A few thoughts on why Christians are leaving the faith in droves

5:30 am Wendy van Eyck 0 Comments


And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. Hebrews 11:6 (ESV)

“I offered her a banana during our cycle and she told me, ‘No thanks. I want to try this new product that I bought that says it is 100% natural energy,’” Xylon tells me on his return from his bike ride. “I looked at the banana in my hand and wondered how much more natural can you get?”

I laughed when Xylon told me this story but it stuck with me. It happened months ago but I still think about this incident a lot, about how his riding partner that day would rather eat something promoted as real fruit than a banana. 

I’ve been thinking about this as I read this report about how Christians are leaving the faith in droves. 

Sometimes faith is hard. Real hard. (tweet this)

When Xylon got cancer it was hard to believe in a loving God. 

When my nephew was born with Down Syndrome it felt easier to question whether God exists then to believe he is in control. 

Sometimes religion seems like an easier option than faith. (tweet this)

When Xylon got cancer bargaining with God that I would never miss a Sunday of church seemed easier than trusting that God cared for Xylon more than I. 

When my nephew was born with Down Syndrome promising to pray three times a day if God would heal him seemed easier than burrowing into the arms of God and allowing him to change me. 

Sometimes it’s easier to hold on to what we have, than to exchange it for what we cannot see. (tweet this)

There are plenty of times when I struggle with my faith, when I question God’s existence, but what I’m learning is that I’d rather have Jesus – his wounds, his love, his Godness and humanness – than anything else posing as the real thing. 

Ponder: What makes you question God’s existence? And the flipside what convinces you he is real? (I’d love you to put your thoughts down in the comments on my blog)

Prayer: Jesus, help me to know you are real. Help me not to be tempted to trade the real relationship I have with you in for something that looks good. Amen.

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One thing to remember when you wish life came with a map and directions

5:30 am Wendy van Eyck 0 Comments

But I'll take the hand of those who don't know the way, who can't see where they're going. I'll be a personal guide to them, directing them through unknown country. I'll be right there to show them what roads to take, make sure they don't fall into the ditch. These are the things I'll be doing for them - sticking with them, not leaving them for a minute. Isaiah 42:16 (MSG)

When we were moving house a few months ago my husband and I never knew what new request a lawyer or estate agent would have every time we answered. 

We kept telling them that we don't know what we're doing, that we don't sell houses everyday but no one took our hand and guided us, and we felt lost. 

I don’t know about you but sometimes life feels like it should come with directions. (tweet this)

Sometimes I wish life came with maps. I wish that I could just go pick up the "Directions to your new home” map and I could just follow it there. 

Or when Xylon was going through treatment for cancer that it came with “How to make it through 18 chemos, a stem cell transplant and radiation” map. 

And I’m pretty sure my brother and sister-in-law wish they were handed a “How to raise your son” map when they left hospital with a baby in their arms

I'm sure you feel the same way sometimes. Maybe it's not with moving house maybe it is some medical thing or a problem with your child or what job to take.

I guess that's why this bible verse remains one of my favourites: 
I'll take the hand of those who don't know the way, who can't see where they're going. I'll be a personal guide to them, directing them through unknown country. I'll be right there to show them what roads to take, make sure they don't fall into the ditch. These are the things I'll be doing for them - sticking with them, not leaving them for a minute.

I love this verse because God doesn’t say I’ll tell you how to get there. 

Rather God says, “I’ll take your hand and stick with you for every minute. We’ll make it through this…together.”

I’m comforted by Isaiah 42:16 not because I know the “how’s” but because I won’t be alone

I’d rather know the One I travel with than how we are going to get there.

Sometimes when I find myself saying, “God, just show me how to get to where you want me” I remind myself that he’s more interested in taking the hard journey with me than he is the destination. 

Ponder: Do you think it’s better to know where you are going or know who you are going with? (tweet this)

Prayer: Lord, help me to feel your hand in mine as we take this journey into the unknown. God, when I’m in unknown territory help me to hear your voice directing me. Amen. 

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How to determine your value to God (or what losing half my salary taught me)

9:38 am Wendy van Eyck 0 Comments

God looked over everything he had made;
        it was so good, so very good!
    It was evening, it was morning—
    Day Six.

In October last year, my boss and HR manager sat me down and told me that the company was going through tough times, and that in order to survive everyone would need to take a salary cut. 

They asked me to take almost a 50% reduction in pay. 

I knew that the new figure would just cover my living costs. It would mean no room for luxuries at the end of the month. Added to that my husband and I had just bought a new property that needed a lot of renovation and that was already going to put us under financial pressure. 

On the plus side, it would mean that my working hours would be halved, freeing up more time to deal with the renovations, and to start working as a freelance social media manager. 

This salary cut came as a shock to me because I never knew how much I connected what I did with how I saw myself. 

Being told that I was no longer worth half my salary to my company made me have to reflect on my own self worth. 

Somehow over the last 10 years of my career I had come to think that being paid more money meant that I was better human. 

The implications of this are huge and I hope to you, obviously untrue. When my first reduced salary was paid into my account, I was still the same person. 

Over the last few months I’ve had to wrestle with how to determine my worth. And I’ve come to this conclusion: 

My value isn’t found in my salary. (tweet this)

The number written on a pay slip at the end of the month does not determine our worth in society, God has already determined our worth. 

What other people say about your family, your choices or your lifestyle does not determine your worth. 

How other people treat you because of your language, culture or race does not determine your worth. 

I – and every other human – has value simply because God created us, because Jesus chose to die for us. 

As I went through the bible I found the truth of this over and over from the Old Testament to the New Testament. 

In Genesis 1:31, after the biblical description of God breathing life into people, before they have done anything, the bible says, 
God looked over everything he had made; 
it was so good, so very good!

Adam and Eve had done nothing. 
They hadn’t achieved a single thing. 
Neither had they proved themselves capable of doing anything.

God pronounced them as good, as valuable, as having worth, not because of anything they did but because of who he made them to be. 

We have worth not because of anything we have done but because of who created us.

I’ve been trying to let this truth sink in the last few months:
I have value simply because God created me. (tweet this)

Still not convinced? Here are a few more verses where that speak about our worth to God: 
You are worth more than many sparrows (Matthew 10:31)
You are worth dying for (Romans 5:8)

Ponder: What lies have you believed about your worth? 

Prayer: Lord, thank you that my value is not found in money or status but in you. Thank you for making me and calling me good while I had nothing to offer. Thank you for sending Jesus to die for me. Help me to believe these truths in my heart and live them out with my hands. Amen.

You can read the other 3 things losing half my salary taught me in this article I wrote for iBelieve.com

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How to know if God hears your prayers

2:48 pm Wendy van Eyck 0 Comments


{NOTE FROM WENDY: I'm going on holiday next week so I'm going to break from this blog too. The next new post will be up on 20 April.}

While he was still talking, some people came from the leader’s house and told him, “Your daughter is dead. Why bother the Teacher any more?”
Jesus overheard what they were talking about and said to the leader, “Don’t listen to them; just trust me.” Mark 5:35 (MSG)

I've often wished that I never heard the words, “Your husband has cancer.”

They are hope-sucking words.

Those four words were the ones we heard a few months after marriage.

And these are the words God has spoken into my heart time-and-again since then.
“Just trust me.”

I don’t think anyone likes hearing that phrase either. But sometimes, “Just trust me” is what I hear Jesus telling me.

When I’m worried about what is going to happen next, when I’m stressed out over what the doctors results will say, or just down because I can’t see my dreams ever being reality that’s when I hear it, quiet, firm, “Just trust me.”

They are the same words that Jesus spoke to Jairus in Mark 5:35:
While he was still talking, some people came from the leader’s house and told him, “Your daughter is dead. Why bother the Teacher any more?”
Jesus overheard what they were talking about and said to the leader, “Don’t listen to them; just trust me.”

I can’t imagine how I would feel if I had just been told that my daughter had died. I’m pretty sure that I would have felt like the words, “Don’t listen to them; just trust me,” wouldn’t fix anything.

I would have wondered if Jesus really understood my pain.

And at the same time I would have known that Jesus was my only hope.

One thing I’ve learnt in the almost four years since Xylon’s cancer diagnosis is that when the rest of the world is saying there’s no hope, Jesus is standing there saying, “They’re wrong.”

