of faith, Moses’ mother did not hide him.” It would be a rather unimpressive chapter! What we see is that a legacy of faithfulness begins with a legacy of faith (or belief), a deep conviction that God is who He says He is and will do what He has promised.
Recently, I have been challenged to reconsider not just what I am doing, but the legacy of what I am believing. I have four sets of eyes watching and remembering the faith that I act out in the here and now.
When my husband first heard his father had died, he rushed to be with his mom. When he walked into the room to see her, he was struck by the words she spoke. She talked of God’s character and His promises.
It was her faith in who God was that allowed her to walk through what God had for her.
A life of faith leads to a legacy of faithfulness. In this moment of anguish her story read, “By faith, Betty believed God and found Him to be true in grace and goodness.” Her faith in God’s character led to faithfulness in her circumstances. Little did she know, others were watching and listening.
Today, our family faces yet another trial as my husband battles cancer. This excerpt from the daily devotional Jesus Calling reminds me of how Jesus wants us to walk during this time:
“Pour all of your energy into trusting Me. It is through trust that you stay connected to Me, aware of my presence. Every step on your life-journey can be a step of faith. Baby steps of trust are simple for you. Giant steps are another matter altogether. These feats require sheer concentration, as well as utter commitment to me.”
From Jesus Calling, September 25
Today, Jesus is calling you to take one step to simple surrender. In the midst of your circumstances, will you trust Jesus? Will you put your life and your future in His loving care?
Ruth Schwenk is the founder of The Better Mom, and along with her husband, Patrick, the creator of For the Family. She is a pastor’s wife, a mom of four energetic kids, a lover of coffee, and a dreamer of big dreams. She loves leading, speaking, and blogging. A graduate of Moody Bible Institute, Ruth is the coauthor of Hoodwinked and Pressing Pause. The Schwenks are the coauthors of For Better or for Kids. Ruth, Patrick, and their children live in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Ruth has coauthored a new book, Settle My Soul, available in stores March 26, 2019.