Have you ever faced a moment when you felt like you were “losing faith?” Almost always those moments are connected to times when God did not behave as we expected Him to. He didn’t come through “when,” “how,” or “as” we expected. In those times, we face a crisis of belief. Has God let me down? Is what I once believed untrue? Is it less true? And to what degree should I base my faith (belief) upon my experience, or upon the validations or tests that I have constructed for God? If God doesn’t jump through my hoops, do I have permission to give up on Him?
These are tough questions, and, to be sure, many people have walked away from God and rejected faith on the grounds that He didn’t come through in the moment. But I want to challenge you to think more deeply.
Faith, by its very essence, implies “belief in spite of….” Belief in spite of the presence of doubt, fear, etc. If my Christian journey is completely validated by experience, that’s not faith. If everything falls into place and God behaves on cue, like a well-trained pet, that’s not faith. If my feelings (emotions) always abound with positivity which makes it easier to believe or endure, that’s not faith—in fact, it may be something as simple as caffeine or sugar.
Positive emotions are not the substance of faith. Neither are sooner-expected outcomes. Neither is a long list of immediate answers to prayer. No, faith is trusting God when He most confuses me. Faith is believing when God seems the most unbelievable. Faith is letting God be God and admitting that I am not. Above all, faith is not feeling, and feelings are not evidence of faith. Likewise, negative, doubtful, depressed, discouraged, or disappointed feelings are not the evidence of a “loss of faith.” Feeling disappointed with God doesn’t mean you’ve arrived at disbelief.
Faith is a decision based upon rational evidence. It’s not a hopeful feeling. It’s not a control mechanism for problem-solving. It’s not a self-help psycho technique for feeling better. Nope. Faith is all about making a rational decision about what is objectively true outside of you, beyond your circumstances, and in view of eternity. Faith is going to God when your entire being screams “run from Him, give up on Him, be bitter at Him.” Faith is when Job said in Job 13:15, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.”
Job was at rock bottom, but he said, “God can kill me, and I still trust Him and will not change course… I will stay before Him.” This went against every emotion, every rational thought, every temporary view of life. It went against what everyone else was saying to Job. The outcomes are up to God. The purposes are God’s alone. The timeline is only in His hands. The solutions to my problems, answers to my questions, resolutions of my doubts are all His to unfold. Until He does, and even if He doesn’t, I will trust Him.
Faith doesn’t feel. Faith eats feelings for breakfast. Faith says, “God, I’m never giving up on you, even though I sometimes want to.” So today, if you are in a place where you question your own faith and are tempted to walk out on God, rethink it. When you walk away, He’s still God. When you grow bitter, He’s still God. He still reigns. His ways and purposes will still unfold. But one thing is for sure, you will miss Him greatly!
He may be taking His time, but that’s His prerogative, He’s still God. He may not be acting as you wish, but He’s still God. He may not be giving you all the answers you wish for, but He’s still God. Believe or disbelieve, He’s still God.
It is absolutely in your interest to trust Him, and when all is said and done, no one in the universe will question this statement ever again: “He is God, He is for me, and I can trust Him.”