Do you feel like you’re ready to give up on Christianity lately? Do you find yourself wondering whether God even cares about you anymore or anything of what you go through on a day to day basis or even moment by moment? And if He does, why is He silent towards you?
Are you lacking faith today because of questions like these?
Emotions and faith are constantly at war with each other for the coveted captain seat of your life. In other words, emotions will try to point you to a circumstantial downfall instead of allowing faith to give you peace in the calamity. Many people view faith as an emotion when it is not necessarily how you feel but an action, or series of actions, that you take. Emotion, unlike faith, change upon information received instead of remaining assured in the truth. For instance, you could find out one day that you have cancer and might understandably feel anxiety, anger, or depression, when faith would otherwise guide you to the truth that God has ultimate say over human life and that yours is in His loving hands as well.
Faith leads you towards truth when emotions can’t see the truth yet.
God created emotions, and God is an emotional Being. All throughout the Bible you’ll discover God’s feelings of anger or love or amusement. God doesn’t deny his feelings, and neither should you.* However, God never finalizes his decisions based on how He feels at the moment, yet builds His decisions on a foundation of truth. But one question still remains: why is He silent or seemingly absent during your trials and hardship if the Creator of these things is aware of how you feel?
Faith is not a concept you visit, it’s a lifestyle you possess.
In Hebrews 11, it says that God is pleased with people who have faith. Unless living by faith is your modus operandi, or a lifestyle you operate by daily, you’re living a life that is otherwise displeasing to God. So that begs the real question: what is faith? Faith is acting (not saying, feeling, or merely thinking) like God is telling the truth. Many people want God’s blessing and simultaneously call Him a liar. They don’t really believe what He said is true, but yet pretend like they do for the sake of a Christian masquerade. You might be familiar with a phrase “walking by faith” which means it’s got to hit your feet and be an active manifestation in your life. How can you expect God to bless or deliver you from a circumstance if you’re simply playing church and playing religion, but having faith hasn’t really sunk in for you as a real way of life? That’s why faith is such a big deal to God. The only avenue to please Him is to take seriously His integrity and implement it in your everyday life. Simply put, you won’t experience God in your circumstances if you’re living by feelings instead of His word.
So, how do you know you’re living by faith? Well, take a step back and examine your life from an honest perspective. Are you worrying all the time? Are you believing just for believing’s sake, or are you moving in sync with what God says in all areas of your life, such as finances, singleness, marriage and career? Take the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abendago in Daniel 3 for example. King Nebby wanted to throw them in the fiery furnace because the three men wouldn’t worship an erected idol honored by the king. Instead of submitting to idolatry out of fear of being burned to a crisp, the three men stood firm in their faith in God, whether or not God chose to save them from the furnace or not (v. 18). They remembered that God had made a promise long ago to be with those that were loyal to Him, and the three men held onto that promise with their very lives. In the end, God didn’t choose to save them from the furnace. There are often moments in life when God won’t perform a miraculous deliverance from tight spots or devastating circumstances for the purpose of conveying aspects of His will that may otherwise be hidden.
But notice a key event in this passage. When the three men were thrown in the furnace (or, in modern day terms, thrown into situations of bankruptcy, death of a loved one, etc) God remained with them (v. 25). God kept His promise of forsaking not His loyal servants. The point is this: God doesn’t want you to exclusively experience Him in all the good times where the sun is shining and lemonade is free on a hot day. He wants you know Him through the trials as well.
You will experience God in a deeper and more intimate way through hardship and adversity than blessings and perfect moments.
Finally, your faith is only as meaningful as the substance it is tied to. If you have faith in yourself and you tie your own cape on every morning to be your own hero, well, then, what choice does God have but to step out of the way and allow you free will? But those that trust in the Lord find hope and new strength. They will run and not grow weary and they will walk and not faint (Isaiah 40.31).