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Faith on the End of a String

Often I find my faith likened to that of a yo-yo. Like a yo-yo, my faith springs up and down but more often than not, is left at its lowest point, when the player has lost control.

Recently, I feel that my faith has fallen to an all-time low. My prayers have become shorter and have lacked depth. Moreover, they have become more of a ritual than a necessity to life. Sometimes at church, I feel that I am so near God, yet my heart is so far from Him.

I never realized how much living away from home would change me. I never realized how difficult it is to be a student nor how difficult it is to maintain one’s faith. And I never realized how low one’s faith can get when we begin to lose track of it.

Whilst living at home, you could say that I had a stable faith, though it was far from being per­fect. During those times my relationship with God was like that of a mother and her child: it was inti­mate, close and loving. God was my constant all-time companion. I could never under­stand those who had to think twice about attending fellowships held during the week. To me these ser­vices were an opportunity for us to draw nearer to God; they were an opportune time for us to under­stand Him and ourselves more deeply. Surely everybody wanted to understand God more deeply?

I truly believed that if you gave your time up to God, then He would surely bless you. If only I could think in this way now. Sadly to say, I now find myself in the situ­ation where I am struggling within, undecided whether to attend Bible studies. As course work piled high and new friends were made, I began to lose sight of the real meaning of my existence. I became so caught up with my stud­ies that my prayers became shorter and my Bible readings were done in a haphazard manner. This in turn led to my faith falling to an all-time low.

I find it so difficult to pull myself up again. However, I truly thank God for loving me. During my times of weakness, He has strengthened me. In my times of sorrow He has comforted me. And when I have strayed far from Him, He has kind­ly followed me so that I may turn back to His loving arms. I feel so unworthy of His love!

One Sabbath, a brother delivered a ser­mon on the temptation of Christ. When he was talk­ing about the devil leading Jesus up the mountain, he said, “It is important to go back to the word of God, to examine ourselves, to see where we have gone wrong.” To see where we have gone wrong. These few words hit me and I frantically began to search myself, to see where I had gone wrong. When did my faith start to decline? Why did it decline? Why had I been so lax in my faith? Why had I gone astray? These questions continuously ran through my mind.

In the second temptation of Christ, Jesus was led by the devil through a series of stages. Firstly, he was taken up to the highest pinnacle of the moun­tain, then He was shown the world and lastly, he was told to bow down to worship the devil. Our journey of faith can also be seen in various stages; faith is something which is built up gradually, and not some­thing which is acquired overnight. Faith requires time to grow and to develop. It has to be shaped and molded before it can be perfected. In the same manner, the devil does not lure us away from Christ instantly - it is a gradual process. When our faith slackens, it does so pro­gressively. We must therefore seize hold of it before it slips slowly and quietly away from us.

As all those living away from home have probably came to realize, maintaining one’s faith is not easy. But we should remember that this period of ‘indepen­dence’ is a time when our loyalty in God is tested. It is an opportunity for us to re-establish our relationship with Him; a time when we begin to understand ourselves and Christ. During this time we seek to a high level of spirituality and we must remain alert at all times. Do not lose control of your faith and let it dangle at the end of a string. Keep the yo-yo firmly in your grasp. As a poem goes,

“It’s not always easy to fight the good fight,
it is always good,
And it is always right.”

May our faith continue to grow in Jesus Christ, as it becomes stronger and more mature as days go by.