In this, we discover that faith itself, like the accomplishment of Christ on the Cross, is a gift given not out of our own merit, but out of the heart of God. We are brought to belief by the power of the Spirit and the God who opens our eyes to the work of Christ in the first place. Thus, even in my struggle to live as I believed a faithful Christian should live was, in fact, the promise of God’s presence to my troubled teenage mind. In these feelings of regret that I had wandered, in my deep despair that I had fallen away from God, was the sign of God Himself, who never left. The Holy Spirit was perhaps convicting me to repent of whatever had caused me to notice a separation, but in this, God Himself was the one convicting–not my list of rules or the expectations of the church–and my conviction only served as a sign that God had followed where I wandered.
The recognition that we stray from the God we love in and of itself is a sign of faith and the assurance that God is near. For faith is a gift, and even doubt, as Lord Tennyson notes, has a “sunnier side.” Whether the Spirit is calling our attention to a faith that is based on weak foundations or calling us to remove an obstacle we have placed before the Cross, God is near. Though we wander and doubt, though we attempt to flee from God’s presence or settle at the farthest limits of the sea, even here, God’s hand upholds the wanderer. There is good reason Paul admonishes the Philippians to work out their own salvation “with fear and trembling” even as he reminds them powerfully to trust that “it is God who is at work” (Philippians 2:12-13).
Via: A Slice of Infinity