Had not the LORD been with us, let Israel say, Had not the LORD been with us, when people rose against us, they would have swallowed us alive, for their fury blazed against us. The waters would have engulfed us, the torrent overwhelmed us; seething waters would have drowned us. Blessed be the LORD, who did not leave us to be torn by their fangs. We escaped with our lives like a bird from the fowler’s snare; the snare was broken and we escaped. Our help is the name of the LORD, the maker of heaven and earth (Palm 124:1-8).
So we are always courageous, although we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).
Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1).
Be on your guard, stand firm in the faith, be courageous, be strong (1 Corinthians 16:13).
No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him, and I will raise him on the last day (John 6:44).
In the previous article, we described the importance of growing in holiness as Catholic Men. Closely related to growing in holiness is growing in faith, which is the subject of this article. Of course, there’s nothing like experiencing God’s power in delivering us from serious trouble. It can be so breathtaking at times that we can’t help but grow in our faith and join the psalmist in proclaiming that our help lies in the Lord, the creator of all (Psalm 124:8). But the real challenge is to be able to “walk by faith” (2 Corinthians 5:7) and proclaim God’s praises a few weeks later, when the next challenge comes our way, the circumstances are difficult, and the solution is “not seen” (Hebrews 11:1)!
In many ways, our lives are an ongoing progression. Our education starts when we are young, but we keep on building on what we have learned until the day we die. Similarly, the training we receive early on in our jobs can continue over our whole career. And as you might expect, God wants us to “stand firm in the faith” (1 Corinthians 16:13), so our faith will grow and progress as well. He wants us to keep building our “database” of faith throughout our lives, based on all the times he has worked powerfully in us. He wants us to expand our knowledge of his ways based on the lessons that come from trusting him through a difficult trial and seeing him work victoriously.
This is what the psalmist experienced. He and his fellow Israelites were under a threat from their enemies. So great was the danger that it felt as if a torrent of raging water were about to sweep over them. In this dire situation, they cried out to the Lord and were saved. Surely these people had been told that God was faithful. They probably had some experience of his faithfulness beforehand. But now they had experienced it in an extreme way! Now it was permanently logged into their brains as uncontested evidence of God’s power, his love, and his steadfastness. This is why the psalmist gives his testimony of faith at the very beginning of the psalm by proclaiming: “Had not the Lord been with us . . .” (Psalm 124:1).
Today, take a look at your own database of faith. Call to mind and write down all the ways God has blessed you, healed you, and rescued you over the years. Recall how God the Father drew you to his Son (John 6:44) – perhaps in a dramatic conversion experience and/or as an ongoing process of increasing faith. Take the time to put these and other events in writing. That way, you can turn to them for encouragement when the next challenge comes along. This will allow you to form the habit of turning to Lord and putting your faith in him in difficult situations. Then you too will proclaim, “Had not the Lord been with me.”
“Father of heaven and earth, thank you for your faithfulness over all these years. Thank you for drawing me to your beloved Son. Thank you for all the times you have rescued me, taught me, and loved me. Help me to use this knowledge to walk with you in faith today and always.”
Many thanks to The Word Among Us (www.wau.org) for allowing me to adapt meditations in their monthly devotional magazine. Used with permission.
Questions for Reflection/Discussion by Catholic Men
- Take some time to meditate and reflect on the Scriptures at the beginning of the article. What do you think God is trying to reveal to you through them?
- The opening paragraph states that it is easy to see our faith grow when we are “experiencing God’s power in delivering us from serious trouble.” How would you describe your ability to “walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7) when things aren’t going your way? What have you learned from these difficult times?
- What are the some events in your life, whereby you can proclaim: “Had not the Lord been with me”?
- The article goes on to describe the importance of “building our ‘database’ of faith throughout our lives”. Why do you think this is important? Are you doing it? What steps can you take to increase your recall of this database so you can grow in faith, especially during challenging situations?
- Take some time now to pray that your faith would continue to grow as you put your faith in the Lord and recall the many ways he has “blessed you, healed you, and rescued you over the years.” Use the prayer at the end of the meditation as the starting point.