Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
I’m not very good with posting schedules, am I? But I did write this verse out ten times most days during the week it was my Memory Verse, I just haven’t had time to write this post and tell you about the experience.
For me, there are two key words in this verse. They are ‘assurance’ and ‘conviction’ and I think it was for these that I chose this as a Memory Verse.
When I was growing up, I was bullied at school. I was always doing or saying the ‘wrong’ thing which made me a figure of ridicule. I didn’t know the rules and that made me the odd girl out who wanted very much to fit in with the confident, popular, assured girls she saw around her. Today, I may be an adult but there’s a streak of schoolgirl still running down my back. I still hanker after the glossy fantasy of the in-crowd and feel I am anything other than assured. I want to be poised, cool under pressure and able to glide through all manner of social situations. At 38 I’m beginning to see that I am who I am, blushes and all, and to give up the fantasy.
Does this mean I’m doomed to a life of stammers and squirming? Not according to my reading of this verse. Faith is linked strongly to assurance. But it’s not about having the right hair or knowing which fork to use. It’s about the ‘conviction of things not seen’.
How often have I doubted? How often have I resorted to behaving ‘as if’ I believed? How often have I slammed my Bible shut and turned on the TV instead? Too many times.
But something changed for me the week this was my Memory Verse. After coffee with a friend, we browsed the bookshelves of a local charity shop and came across one of those ‘alternative histories’ which makes various claims about Jesus that are contrary to Church teaching. As I held it and scanned the publisher’s blurb I knew, beyond a shadow of doubt, that the Church’s version of events is true. I felt conviction for the first time. No doubts. No probables. No behaving ‘as if’. That knowledge still sits inside me, a rock which cannot move.
Has this experience made me more assured? Well, I still don’t have the right hair but, to be honest, I’m not so fussed about that. At a night out this week some acquaintances decided to indulge in a little Catholic-bashing. I hesitated a bit and then stated my case quietly and with dignity before allowing the conversation to move to other topics. I was assured. And it felt better than the right hair.
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This week’s Memory verse is Matthew 6:33:
But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.