How Much Faith Do I Need to Cure an Illness?

Companion Blog Post for the Journal

September: A Month of Faithfulness

Concept Week 3

Write Your Life With Grace, Fruit of the Spirit Guided Journal (October, 2016)

“Faith opens the door for miracles to happen.”

At 2:00 a.m. this morning I awoke with familiar pain. My immediate response? “Please, God, not again. I’m begging you. Not. Again. Please. Take it away.”

I’m at the tail-end of a three-week-and-counting stint of my third round of pneumonia (my lungs are seriously out to get me) and here comes bladder infection #432. I’ve been getting them since I was four years old. In fact, I spent a week in the hospital at the age of four so they could look for my second kidney. After many traumatic explorations (this was 1971), they found it hiding out in the front. Weird anatomy should be my sub-heading. Begging for healing has become my default.

In the two hours of lost sleep, aside from looking for my stock of pain pills and making six trips to the bathroom and telling the dog ‘we’re not getting up yet, go back to sleep’ and marveling that my husband snored through the whole disturbance, I wrestled with God.

“You can heal me. You created me. I have faith in you. I believe you can heal me.” Uh-huh. And then I started laying out the situation to Him. As if He wasn’t already aware. “Look. I have barely been off the couch in three weeks. And now this? My mom and my husband are already freaked out enough. Why worry them even more? I will need more antibiotics. Don’t you know how bad it is for the human body to take all that crap?” And then I began reciting one of my favorite passages from John 15. The summary that I repeated over and over is this: “’If you remain in Me and I remain in you, ask for anything in My name and I will give it to you’…So, what I want, Lord, is for you to remove the infection immediately. I can’t work when I’m sick. I can’t do anything when I’m sick. I can’t be taking more antibiotics. Make me healthy.’”

What do I expect God to do in my life? Does He say that He is a genie in the sky?

This is where I have to tell myself to get a grip. And this is where I have to talk myself off the slide of despair. If what God says is true, that He is more interested in our character than our comfort, that we will have troubles in this world but He will overcome them all, that the point isn’t to get rid of problems or pain but to allow Him to mature us through them, then I have a choice to make.

Either, I must choose to believe Him (faith in His character) and put the pain to good use, look at it as a tool to grow my character and bless others, or, choose to be a victim, depressed, frustrated, and cranky.

Can I be honest? I really don’t want to keep going through this. It’s easier, and sometimes more fun, to complain and be angry. But if the goal is to leave a healthy emotional legacy, to develop a character that I will be proud to take with me when I meet my Maker, then I have no choice but to choose faith in God’s character as I trudge, yet again, through the doors of the doctor’s office. And I will try really hard not to cry as I look for my miracle.

*****UPDATE 32 hours later: Normally I am in a tremendous amount of pain for several days with these infections. The pain pill I took at 2:00 a.m. was the only one I needed. I’m on more antibiotics, but have zero pain. Faith opened the door for this miracle! God. Is. So. Good. I’m so grateful to Him for my health!

–Tara Schiro is the author of the upcoming release, Write Your Life With Grace, Fruit of the Spirit Guided Journal (October, 2016), and No Arms, No Legs, No Problem, the memoir of bronze-medal Paralympian (Quad Rugby), Bob Lujano. Amazon.com TaraSchiro.com

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How to Engage Faith Instead of Fear

Companion Blog Post to the Journal

“September: A Month of Faithfulness”

Concept Week 2

Write Your Life With Grace, Fruit of the Spirit Guided Journal (October, 2016)

Living with fear affects my life in negative ways.

“When I live life with fear instead of faith, I exaggerate my problems, underestimate my abilities, get discouraged, complain, give up, and blame God.” –Rick Warren

Fear is paralyzing. There is nothing worse than seeing your child in pain, or getting a phone call that your health or finances have tanked, or that your spouse is leaving, or that yet another terrorist attack or police shooting has occurred. And then there are political leaders, cyber-hackers, the registered sex-offender down the street, mental health issues, the Syrian refugees, hurricanes, earthquakes, famine, genocide; our world is broken. And it’s scary.

