If someone came up to you and said “Wow, you've been through a lot,” what would your answer be? Not many are able to say, "Well, not really; my life's been easy—a cakewalk." What I hear mostly is, “Yeah, I have been through some hard times, and I'm having one right now!”
One thing is guaranteed: life changes as we go through it and we change as a result of it. It's during those changes when our faith ebbs and flows according to our circumstances. Gina, a woman I know, is a great example. She told me she never really had any faith until she got sick. “When I started to lose my vision,” she joked, “I had calluses on my knees. I was praying instead of watching my favorite show.” When she started to get better she said, “I spent less time on my knees but I was different— family was more important. I even called my sister who I hadn't spoken to in years and now we're close friends.”
The Bible also gives us countless examples of changes and stages we go through, like the journey of the Children of Israel. Here the Lord describes us perfectly: people who follow the Lord one day and get off track the next. After each breach of faith they would suffer the built-in consequences, recommit, and move on. As their journey evolved, so did their faith, until they were finally permitted to enter the Promised Land.
What are we to do when we feel our faith vaporizing and our previous steady emotional foothold crumbling? The Word teaches us to “go forward” as Moses did when leaving Egypt. Trapped by mountains on his left and right, the Red Sea looming in front of him, and the Egyptian army hot on his heels, there was only one direction for him to look— UP! But trying to build faith when we are scared doesn't work very well unless we already have an ongoing, established relationship with our Maker. I remember once seeing the red flashing lights of a police car behind me and telling God, “I promise I'll never speed again; I promise I'll never speed again,” but when the cop passed me by I watched the speedometer slowly creep back up again. “Deathbed repentance” relationships with God don't last— steady, quiet, daily conversations do.
If you're willing to stay on the path and go forward, the Lord will find you! Think of Simon Peter and his hard-working partners James and John, coming in from a long night of fishing. They were just doing their job, going through their daily, useful routine of trying to catch fish. Jesus said to Simon, “launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” Simon Peter, a man who knew his fish, responded, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing…nevertheless at your word I will let down the net.” The net became so full of fish the boat started to sink! Simon Peter wasn't looking for a miracle, he was just moving forward, doing his job and what he was told, and the Lord found him, and provided the means to faith— whereupon Peter fell down at Jesus' knees, “forsook all and followed Him" (Luke 5:1-11).
Wherever you are in your faith evolution, just remember you're not at your final destination. There's another stage waiting, another stepping stone leading you to a deeper and more meaningful connection with your Heavenly Father. Just keep moving and let Him “fill your net,” and get ready to fall on your knees when it does happen.