Ever since I became a Christian in 1977 I’ve had a hunger to grow in my faith.
The reason I’ve known I’m not where God wants me to be in matters of faith is I’ve seen others with greater faith than me. I think of Corrie ten Boom and Joni Eareckson Tada.
It’s easy to say, “I have faith.” But what is faith? Hebrews 11:1 (NIV) gives a definition I often turn to.
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what do not see.
I confess at times I’m not sure—times when my faith feels small. I’m still bound on occasion to depending on what I see rather than on what God says.
In Hebrews 11:2 in the Amplified Bible it says faith = trust and holy fervor. In my KJV concordance it says faith is “reliance.”
So faith is having confidence, trust, holy fervor. It’s relying on God and believing what He says even if my senses don’t agree.
Someone has compared faith in our lives to having a leaky balloon. We can have moments of great faith, and then suddenly it seems our faith deflates. That’s why I need to be in the Word often and praying and being around others who have faith.
It’s also why I go to women’s retreats where my faith can be built up. My favorite woman’s retreat is Growth in Faith. When I first moved to Florida, I was a new Christian, and was floundering in my faith. This annual retreat over these many years has helped me to grow in trusting God and believing in His faithfulness.
I remember one year at the retreat as we sang, “Great is Thy Faithfulness,” I looked around the sanctuary and saw friends I knew who had faced troubles and traumas in their lives. I thought of how God had been faithful to sustain them through difficult times.
Then I looked at my own life and realized that despite my traumas—my sister’s suicide, difficulties in my marriage, severely mentally ill relatives, a battle with depression and more–God had also been faithful to me. I saw that God used these to help me grow in faith, but only as I embraced His perspective of my difficulties.
Growth in Faith has helped me regain a godly perspective on life’s problems. And by attending I’ve been encouraged to pass along that view of life to others.
Growth in Faith women’s retreat after taking two years off is returning to the Tampa Bay area. And I’m excited about attending. The retreat will be at St Paul United Methodist Church in Largo, Florida on Saturday, February 26th. The theme is Overflowing with Hope. I still battle hope issues, so I know God will speak to me through the speaker and soloist.
I feel grateful to have somewhere to go to get recharged and renewed in my faith and grow closer to total reliance on the Lord. Yes, I have Bible studies, but there’s something about having hundreds of women from different denominations, churches, cultures, races together for a common purpose that is so much more than a weekly Bible study. Every time I’m there, I sense God’s presence in such a real way. And He speaks to me, calms me, comforts me, confronts me. And I am changed.
How about you? Are you growing in your faith? Or are you wondering what happened to the faith you once had? Maybe a retreat is what you need to have your faith revived, so you can start growing again. For those who live in the Tampa Bay area visit www.growthinfaith.org for more information. For those out of the area, I pray God will lead you to a retreat or a woman’s Bible study that will help you to grow in faith.