It’s funny what sticks with you through the years. I received a flip calendar with quotes from Dr. James Dobson’s books and correspondence accompanied by daily scripture as a wedding gift many years ago.
Although the marriage has long since gone the way of the dodo, the flip calendar with its pertinent words still sits next to my kitchen sink. Its pages are a little worse for the wear having been splashed by its fair share of soapy water through the years, but they are still flipped everyday.
When my son was small there was one page that struck me. In it Dobson wrote something to the effect that you need to instill as much reverence and respect for you in your children when they are small which will build an attitude of love and respect in them towards you, because you will need to call on every ounce of that reservoir when they get older.
I have never forgotten that page or its corresponding scripture, “For this God is our God for ever and ever; He will be our guide even to the end.” Psalm 48:14.
My son hasn’t quite hit the teenage years, but looking around at others and the relationships they’re in, no matter what form they take, I can see how a foundation of love and respect well laid over the years can help any relationship make it. It’s not something that happens over night, the building of this foundation, even if you have a really good start with someone it takes a while to establish a solidity to it.
This is a very much how God is in building our faith in Him. Scripture says that He gives each of us a measure of faith. I imagine that’s because all of us do have different roles in the kingdom and those different roles require a different measure of faith.
Let’s face it, the measure of faith needed to exist in the U.S. as a believer where it is still tolerated to be so, is very different from the measure of faith required to be a believer in other parts of the world where they are dying for their faith.
Even so, because we are all different and our relationships with Him are different, the faith needed by each one of us to cling to Him is very different, whether it involves making life decisions that will separate you out from others around you in a tolerant country, or cost you your physical life.
That faith is built through the experience of knowing Him, going through experiences where we have to rely on Him no matter what and making the choice to do so. These are not easy times in our lives, usually they involve a lot of unexpected twists, turns and upheavals so we don’t know which end is up or which end is down, we only know we either cling to Him or are lost.
Yet, there are those people who will do just that, stop clinging to him and be lost because the experiences that God uses to lay our foundation in Him and build our faith in Him seem to be too much for them, so they let go.
No matter how painful, uncomfortable or grievous situation’s are to us in the here and now, sometimes they are just a matter of Him building our measure of faith because we’re going to need every ounce of it in the future.
“Cling to your faith in Christ, and keep your conscience clear. For some people have deliberately violated their consciences; as a result, their faith has been shipwrecked.”
1 Timothy 1:19