This is an excerpt from Without Wavering by Alexandra Hoover.
I didn’t grow up a church girl, or a faith girl, or a God girl. I guess you can say that I knew of God—I’d heard other people talk about Him—but that was it. Every summer as a little girl I traveled to Venezuela to stay with an aunt and uncle. I looked forward to it every year; it was a time to go back to my other home. Rest and peace awaited. One particular summer, though, was notably different. I was around thirteen or fourteen and was a deeply inquisitive teenager with lots of questions about life—and God.
My cousin attended a private Catholic school with a community of people who also attended the Catholic church just down the road from my aunt and uncle’s home. That summer I spent more time in a church than ever before. My cousin was attending classes for her confirmation, which is one of the seven sacraments of the Roman Catholic faith and one of the steps to becoming a part of the Roman Catholic Church. And so, I tagged along to many of her classes.
The priest seemed like the right person to take my questions to, so that’s exactly what I did! First item on my list to address? The creation account. I know, super light conversation. My following questions surrounding doubt, suffering, and the circumstances of life challenged every word that came out of his mouth. What if God isn’t the God over all? What if He isn’t kind or good? What if Jesus didn’t rise from the dead? My brown hair and hands moved all around as I questioned his beliefs and faith.
Instead of dismissing me or explaining God away, the priest welcomed my curiosity. He smiled and smirked, willing to listen to a young girl who was taking her first steps toward a relationship with God. That is the summer when my journey toward Jesus began, and it’s been a wild ride ever since.
What do you consider to be the beginning of your faith journey, like my summer in Venezuela? What questions do you remember having, and who played an important role in that moment or season?
This is a Bible study about building a resilient, sturdy faith in God, so I want to make sure we begin with a solid understanding of what we mean when we talk about “faith.”
Hebrews 10–12 contain valuable insight into how God wants us to understand a life of faith in Him. The book of Hebrews defines faith as “the reality [or assurance] of what is hoped for, the proof [or conviction] of what is not seen” (11:1, CSB).
The description of faith in Hebrews 11:1 is part of a wider theme in Hebrews—an invitation to see how the things in the world around us are best understood through the bigger picture of God’s story, a story that began with creation and culminates in Jesus. In fact, this is where the whole book begins.
Faith is what moves us to believe and to see, even when we can’t make sense of it. It’s like the breeze you feel on a spring day or the oxygen we inhale with every breath. We can’t see it, but it’s there.
When I think about the definition of faith, it’s like the foundation of a sturdy house or the active ingredient that makes the recipe work. It’s the quiet yet bold something that whispers hope and light in the midst of so much dark. Faith is what moves us to believe and to see, even when we can’t make sense of it. It’s like the breeze you feel on a spring day or the oxygen we inhale with every breath. We can’t see it, but it’s there.
When I read Hebrews 11:1-3, I see an invitation to live out my faith based on the reality of the hope I have that Jesus lived and died for me, that He conquered death so I can spend eternity with Him, and that He will do as He said and return and right all wrongs. This is the good news, the gospel, Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection as the sacrifice and atonement for all our sins (Rom. 1:3-4). Jesus is the Perfecter, the One who was, and is, and is to come (Rev. 1:4).
"Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen. For by this our ancestors were approved. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was made from things that are not visible."
May we remember that our faith is a gift! God is the Creator and Giver of it (Eph. 2:8-10). We don’t have to will our way to a more resilient faith; we couldn’t if we tried. One key to an unwavering faith in Jesus is surrendering each day, each moment, to Him. It’s believing in His promises and allowing Him to use you for the good works He has planned.
Let’s spend time in prayer today. Thank God for the gift that is your faith and for Jesus, the One in whom your faith is secure. Ask God to spend these next six sessions strengthening your faith in Him.
Enduring, resilient, courageous—these are qualities we want to describe our faith in God. But the truth is that faith is hard, especially when trials, setbacks, and failures seem to define us.