At the point of emotional paralysis during a tragedy, it doesn’t feel good when a well-meaning consoler says, “Just have faith.” Or they throw a Bible verse at you, like, “All things work together for good for those that love Him.” (Romans 8:28) At the time, it can feel trite and dismissive. As if we shouldn’t be feeling what we are feeling. As if the situation isn’t really that big of a deal.

There is a difference though, between a fearful situation and living with fear.

People who live with a fear-based mind-set can be controlling, insecure, critical, perfectionistic, defensive, judgmental, anxious, and have a victim mentality. Constant health issues become a problem. They wonder when the next crisis is going to hit. It’s not living; it’s surviving, and not very well because there is no anchor to hold onto. They are constantly tossed by the waves.

Faith is the opposite of fear and worry. From last week,

problem + faith (trusting in God’s character) = outcome

The key is God’s character and whether or not we trust Him with our life.

People who live with a faith-based mind-set will react to a fearful situation but will relax in the living because of Who God Is; He is in control, He is secure in His promises, He is stable and solid ground.

One of my favorite verses is, “Be strong and of good courage, Fear Not, for the Lord thy God will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6) That’s a promise that no matter what happens, we won’t sink or be destroyed. And with God, beauty comes from the ashes. Tragedy is never the final word. We can rest in His wisdom.

Once we allow Him to take over our life (which is different than simply saying “I believe”), life is actually easier and less frightening because He has our back. He’s watching out for us, going to bat for us, protecting us and providing for us. He adores us! So we can trust in God’s character and take joy in the outcome! Knowing that the right kind of faith will grow our character for bigger and better things.

–Tara Schiro is the author of Write Your Life With Grace, Fruit of the Spirit Guided Journal, October, 2016 and No Arms, No Legs, No Problem, the memoir of bronze-medal Paralympian (Quad Rugby) Bob Lujano. Amazon.com TaraSchiro.com

How to Bring Peace with the Right Definition of Faith

Companion blog post for the book:

 Write Your Life With Grace, Fruit of the Spirit Guided Journal (October, 2016)

September: A Month of Faithfulness

Concept Week 1

“The size of my faith prepares me for the size of my problems. If I have a small faith in a small god, my problems are bigger. If I have a big faith in a big God, my problems are smaller.”

Faith is one of those words that elicits eye-rolling and snickering. The connotation being that faith is equal to fluff; it’s a nice idea that makes a person feel better but doesn’t have the power to really DO anything.  Like, cure cancer, or, save a marriage, or, reverse financial ruin.

First, we misunderstand the definition. Faith is not desire or pretending a different reality or a feeling or a bargaining chip with God.

Second, we mistakenly insert our own desired solution. We want the cancer cured, the marriage saved, or the finances replenished.

So our version of faith might look something like this:

problem + faith (desire/feeling) = cured, saved, replenished.

This is when you hear people say they have lost their faith. They were putting their desire into the outcome they wanted and when it didn’t come true, they walk away from God as if He let them down. That isn’t real faith and that isn’t how God works.

Faith is about Who God Is. Faith is the action word between our problem and God’s character.

A dissertation could be written about God’s character as evidenced in the Bible, but the short version is this: The God of the Bible is good, faithful, trustworthy, all-knowing, all-seeing, protector, provider, counselor, wise, just, infinite, loving, personal, creator, judge, gentle, father, present, relevant, perfect, healer, redeemer, restorer, patient, etc.

So if faith is the action word between our problem and God’s character, then it looks something like this:

problem + faith (trusting in God’s character) = outcome

Notice the difference in these two equations. In the first equation, we decide what we want and then tell God we have faith He will make it happen. This makes God god, nothing more than a genie in a bottle. We take away his power to do our bidding (which doesn’t really work). In the second equation, God is God and the outcome is left to Him.

Scary?

Not if we put our trust in His character (see above). When we give our lives to God, and allow Him to take charge, He always does what’s best for us. Always. We may not understand His ways, or agree with His decisions, or enjoy His way of doing things, but His character is perfect. And ultimately, when we leave the outcome to God, knowing He will do what’s best, our stress level goes down and our sense of peace goes up. That’s the right kind of faith.

–Tara Schiro is the author of Write Your Life With Grace, Fruit of the Spirit Guided Journal, October, 2016, and No Arms, No Legs, No Problem, available on Amazon.com  TaraSchiro.com