Have you ever struggled with trusting God’s heart while you are going through adversity? If yes, you are in good company. Your faith in God gets tested when your are in tough circumstances. We are going to talk about the what to do when your faith is tested.
John 6:28-29 reads: “Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.”
What a cool statement. What is the work of God? The work of God is to believe in his son, Jesus. Believing in Jesus is thought by many to only mean getting “saved, born-again, and accepting Christ” as far as going to heaven when you die. I believe it goes way beyond that. In my next several posts, I am going to sharing about the value of believing.
Through reading mainstream Christian articles and Facebook posts, I have found an interesting phenomena among many Christians . There is an honorable push for trusting God to handle or help us handle difficulties in our lives. There are common phrases such as “everything happens for a reason”, “God is in control”, and “God never puts more on you than you can bear”. What is meant by these statements is that God is behind the scenes navigating us through the difficulties in our lives. Some Christians believe that God brings certain types of challenges our way or that because we live in a sinful world, these difficulties come our way and God doesn’t use his power to prevent them because he wants to develop our character so that we become more like Christ. What is stated and sometimes implied is that we need to be grateful for all of the difficulties that come into our lives because God is the is either the initiator of them or He needs them for our development.
All of that can bring peace of mind and encourage us IF we go through the challenges the correct way. What do I mean by the correct way? The Bible actually has much to say about difficulties and trials. Jesus said that “in this world you will have tribulation, be of good cheer, I have overcome the world”. I like that. Jesus not only overcame the tribulations, he overcame the world. James says that we should “count it all joy when we fall into diverse tribulations”! Wow! We should consider every trial as an opportunity for great joy. Wow! What I like about James’ account is that he explains why we should count it all joy. The trying of our faith works patience. We are now going to see the value of believing as it relates to the “trying of our faith“.
It appears that God wants us to know that challenges and tribulations are connected to our faith. Sometimes we don’t have a complete understanding of Biblical faith. Many Christians talk about having faith in God when we encounter trials and tribulations. I absolutely agree with that. But, that actually doesn’t describe Biblical faith. I found that it’s not clear to use the same word in order to define that word. For example, “having faith in God” doesn’t define the word faith completely. What is faith? The book of Hebrews gives us a great definition of faith. Since it is our faith that is under pressure, it makes sense to understand what is being tested.
Hebrews 12:3 states that faith is the substance of things hoped for. It is the evidence of things we cannot see. Young’s Literal Translation uses the words confidence and assurance for substance and the term, conviction for evidence. I like all of these but we have stumbled upon another word that describes faith. Faith is actually a substance or conviction of something else. Hope. When I hear the word hope I think of the phrase, “I sure do hope so”. Usually it is used in that phrase to depict a lack of confidence and a little uncertainty.
Here is the Biblical definition of hope. It is the Greek word elpis which means, “a strong and confident expectation”. I love that word expectation. Hope is what I expect to happen. It is not what I wish will happen. There is no room for uncertainty where biblical hope is concerned. I have searched through the Bible and I see that common theme for all of our heroes of faith. These heroes expected God to do something and they were confident. Can you imagine how that makes God feel? “My kids believe me! They trust me!” God is also excited about something else. Can you hear him say, excitedly, “My kids understand how to activate my power and release it in this sinful fallen world. They will act like my son Jesus!”
You might ask “What do you mean, Doug?” If you look at David, Moses, Joshua, Daniel, Jesus, Peter, Paul, John etc., they spent their days delivering people who were in trouble or who were hurting. They released their faith to release God’s power to get people out of trouble.
Let me give you an example. Psalm 91 is a famous scripture regarding David’s confidence in God’s ability to protect him and those who trust God. In verse 15 David is speaking what he hears from God’s heart. David writes that God “will be with us in trouble”. That is usually where most Christians are aspiring to extend their faith. When difficulties come, we struggle to believe that God is even with us in the trials even though Jesus said that he would never leave us or forsake us and he is with us always. (Hebrews 13:5, Matthew 28:20) Oftentimes, when we are not operating in biblical faith, we get to the point where we believe that God is with us. We either get excited as we knuckle under and hold on for dear life until the struggle ends or we resign to the fact that our situation will not change and we accept that our lives will have a particular challenge until we die.There are times that having a positive mental attitude will cause a difficult situation to be more tolerable. However, I would like to give an alternative perspective to how we can view challenges and trials.
There is a second part to verse 15. It reads “I will deliver him”. Whoa! Not only will God be with us He says that He will also deliver us. Could we say that Jesus spent most of his time delivering people from challenges of all kinds? Furthermore, do we believe that he has stopped delivering people from challenges of all kinds?
I believe there are some challenges that God does not want to remain in our lives. Not only do we have to be good at gaining a good perspectives during hard times, we also have to learn how to get out of the hard times. God wants to use our faith to do it. Isn’t that exciting? Here are two scriptural teasers for my next blog that you can meditate on.
1 Thessalonians 2:17,18 But we, brethren, having been taken away from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavored more eagerly to see your face with great desire. Therefore we wanted to come to you – even I, Paul, time and again — but Satan hindered us.
Acts 16:6-7 Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia. After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go to Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them.