Sharing the extraordinary faith of ordinary people with Naomi Reed
A new series of Faith Stories by author and speaker Naomi Reed will start on Eternity News next week.
Reed spent much of 2020 collecting and sharing 100 extraordinary stories of faith from ordinary people around Australia. She loved it so much, she decided to continue, and says she’s excited to share the latest series. We spoke to Reed this week to get a preview of the series.
You must have spoken to hundreds of people about their faith so far. What are some lessons that you’ve learned?
God works in mysterious, unexpected ways! He reveals himself to people, across the world, in the person of Jesus, in his timing, by his Spirit, through his Word, and not necessarily in ways that anyone of us can predict, least of all me.
I can never predict the ways that God has been at work within a person’s life … I love the reminder that I can’t fully fathom the ways of God.
Sometimes, I start talking with someone about their faith journey, and my mind might be running ahead a bit, imagining what they might say… and I’m always surprised!
I can never predict the ways that God has been at work within a person’s life. Some people have described to me a vivid sense of knowing God when they were small children or teenagers, others not till their 80’s. Some have described a specific moment or event, others a gradual, ongoing realisation that Jesus died for them. Some have described the impact of close Christian friends and acquaintances, or others a more individual revelation through the Scriptures.
I love the variety! I love the reminder that I can’t fully fathom the ways of God and that, therefore, I can expect God to keep making himself known to people across the world, including the ones that I love, today. That’s a comfort!
I particularly love hearing of the ways someone’s faith in Jesus intersects with every part of life – the ordinary moments as well as the hardest, most confusing moments that we experience.
Can you give us a few hints of what’s to come in this new series?
The new Faith Stories series is exciting. It includes a 91-year-old believer in Alice Springs who has been fostering needy children for 60 years; a younger lady who picked up a Bible in China, not knowing that it was a Bible, but eagerly desiring to read it; a middle-aged man who described himself as being intensely angry, yet who cried out to Jesus in the middle of the night and the anger dissipated, in an instant; a woman in North Carolina who is currently working at a Covid testing clinic and wanting her faith to impact every moment and patient interaction.
I particularly love hearing of the ways someone’s faith in Jesus intersects with every part of life – the ordinary moments as well as the hardest, most confusing moments that we experience. That’s been very encouraging for me!
Have you got a favourite Faith Story from the first series? What’s one that really struck you?
Every story is a favourite! But at different times, there have been different stories that have impacted me.
I loved the way Joyce described coming to faith at 80. It reminded me that none of our stories are finished yet. God is still at work.
I was moved by Anthea’s honest description of the tears she has shed over chronic pain, and yet the comfort of the knowledge that she can cry her tears to God and he collects them, and even uses them.
I was also really challenged by Cecily who lost her home and all her belongings in the bushfires but said that she learnt to hold things loosely, to loosen her grip. It convicted me, at the time, that my grip on ‘things’ can become unhelpfully tight, even without me realising it.
What do you hope people are getting from reading these stories?
I hope that people are getting a sense that we’re on a shared faith journey. We’re following Jesus together. We’re not alone! We experience different challenges along the path, but we have a shared faith in a good God who is with us, in everything. He will not abandon us. And every day, Jesus is bringing about slow transformation in our lives, and in the lives of people around the world. There is hope!
Can people suggest a faith story that you should know about?
If anyone else would like to share a short faith story with me, please email me at [email protected]. I’d love to chat with you. It would probably take 45-60 minutes over the phone, or in person. Or, you could dob in a friend! If you find your friend’s faith journey interesting or encouraging, then it’s quite likely that other people will too!
Check out the first series of Faith Stories here. The next series will start this week on Eternity News, as we strive to continue to share the seriously good news of what God is doing in our country and around the world.