Some of us have lost our faith slowly, letting it slip away as grains of sand in an hourglass, unnoticed and unrealized until it recedes to a minimum. And there are many who never had a faith to lose. For those proclaiming it, when times get tough and the answer hoped for is not forthcoming from God some begin to doubt the faith they insist they have.
Faith is the foundation of our Christian belief and the main tenet of our church. The strength of that faith relies on how and what we feed it, and most importantly how we react when it is being tested. Many feed it by going to church, doing good deeds, through prayer or generally just being a good person. But, the critical validation will come in the midst of a severe crisis when we most need it to sustain us for it is during times of hardship that doubt can take hold and weaken it. And the truth is, most of us undergo periods when trust in God becomes threatened by Satan, making faith fundamentally and literally inoperative.
Does this mean that my faith is not working, is limited or faulty? Maybe it is so screwed up by life that I cannot believe God really cares about me. What is even more disturbing is that this yardstick measure follows after a dire experience making us believe we cannot find God to ask for help. During these moments when our faith should be at its strongest point it instead loses credibility and strength, leaving us feeling God has abandoned us. Try as we might to get help from God it seems He is silent, uncaring or elsewhere occupied.
How could this happen if we profess to be Christians? The common thought is, "what good is God if you cannot find Him when you need Him in times of trouble"? This reasoning looms large and continues to grow if we cant see anything changing. We become angry with God. We feel betrayed and rejected. Losing faith and certainty that life itself has any great significance intensifies and some people even begin to wonder if there is indeed a God.
Loss of faith can involve questioning ourselves. When our purpose of living is shattered and left in tatters, and there is no meaning to our lives we feel we have lost our mainstay, our all in all for everything we do in this uncertain life. We feel adrift, with no one to care about us. This loss and separation makes us question everything. We become angry and fearful, alienated, full of anxiety and hopelessness for without a sign that Gods hand is in our lives we feel an overwhelming sadness of deception. We feel empty and devoid of joy; joy that has turned cynical, leaving us empty and deflated with a sense of isolation so strong that many times we lose our desire to continue on.
But I believe it is only when we have faced the most drastic suffering in our lives that we can recognize and gain a true revelation of the greatness of our God. It is easy to fall to our knees in gratitude when His answers are as swift to come as we want them, but on the other side of the coin, doubt insidiously sets in when we dont receive our answers immediately. Consider this however: I cannot appreciate God's power if I never get sick and experience the healing touch of His almighty Hand. I can never see His miraculous strength until He opens doors that could not be opened before by any man to let me go through. I could never recognize His mighty love unless He has delivered me from the jaws of death. I would never know my footsteps were faltering on the brink of disaster if He had not changed my course.
God is an unexpected God and His comings and goings cannot be understood by humanity. The belief we as Christians must hold is that He is constant and His promises are steadfast. The longer we wait in trust and faith, the greater His answers can be. If I truly believe and hold steady, I will be able to see His loving kindness that has brought me to this day. I will recognize His Holy Spirit within me buoying my courage and hope when nothing seems to be coming my way. I will be made to see that some of the things I wanted immediately were things that today seem frivolous, if downright dangerous in retrospect.
Our bible is full of afflictions, problems and tribulations. We are not the first to suffer the slings and arrows of an imperfect world. We are not the first to face the hardships of a sin sick earth. But yet, and through it all, God still has the reins. Our Christian character must be forged in the fires of adversity. It is only when we find ourselves in the depths of despair that the stronghold of our faith can begin to shine.
Is your faith real because your pockets are full so it is easy to praise God? Does your faith waver and bend when hard knocks knock at your door? Remember it is only when you have walked through the valleys and shadows of defeat that you can know if your faith has been victorious and true; that your faith can truly be judged and measured worthy.
still and wait upon the Lord.
Never mind that we feel that we have been singled out for unique trials and suffering. Never mind that we feel that we have been chosen for all the bad stuff while your neighbor gets all the good things. Never mind that every single step we take forward, we get pulled ten steps back. Even though these trials seem to frequent our lives, we must keep in mind that God has already warned us our Christian walk with Him would not be a smooth and even path, that we have to be willing to suffer our own little crucifixions. We will see that even as we stumble, His grace and strength is sufficient to hold us up and carry us through.
Remain strong in the face of calamity and plant your feet firmly on the road God set before you with the knowledge that He still is and always will be in control of each and every situation, and nothing that happens He does not know about or allow. Through all lifes baggage, hang on with trust to the hem of Jesus garment, knowing that He will share each and every little thing.
God has told us many times through scripture, Am I not God Who can do everything? With faith believe in it!
God is true and is worthy to be praised forever.
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