1. Faith focuses on God, not on your problems.
A woman told me that she had changed her phone number and left it unlisted because she is gripped with fear as she thinks about certain people and what they might do to her. As we talked together, I finally said, Its time to move from fear to faith. Are you ready to move with me? She smiled hesitantly and then said yes. We prayed, claiming Gods promises of protection. When I saw her the next day she said that she had slept much better that night because she wasnt focusing on her fears.
Think of Abraham. The past argued against his ever having a child. So did the present. His only hope lay in the promises of God for the future. As long as he looked back, he would never have faith to believe God. His only hope was to step out into the future, trusting that somehow, someway God would keep his promises.
2. Faith trusts in Gods timing, not your own.
So many of our struggles with fear start right here. Deep down, we fear that God has somehow made a mistake in his dealings with us. Like Abraham, we have waited and waited-sometimes for years on end. Even though we may have seen many remarkable answers to prayer, the one thing that means the most to us has not been granted.
As I write these words I am thinking of certain people I know who pray faithfully week after week for their loved ones to be saved. Some of them write notes each week asking prayer for an unsaved husband or wife. Week in and week out the requests come in and the staff prays for them faithfully. One husband has been praying for his wife for many years with no real change in sight. Another wife faithfully requests prayer for her husband. Sometimes he seems interested in spiritual things, and then his interest suddenly seems to disappear.
Where is God? Why doesnt he answer the fervent, heartfelt prayers of his people?
Of the many answers that might be given to that question, one answer must be that Gods timing and ours are often quite different.Sometimes it seems like we live in one time zone and God lives in another.
3. Faith grows by believing God in spite of your circumstances.
Sometimes our circumstances make it easy to believe in God; other times we have to struggle. As I write these words I have a friend who is entering the final stages of his battle with cancer. After long and difficult treatments, there is nothing else the doctors can do. He is one of the finest men I know; a man whose gentle spirit endears him to others. No one knows how much time he has left, but it seems to be a matter of a few days. The last time I talked with him, he spoke about the goodness of God. He added that he and his wife had had a long and happy life together and they knew that God would take care of them. His wife said simply, No matter what happens we are trusting in the Lord. Thats biblical faith rising above circumstances to lay hold of the eternal promises of God.
4. Faith obeys God one step at a time.
This principle is often overlooked by those seeking to do Gods will. God promised a child and Abraham desperately wanted to see the fulfillment of that promise. So what does God tell him to do? Round up the animals for a sacrifice (see Genesis 15:9-11). How do you get from there to the nursery? Abraham doesnt have a clue and God doesnt tell him a thing. But Abraham now has a choice. He can choose to obey God, round up the animals, and get ready for a sacrifice, even though it doesnt seem to connect with the son of his dreams. Or he can argue with God or decide to take matters in his own hands.
How often we stumble over this. We slight the near in favor of the far, shirking the duties of today because we are dreaming about some distant tomorrow. But until we have done what God has called us to do today, we will never be prepared for what he wants us to do tomorrow.
In the end 99 percent of life turns out to be humdrum, ordinary routine. Its the same old thing day after day. Yet out of the humdrum God is weaving an unseen pattern that will one day lead us in a new direction. Faith take the next step- whatever it is-and walking with God wherever he leads us. Sometimes it will make sense, other times it wont. But we still have to take that step if we are going to do Gods will.
Can God Be Trusted?
Everything Ive been trying to say comes down to one simple question: Can God be trusted to do what is right? If the answer is yes, then we can face the worst that life has to offer. If the answer is no, then were no better off than the people who have no faith at all. In fact, if the answer is no or if were not sure, then we really dont have any faith anyway.
Submitted by Darlene Quiring a Lover of our Lord Jesus Christ in Mt. Lake Minnesota