[#pictureLent] February 23: STRONG

11 Feb 23 Strong-01.jpg

By Rev. Kathy Pittenger
Central United Methodist Church: Pastor of Lifelong Faith Formation
Waterford, MI

First, read Romans 4:19-22

The season of Lent gives us an opportunity to consider our faith, or lack thereof. When God spoke to Abraham about the possibility of having a child, Abraham looked at himself and his wife and shook his head. And yet, Abraham did not lose faith. He was aware of the human limitations that faced him and his wife, but he grew strong in faith. Abraham’s faith grew stronger in the face of uncertainty. 

When our first baby was born 10.5 weeks premature and we were facing so much uncertainty, our faith grew stronger. We found ourselves surrounded by people we did not know simply because of our situation. People helped us pack (we were preparing to move to a new house), brought us meals, and cared for us. In some ways, we saw our faith growing stronger during that time when our son was in the NICU and just after he came home. In other ways, we didn’t notice how strong our faith in God and in one another grew until later, after we had time to reflect on all that had happened. 

Abraham was fully convinced that God could do what God had promised to do. For Abraham, that meant a child with Sarah, even in their old age. While we did not know with certainty if our tiny baby was going to survive and thrive, our nine-year-old is a constant reminder of God’s faithfulness and how our faith grew stronger. 

Not only did Abraham grow strong in his faith, but he also gave glory to God. How often do we make it through an experience only to move on and forget or neglect to give God glory? As we give glory to God in good times and in difficult times, our faith grows stronger. 

Often times, our faith has the greatest opportunity to grow stronger during times of struggle and when we are open to reflection. Lent is the built-in time during the Christian year for reflection and growing a strong faith. Take time today and during the season to consider how your faith is growing strong and give glory to God.

Prayer: God of promise, may our times of struggle be opportunity to grow strong in our faith. May we take the time to reflect on both the difficulty and the joy of growing stronger. Amen.

Discussion/Reflection Questions:

1. Think of a time when you faced uncertainty, struggle, or difficulty. How did your faith grow stronger or weaken? What did you learn from that experience?
2. What are ways that you can give glory to God as your faith grows stronger?
3. How might you be intentional about growing strong in your faith during this season of Lent?