Updated: Mar 12
It's tough when we face the uncertain; those days where we don't know how we're going to get over the mountain and rise above the restrictions that challenge our faith. It's tough when we are having to endure struggles and deal with the unexpected. Daily, people have to push through all kinds of challenges - financial, health, relationship and/or career. Loss and heartache are a part of what we as humans experience and have to endure. In times of trouble we often feel empty, alone, purposeless or directionless. Sometimes we have difficulty comprehending the reasons behind the uphill struggle, but the Lord is faithful to the ones who love Him and comes through for us, because He knows what we're going through and what we need before we even as ask Him.
"Do not be like them, (pagans) for your Father knows what you need before you ask him." Matthew 6:8 (NIV)
I have witnessed new converts and seasoned believers alike go through the pains of truly surrendering to the Lord and placing all trust in Him to do what He has promised all along, which is to forgive us, protect and provide for us. This can be difficult in the times when in the natural world we can't see the wood for the trees and things appear hopeless and fruitless. I've been there. What I have found, without fail, however, is that when those challenging times arise is often when the Lord speaks clearest. We might not hear Him immediately because of worry or anxiety about the situation, but, He always speaks to us when we reach out to Him and ask, put down the worry and anxiety and look to Him instead of the problem.
Why the struggles and trials? Because through our struggles we are being brought closer to the Lord. The Lord wants us to lean on Him, to have faith and persevere and settle into the peace He gives us when we lean on Him and accept that He is the authority in our lives and sees what we don't. It is in these times of trial and tribulation that the Lord proves His faithfulness and eternal presence holding us and providing for us. It's also a time of learning to fully trust in the Lord's timing and accept that oftentimes He delivers at the last minute. This is often where our faith is tested. We must always remember that God is faithful, kind and good. He never lies, He cannot! Thus, He will do as He has promised. The lesson is to SURRENDER, TRUST and have FAITH that He's got you.
"What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?" Romans 8:31 (NIV)
Having faith means we let go of worrying about what we're struggling with. We put the worry down and lift up our eyes and focus on the Lord. We look into His eyes and experience the infilling of peace He gives us when we do this. Faith means we BELIEVE the Lord has everything under control and we let go of trying to control the situation from our limited perspective. Doing this grows and strengthens our faith and trust in the Lord. This is faith in action! This action results in joy and peace when we fully accept and believe that no matter what, God Almighty is for us and He will provide whatever it is we need - solutions, breakthrough, clarity, healing, finances etc.
There are two parts of scripture I'd like to share with you as reminders of this. Firstly, the story of Abraham and Isaac. The Lord commanded Abraham to sacrifice his only and dearly loved son, Isaac. Abraham didn't question God, he obeyed. He remembered God promised that the coming Deliver would come through Isaac's bloodline, so he knew God had a plan, and would probably raise him from the dead. However, that's not what God did. When Abraham proved his faithfulness by preparing to sacrifice his son, the Angel of the Lord stopped him as he was about to drive the dagger into Isaac's chest and told him not to lay a hand on the boy, because He knew Abraham feared Him and was obedient. As a result, God provided a ram, caught by it's horns in the thicket, for the sacrifice. Abraham named the place where the sacrifice was to take place "The Lord Will Provide." The Lord blessed Abraham beyond measure after passing this test of faith, and does the same for us! Read Genesis 22:1-18.
The second portion of scripture is from the book of James writing to the twelve tribes scattered among the nations. Thus he is speaking to all people, us included. He tells us to rejoice when we experience trials of many kinds because by our faith being tested we are growing in perseverance. This is part of our maturing process and encourages us to ask the Lord for wisdom so that we can persevere through these times of struggle and testing. Remember, God does NOT tempt us! He tests us. Big difference. Satan is the tempter, not God. James is also warning us that it is vital we BELIEVE that God has heard us and is taking care of business, for without faith we should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. When we're full of fear, worry and doubt, we're like chickens without heads, scrambling and directionless. I know, I've been there. Thus our relationship with the Lord REQUIRES complete and utter faith in Him, no matter how hopeless or crazy the situation appears to us. Think of how insane the situation seemed to Abraham, but he trusted God would keep His promise and had a plan. God gives only what is good and perfect to His faithful and obedient children.