When Your Shield of Faith Gets Heavy

Sometimes in our lives we have these pivotal moments, these situations where we break out of our box, where we step out in faith. Maybe God called us, or maybe we’re not sure, but either way we’re taking a step, maybe even a leap, of faith.

There are other times in our lives where we find ourselves in a situation that requires a greater measure of faith. Something changed, but we didn’t choose it, and we’re needing to stir up our faith and fix our eyes on God, who sees and knows everything – the beginning, the end, and everything in-between.

In January, my husband and I found out that his job had an official end date attached to it. After spending a few days cycling through all the stages of grief, I found myself at peace with God, in God. My faith – being sure of what I hoped for and certain of what I didn’t see – was strong. I trusted that He had brought us this far, and He wasn’t going to leave us now.

Fast-forward three months to today. We’re halfway through the search for a new job, and I am fighting to hold on to faith. Why? Because the wait gets weary. The no’s taste bitter. The enemy’s arrows hit a little closer to home, to your heart. His whispers get a little louder… “Does God really have a place for you?”

I look down and my arms are aching and my shield of faith is starting to droop. My feet aren’t planted as strong, as firm as they were a couple months ago. Because honestly, I’m tired.

I’m tired of wondering, of playing the ‘what-if’ game, of not being able to make plans for the summer… I’m tired of waiting. I’m tired of struggling to keep the faith.

No wonder Paul wrote to Timothy,

“Fight the good fight of the faith…” – 1 Timothy 6:12

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” – 2 Timothy 4:7

I feel like I am fighting the good fight; I’m fighting to keep my faith. I haven’t given up hope, but I can feel my faith being tested. Will it stand in the fire? Will it prove genuine? Will I continue to cling to Him even when I don’t see His plan unfolding? Will God be enough for me?

The Lord used truth found in Psalm 112:7 to strengthen my faith today…

“He is not afraid of bad news. His heart remains secure, full of confidence in the Lord.”

It doesn’t say we won’t receive bad news. We will. (And personally, we have.) But this verse shows us we don’t have to be afraid of it. Do not fear bad news. Why? Because our faith is in the One who is greater than any situation or circumstance or trouble that might (or has, or will) come our way.

My faith isn’t in the news – good or bad. It’s not in the answered prayer or the fresh start at a new job. My faith is in God, my Father, the Creator, the Author, the Finisher. My confidence, my assurance, my satisfaction are all found in Him alone.

We can fight the good fight of faith. We can stand firm in our faith. We can be secure in Him. Ephesians 6 teaches about the spiritual armor He’s given us to help us stand firm. As you may have guessed, I want to focus on the shield of faith.

“In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.” – Ephesians ‭6:16

We’ve been called to take up our shield of faith. And it’s not a dainty, flimsy thing we wave around. The Greek word for shield is thyreos, and it’s translated, “a shield; a large oblong, four-cornered shield.” It’s shaped like a door. (Can you imagine holding a door in front of you as a shield?) It protects us fully; with it we can extinguish ALL the flaming arrows of the evil one. It doesn’t say some of them. It says all. Every single one of them. Every bad report, every lie, every deception, every doubt, every fear. Not one of the fiery darts can get through this shield of faith.

So the shield protects us completely. But from my experience, the shield gets heavy. And when we’re not holding it up right (or upright), the flaming arrows might start to hit us. The enemy knows our weak spots; he knows where to aim the dart so that it starts to quench our faith.

Sometimes we need other people to come alongside us and help us hold up our shield of faith. We need them to encourage us, to add their faith to ours; to strengthen us with Truth – seasoned with grace and covered with love.

It reminds me of Moses, Aaron and Hur in Exodus 17:10-13…

“So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up – one on one side, one on the other – so that his hands remained steady till sunset. So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.”

I love this. All three men are up on the hill. Together, they all see the same battle, the big picture. Joshua’s victory depends on Moses and the position of his hands. Moses is getting tired, weary, and he can’t help but lower his hands. God in His goodness provides a stone to sit on and two people to come alongside him and hold up Moses’ arms for him. His hands remain steady, and the Israelites overcome their enemy.

There are times in our walk with God when we need people by our side to help us hold up our shield of faith.

The tendency would be to isolate during the tough seasons when our faith is wavering. It’s hard, and we don’t want to burden others with our problems. The enemy wants this. You’re an easier target for him when you’re isolated. But God is calling us to invite others into our good fight. Make sure you use wisdom when choosing who you involve. You need people who will build you up in your faith, not tear you down.

There is value in unity; we weren’t created to be alone. Don’t withdraw from the Body of Christ; welcome the willing into your walk of faith. Even in the face of rejection, when it seems easier to fight the good fight by yourself – you don’t have to. And you don’t need to. We don’t pretend to have it all together; find people to pray with you, and ask them to persevere with you.

Keep God as your number one priority, your first love; don’t let anyone take His place. But let us learn to let people in, especially when we’re struggling to keep the faith. 

“Then will I purify the lips of the peoples, that all of them may call on the name of the Lord and serve him shoulder to shoulder.” – Zephaniah 3:9

He doesn’t want us to be independent. He wants us to be dependent on Him, and connected to others. Standing firm, shoulder to shoulder, serving Him together.

Where I am today on this leg of the journey: I am fighting the good fight of faith. I want to get to the end of this race full of faith. I want to finish strong. I want to keep my eyes on the prize – Jesus Christ – and not get distracted by all the other shiny things along the way. I want to trust God’s perfect timing and not try to take things into my own hands.

My hands are open to the One who is faithful and sovereign. His perfect love never fails, and He casts out all fear. More than any earthly provision, He is the Answer I long for, the One I am waiting on.

 

Songs I’m Listening to This Week: