“Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?” –Jesus, as quoted in John 11:44 NKJV
When her husband, Jim, was speared to death by the Auca Indians he was trying to reach with the Gospel, Elisabeth Elliot, who’d just turned 29 a month earlier, was left with a 10-month-old daughter.
Yet Elisabeth didn’t pull up stakes and return to the US. She remained in Ecuador, living among and ministering to the Quichua tribe, continuing the work she and Jim began. She chose believe God, His Word, and His promises, despite the circumstances. In time, she served as a missionary to the very tribe that killed her husband.
While scant few believers will ever experience a trial by fire like Elisabeth did, we all eventually come to a point where we feel faith has failed us.
When are those times?
When others fail you. You’ve been betrayed, lied to, used by someone you trusted. Or perhaps someone made a promise – sincere at the time – they didn’t fulfill. More than once.
Check on where your faith resides.
Remember King David. He was betrayed over and over throughout his life – by close friends, by his own son. He chose not to become bitter, but to forgive and move on. That didn’t mean he trusted those who failed him. It means he chose to acknowledge we humans are an imperfect lot. I know I’ve failed others many times. I’m thankful for grace, mercy, forgiveness, and second chances.
David knew where he could put his faith and it wouldn’t fail him: “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man” (Psalm 118:8). God will never let you down.
Another time your faith falters is when you don’t get what you ask for in prayer. Your requests to the Almighty aren’t answered when and how you think they should. Or you think they haven’t been answered at all.
Ask yourself: Is my faith in prayer – or in the One who hears and answers? God will never let you down. Your loving Father knows what is best for you. His answers are always exactly what and when you need them.
Remember Psalm 5:3: “In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.”
Another time faith may fail is when you don’t get the promised rewards for your obedience. You’ve given your time, talent, and treasure to God, to the church, to worthy causes, often at great sacrifice, expecting the windows of heaven to open and a blessing so great, you don’t have room enough to receive it (Malachi 3:10).
Yet the windows remain firmly shut and your coffers empty.
Check your motives. Are you obeying out of love for God or for the rewards you want?
Maybe you’ve received your rewards, but you just can’t see them. Look again. This time with eyes opened by divine perspective.
Who says all our rewards are monetary, material? What about good health? What about receiving just what you need when you need it? What about the respect of others? A good reputation? The love of your spouse and children? A roof over your head? Food on the table? Enough money in the bank to pay the bills (sometimes just enough)? A cup of tea (or coffee) with a friend? Eyes to see the sky in all its moods, the sun as it rises and sets, the birds at the birdfeeder? Ears to hear the wind in the trees, the gurgling of a brook, the roar of the ocean . . .
Blessings are all around us, if only we have the eyes of faith to see them.
Remember: “My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory” (Philippians 4:19 NKJV, emphasis mine).
Others will fail you, prayers won’t get answered when and how you want them to, and you won’t always get what you think you deserve.
But our faithful God will never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5). And that’s a promise you can count on.
Lord, I believe! Help my unbelief. Increase my faith. Amen.
Read and meditate on John 11:1–44
© 2018 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.