When everyone else is questioning if Jesus really cares about the hard things we’re going through, I listen for his voice declaring, “Don’t listen to them; just trust me.”

Perhaps what I love most about this short encounter between Jairus and Jesus is that there is mystery. Jesus doesn’t tell Jairus that his daughter is in fact dead, or that he’ll have to raise her back to life.

Jesus invites Jairus to trust him in the mystery.

And Jairus does, and as he does, he finds hope. He does not know that Jesus will make everything better, unlike us he hasn’t read the end of the story, he can’t foretell that Jesus will bring his daughter back from the dead.

Jairus only has Jesus’ words to hope in.

When everyone else was saying, “You have no hope!” Jesus was saying, “I am your hope!” (tweet this)

Sometimes that’s all I have too. 

Jesus’ words calling to me, as I hold my husbands’ hand in the oncology waiting room,
“Just trust me.”

As I listen I find hope rising in unexpected places.

Ponder: What in your life sucks your hope right now? How does the story of Jairus help hope to rise in you?

Prayer: Lord, help me to hear you saying, "I am your hope" over all the other voices. 

This post originally appeared as a guest post on ChrisMorrisWrites.com in September 2013.


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For those who feel like the broken things will never be made new

10:23 am Wendy van Eyck 0 Comments


And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Revelation 21:5 (ESV)

One of the things I love about Easter is the reminder that God makes all things new. 

All things. 

All.

Easter makes me believe that God can take all the broken things and make them whole again.

All things. 

All.

I don’t know about you, but I often don’t see God’s redemption in all things because I’m looking at the broken things, thinking how they can’t be fixed.

As Easter comes to an end I’m reflecting on the thin places in my past where God has come and exclaimed, 
“Look, I am making all things new.”

All things. 

All.

Some thin places I'm reflecting on:

The little cactus that blooms red buds out of hard, dry soil, and reminds me that God can make something out of pain

And there is my nephew being born in the same hospital where my mother nearly breathed her last. A symbol that God redeems heartbreak

My husband lying in hospital waiting for his bone marrow transplant and God bringing the story of Joseph to mind so I don't forget that God can mend broken dreams.

So today, as I think about all that Jesus did for us on Calvary, I’m praying God will open my eyes to how he is making all things new. 

All things. 

All.

And I’m looking for the invitation from God that whispers:

Ponder: Ask God to reveal one moment in the past week that he has brought life where there was death. (I’d love for you to share what God shows you in the comments.)

Prayer: God, open my eyes to you bringing new life to all things. (tweet this)

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One simple thing to focus on this Easter

1:26 pm Wendy van Eyck 0 Comments

Christ arrives right on time to make this happen. He didn’t, and doesn’t, wait for us to get ready. He presented himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready. And even if we hadn’t been so weak, we wouldn’t have known what to do anyway. We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice. But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him. Romans 5:6-8 (MSG)


While I was writing it I was struck how the story of God finding Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden is the Easter story. 

It’s the Gospel. 

God coming to them. 

God seeking Adam and Eve out after they’d messed up. God looking for Adam and Eve right after they’d just done exactly what God had told them not to.

Jesus coming to me. 

Jesus calling me to him while we are trying desperately to hide from him. 

Jesus beckoning us to fall in step with him while we try madly to tell him why we will never be good enough for him to call us friend. 

And Jesus looking at us as we hang on a cross with all our sins written out on plaque above our heads and saying, “Friend, today you will be with me in paradise.”

That is the miracle of Eden, the miracle of Easter: that God came to us when we had nothing to offer. (tweet this)

The Message puts it this way in Romans 5:6-8: 
Christ arrives right on time to make this happen. He didn’t, and doesn’t, wait for us to get ready…God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him.

Jesus did it all. 

Jesus didn’t even leave the finding up to us. 

God sought us out and then offered us life, life, and more life

Ponder: What is the most poignant thing about the Easter story for you?

Prayer: Jesus, thank you for coming to find me. Thank you for the life you gave and the freedom from sin you bought me on Calvary. Amen.

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In my free e-book Life, Life and More Life I share thoughts on how to make every moment count gleaned from my experiences of loving my husband through 18 sessions of chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant. If you would like a free copy please subscribe below to receive my devotionals every Monday and Thursday.

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