Cling to faith
I well remember talking with a man who had faithfully served God as a Pastor only to discover that he was struggling painfully with faith. The only thing he could say with honesty was that he believed ‘God is …’ Everything else about God was a bit of a blur. He felt very much like
Jeremiah when he wrote in chapter 20 ‘Oh, that I had died in my mother’s womb, that her body had been my grave! Why was I ever born? My entire life has been filled with trouble, sorrow, and shame.‘
He felt that God had let him down and he could not understand what was going on.
But cling on my friend – it is not so much that you cling on to God, it is He who is holding on to you!
v 19 Cling to your faith in Christ
The local news back in early February reported on a man who fell out of his boat in Gosport harbour and was carried on the current out towards the sea. It was pitch dark and freezing cold; fortunately, the water carried him past a mooring post and he was able to hang on to it and shout for help. He was eventually heard and rescued by the local lifeboat. For him, hanging on was a matter of life and death. Maybe Paul had a similar picture in mind as he recalled being adrift in the Mediterranean off the coast of Malta, clinging on to some planks when the ship he was on broke up on the rocks. (Acts 27:44)
(In 2 Corinthians 11:25 Paul tells us he was shipwrecked three times so the experience of ‘hanging on’ to something must have been very vivid for him.)
Hanging on to faith in Jesus is a lifesaving activity – and when Paul writes in the same verse about faith being ‘shipwrecked’ you get the point. But hanging on, or clinging, speaks of some distinct effort. The Christian life is not always a smooth passage, if you experience some tough or bewildering moments you will not be unique, so hang in! There are friends around us facing similar issues and you might be surprised to hear of others struggling to hang on as well. One of Paul’s final instructions in 1 Corinthians 16 comes in verse 13; Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Pray for grace to be like that when you feel that you are drifting away from following Jesus.