Monday, April 26, 2010

Keeping Faith When It's Hard

I have no problem believing in God but I often struggle with believing that He will do all He promises in His word. It's a struggle between theology and reality, and faith is the only thing that will close that gap. I don't want to just say "I believe" I want to say "I KNOW" with an unfailing faith and conviction that stands strong even when my circumstances say otherwise.

I believe what God says about Himself and to believers in the Bible. Either these things are true because God's Word is true, or they are a lie. And if I believe that God's word is true then I have to believe all of it. If He says He is my provider, then I must not doubt His provision. If He says He hears me when I cry out to Him, then I must not live like He doesn't even if the answer doesn't come immediately. If He promises I can do all things through Jesus Christ, then I need to take it and run with it.

If I trust Him with my eternal life and salvation, and I do, then I have no choice but to also trust Him with the daily things and the hard things in life.  I need to be able to trust Him with my friend Diane who recently completed months of chemo, radiation, and a mastectomy for breast cancer only to find out last week that the cancer has metastisized to her bones.  We don't know what the future holds for her but God does so that's where she and her friends and family need to put their faith. 

Faith is hard for me sometimes because I rely so much on feelings. If I don't "feel" God at work then I may doubt His presence, but scripture says in Hebrews 11:1 "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." My favorite definition of faith is that it is taking God at His word regardless of what we think or feel. Faith is also important because as Hebrews 11:6 says, "And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him."

So what do I do when my faith seems weak and I'm having a hard time believing God? I take God at His word regardless of what I think or feel. I meditate on Hebrews 4:12-16 that tells me the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, that God is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of my heart so He is able to take what I believe and help me with my unbelief; that I am not hidden from His sight, that in Him I have a great high priest who can sympathize with my weaknesses, because He Himself was tempted in all things as I am (yet without sin); and that I can draw near with confidence (boldness) to the throne of grace to find mercy and grace in my time of need. Those are powerful promises.

I am reminded of the centurion who came to Jesus, asking him to heal his daughter. Jesus was prepared to go with him but the man said if Jesus would just speak the word, his daughter would be healed because as someone in authority himself, he recognized the authority of Jesus' word. Jesus responded that he never found such faith in all of Israel.

Taking God at His word is where my faith needs to begin and end. Scripture says heaven and earth will pass away before one stroke of God's word will pass away. That means the world will have to end before God's word is not true. That's what my faith must be grounded in regarless of who is president, what is happening economically, in sickness or health, in good times or bad.  What the Lord did for anyone in scripture He can do for anyone today. I just need to rest in the authority of His word, who He says He is, what He says He can do, and who He says I am in Him.

15 comments:

  1. I can't tell you how much I LOVED this powerful post. Soo good and soo true. How many times I have had just that thought..."Either I believe it, or I don't" Just that simple, and yet that profound. I love how you put it....the world will have to end before God's Word is not true. So sorry to hear about your friend. Have a good day...BLESSINGS AND HUGS

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  2. I am in total agreement with you.
    I couldn't have said it any
    better than you have. It's true
    or it isn't, I believe it or I
    don't. Now I have to see the
    results, the manifestations of
    those truths that will last for
    all time. So, I wage war, I battle
    until the answers come to pass.
    I will pray for your friend.
    Grace & Peace,
    Sandy

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  3. On the same page this morning. I walked while hearing John Piper preach on "suffering" to our congregation...our pastor is walking through treatment for a brain tumor. I am also walking through different trials and holding fast...my prayer at times is "God I believe, but help my unbelief"
    Blessings and prayers for you and your friend,
    Janette

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  4. Great post. The truth does not change to fit our feelings, even though we may try to make it do so. Solid words.

    Thanks for sharing and have a great day, Cindy.

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  5. a great word....I have been looking up scriptures on healing and bones and reading about how Jesus healed all who came to Him, etc....and sometimes it's hard to have faith when you pray...I would love to be healed of arthritis pain in my hip joints and I have no doubt that God can heal...it's just that I've prayed and asked Him to heal me, and had others pray and I still am hurting...I still choose to believe God's word is truth though, no matter how I feel...I am sorry to hear about Diane, I will keep her in my prayers today...

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  6. Very, very well said. I often think it's not that I don't have faith, it's just that I don't have patience. blessings, marlene

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  7. I know it's hard, but seeing things God's way is totally different than how we see things sometimes... I have to keep remembering myself that through our difficulties we can trust God because He is faithful and worthy of our trust.

    He's doing something in our lives that we can't see the end result, but God does... That's why we are to "count it all joy"--there is a "method to the madness" so to speak, and we just don't understand it...

    Through hardships, too, we find out who our real friends are and how much we are loved. It gives us all a chance to reach out and touch others with God's love and compassion... and it gives God a chance to see where we are at in our walk by testing our faith in Him.

    And do we really believe in the concept that our Saviour, Jesus Christ has "conquered the grave!" This why they say "Rejoice, rejoice always"... Not because they want us to be unrealistic optimists for no reason, but because of the hope we have in Christ and what he has done for us!

    I know you know all this, but sometimes it is nice to write it our to help remind myself...

    With love,

    Hugs, Barb

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  8. A very heartfelt and encouraging post about faith. It was well written and full of truth.

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  9. Good post. So important to know that our feelings are not the reality and how much the enemy uses our feelings to try and have us lose our peace. Feelings are forever changing but God's word remains true no matter what. To know that God is in control is a blessing indeed.

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  10. It is such a comfort to have the confidence in God's Word. I don't have to worry that things aren't going to turn out the way they are supposed to because He knows the beginning from the end. Having said that, I still worry too much and I don't always trust Him for my provision. But, what a Friend we have in Jesus. I will be praying for your friend.

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  11. Cindy:
    I'm just hopping around tonight and scrolled down to this post of yours on faith. It's outstanding!!

    You've covered it all right here... what we do when questions arise, or doubts persist, or any of the things that satan so loves to put in our path... we "take Him at His word regardless of what we think or feel". I remember Billy Graham saying that at one point early in his ministry he was plagued by questions and doubts, and finally on his knees one day told God he was 'drawing a line in the sand'... he would never again question that God was able to do all He has promised.

    This is good stuff Cindy... I loved this post!

    Hugs!

    Sonja

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  12. One of my favorite definitions comes from the ESV study notes on Hebrews 11:1...

    "settled confidence."

    Each day I am challenged with settling the matter of my confidence regarding the King. Today is no different, and I need to meditate on his Word until it penetrates my doubt and replaces it with faith.

    Keep to it...

    ~elaine

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