Faith: Blessed Assurance?
I used to struggle with what-you-could-call a weak faith. For years, I lived in doubt, fear, and helplessness. I knew that God was—and is—in charge, but I secretly wondered if He had pushed pause on the remote control and stepped away from my life, momentarily.
In Hebrews 11:1, we learn that “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (ESV). I was in the perfect position to exercise faith because I had not seen God’s goodness—though it was there all along. I was blinded by family strife, marriage troubles, financial struggles, Hurricane Katrina, and a myriad of health problems in my husband. Worry distracted me, stole my joy, and crushed my hope. And my faith was on the fritz.
If your faith is on the fritz, you’re in good company
I lacked faith, but I tried to scrounge it up by willing myself to believe. I was simply desperate to find some way to increase in faith, but all my efforts fell short. In fact, my failure to trust God caused me to focus more on my circumstances and less on Him. Belief was slippery to hold on to.
It was heartbreaking to believe that God loved me—and was seeing me struggle—but was unwilling to help. I just couldn’t accept it, because it didn’t make sense to me.
I felt like Peter.
The disciples didn’t always understand what Jesus was up to and sometimes He really threw them a curve ball. Like when He said, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever; and this bread, which I will offer so the world may live, is my flesh” (John 6:51, NLT).
This conversation about eating the flesh of Jesus really creeped a lot of people out! Many disciples of His began to give up on Him. “Then Jesus turned to the Twelve and asked, ‘Are you also going to leave?'” (John 6:67, NLT).
Simon Peter replied, “Lord, to whom would we go?
You have the words that give eternal life.”
John 6:68, NLT
Just a mustard seed of faith?
Like Peter, I couldn’t understand the Lord, and I wasn’t feeling great about that. But I couldn’t walk away either. I didn’t know it, but this, my friends, was my mustard seed of faith and it would eventually move my mountain of doubt (Matthew 17:20).
God planted a tiny grain of faith in me: a love for Him and a knowledge that I couldn’t live without Him. He gave me the desire to know Him and to reconcile the differences between what my life had taught me and what the Bible taught. I was constantly seeking Him.
Over time, through prayer and with His Word, in the midst of difficulties—rather than in the absence of them—God grew my faith.
And my mustard seed of faith was clear evidence of God’s faithfulness, His care for me. He promises to provide us with all that we need for living the Christian life, including faith (2 Peter 1:3). Faith “is always a gift from God, and never something that can be produced by people…for the believer [faith comes from] ‘God’s divine persuasion.’”
Faith is impossible without the faithfulness of God.
Faith is knowing, deep in your bones, that God is forever faithful, that He is Who He says He is and will do what He has promised to do, even when all the evidence might cause you to doubt. God’s faithfulness is demonstrated by: the sacrifice of Jesus to save us, His people; the deposit of the Holy Spirit within us, as a kind of down payment of the inheritance that waits for us (eternal life); and God’s providence.
God’s Providence, as summarized in the Heidelberg Catechism:
Q. What do you understand by the providence of God?
A. God’s providence is his almighty and ever present power,
(1) whereby, as with his hand, he still upholds
heaven and earth and all creatures,
(2) and so governs them that
leaf and blade,
rain and drought,
fruitful and barren years,
food and drink,
health and sickness,
riches and poverty,
(3) indeed, all things,
come to us not by chance
(4) but by his fatherly hand.
If you love God, but you’re struggling to see Him in the midst of your troubles, don’t worry, He’s faithfully at work. And the very fact that you’re looking for Him is evidence of a seed of faith He’s planted within you, and what God plants will grow.
Remember, the Lord has not pushed pause on the remote control. He promises never to leave you, but to finish the work He started in you, and to work His good plan out in your life (Joshua 1:5; Phil 1:6; Romans 8:28). When you start to feel doubt coming on, remembering Truths like these brings peace in the midst of turmoil. Mustard seed bonus: remembering His faithfulness helps grow your faith in Him.
Next time, part two: His faithfulness leads to our faith, which leads to our faithfulness. I know. Mind blown, right?
Tell me what's on your heart: