I looked my physical therapist in the eye. This was the first time I had stood eye level with someone since walking to my car in November 2009. This time was much different though. I could see my shoes six feet below me, but what separated the distance between was a body that did not feel like my own…probably because I could not feel it at all. My knees were braced and my arms were held to my sides by other therapists. This was a far cry from running around just months prior.
I had thought getting back up on my feet would be a no-brainer. All of a sudden, this foreign feeling of “standing” made me wonder how much of a reality that concept was. Questions flooded my mind. Was I doubting what I believed? Was my faith slipping? Was the reality of my current physical status beginning to supersede what I trusted God could do with my future?
Anytime concerns such as these begin to arise, I’m reminded of Peter walking on the water. Jesus invited him out onto the water and he went without hesitation. Any sane person would have thought, “Yeah, right.” However, Peter’s faith was rooted in the one inviting him and not in his current circumstance. Even so, as he began walking on the water the wind picked up and his attention turned to the reality that he was defying the laws of gravity and then he began to sink. What’s interesting to me is that he began to go down the moment he took his eyes off of Jesus and turned his focus to his current natural state.
If I keep my eyes fixed on Jesus, faith builds and I am able to continue towards Him after stepping out of the boat. He reminds me that nothing is impossible and that He is the Healer. Much in the same way, when I instead focus on the fact that I can’t feel or move everything in my body, I may start to sink into a season of doubting the likelihood of my muscles ever returning to full capacity.
There are times when a situation may seem impossible or when breakthrough looks distant. During times of anxiety, it’s tough to fake it and pretend that everything is okay. For this, a friend taught me a valuable lesson: “Don’t fake it, faith it.” I can’t fake that I have peace, but I can look to what God says and have faith that His truth can supersede what I’m feeling.
So what is faith? How do I define it? More importantly, how do I go about demonstrating it? The Bible defines faith as “confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1). James 2:22 tells us that faith requires action, not just intellectual belief. By these standards, where is faith displayed in my life?
Do I have faith that the Cincinnati Bearcats will take the bracket by storm by winning the national championship? I may say so, but if I’m not willing to put any money down for it, more than likely it is just wishful thinking.
Do I have faith that I will be in heaven with Jesus for eternity? If so, my life should reflect someone who sees this place as a temporary residence and therefore makes the most of my days, while sharing my passion for living with others.
Do I have faith for physical healing? If I do, there should be certain life decisions that support the belief that paralysis is just for a season of my life. This doesn’t mean that I hold off on life until the actual manifestation of full healing, but I do believe that faith for healing requires different action than just assuming my current physical state potentially defines the rest of my life.
My actions must line up with my faith. That’s when the impossible becomes possible.
While I was in the hospital, a friend brought a bag that contained a mustard seed. I could barely see it in the plastic bag. I guess that’s the point. Jesus said with faith even as small as a mustard seed, one can move mountains. When everything about my physical condition screamed hopelessness, seeing that small mustard seed next to my hospital bed gave me a daily reminder of the level of faith necessary for breakthrough.
Over the course of the months spent in the hospital, the words to the song below were played hundreds of times. Even though I felt like my back was up against the wall and I was in the middle of one of the most difficult times of my life, seeds were being planted on the power of faith: “When the world says you can’t… It will tell you that you can.”
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