I’m sitting here listening to my teenager watch a math video. She’s home sick, and thanks to technology and amazing teachers, she can sit at our kitchen table, watch class, and do her work right along with the video. I half-listened as her teacher explained how to factor polynomials, but a phrase caught my attention—greatest common factor.
Hmm, I thought to myself, that sounds a lot like the math I helped my first grader with two years ago during lockdown, at-home school. I remember writing out factor trees with him and determining greatest common factors. (Right alongside those math memories sits a whole lot of memories of how hard and awful that time was, but I’m choosing to put those aside, at least for now.)
As I listen to my 15-year-old work with and use the math skills she learned way back in first grade, I’m struck by how progressive math is.
How progressive life is. How progressive faith is.
Just like I can look at all the stages of education in my kids (a benefit to having so many and a wide range of ages) and see how each was really a building block to the next stage they couldn’t yet see or even predict, I can look at many stages of my life and see how God was building the tower of my faith with each block.
Church attendance, weekly chapel lessons at our Lutheran school, memory verses throughout elementary school . . . all building a foundation of God’s word in my life.
Choices in college I now look back on with regret, wondering what life would have looked like had I known Jesus in a personal way back then . . . building a foundation of forgiveness and teaching me the power of redemption.
Hardships and pain I endured during my first years as an adult in the real world . . . building a foundation of a faith and hope that can’t be shaken by earthly tragedy.
Difficult decisions and years spent trying to figure out what God was asking of me and then fighting fear to take the leap of faith I knew He required . . . building a foundation of learning to hear His voice and follow in obedience.
The trials and losses (of so many different kinds) of the past two years . . . building a foundation of resilience and deeper trust in God’s sovereignty.
All progressive stages. All building blocks. All little moments that built my faith.
Even when I couldn’t see the next stage or predict the direction it would lead. Even when I questioned and doubted and felt lost in confusion.
God saw the situation I was in. He saw each individual building block. And He saw the next stage and the tower He was building block by difficult block, moment by little moment. Every single stage of my life—laying a foundation to build my faith and bring me closer to my Savior.
I feel some comfort in that, knowing each stage and building block—even the difficult ones—are leading me closer to my God who created me and not only sees the beginning and end of my life here on earth, but who is the beginning and ending of time.
Can you look back on your life and see how God was building the foundation of your faith?
Or maybe you’re in the middle of some really hard stuff and have all but forgotten that God will use even this season to shape you and grow your faith?
No matter what stage you’re in, cling to this truth today: God is building your faith—an unfinished faith, constantly refined and consistently built over a lifetime of little moments. And you can trust that “. . . he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6, ESV).