We helped raise our granddaughter so she was often with us, and one time we were walking through Queens. She was about five or six and a bit ahead of us. Then some junior hoodlums turned the corner ahead of us, and they were trying to look hard, and their jeans are falling off their backends. They’re cursing, shoving each other and yelling, “You got nothing. Let me see what you got.”
The moment my granddaughter sees them, she comes a little closer to me. We’re walking closer and closer to this group of wannabe gangsters, and they're all trying to act so tough even though they’re practically kids themselves, but my granddaughter doesn’t know that. She gets closer and closer to me. One of these kids pushes another, and he falls off the curb.
Suddenly, her little hand reaches out, searching for mine, her whole body rigid and tense. The moment I took her hand — it’s a moment caught so clearly in my memory — her whole body relaxed.
I can’t remember any of the Christmas presents or things she’s gotten me over the years, but I will never forget that moment because trust is precious.
This is what God wants from us. He invites us to trust him, at all times but especially when something frightens us. “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” (Matthews 6:26, ESV).
So how do we grow in faith? Faith comes by hearing a promise and a truth. The Word of God has power to create faith. When scripture says, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1), we must notice that it’s in present tense. It’s moment by moment.
Faith means to trust; but even more than that, it means to rely and to lean on something. In the Old Testament, David describes faith as “I will run to him and find protection under his wings.” We are all in a school of faith, and God wants to develop faith in you and me. This is part of why he allows troubles in our lives or the answer to prayers is delayed, so we learn to trust him. Us trusting and relying on him means more than anything else in this world.
Jim Cymbala began the Brooklyn Tabernacle with less than twenty members in a small, rundown building in a difficult part of the city. A native of Brooklyn, he is a longtime friend of both David and Gary Wilkerson.