In the last week I’ve come across two kinds of believers. The first is an older widow who has walked some challenging roads of life and loss and has become a very special influence and inspiration to me. We were discussing our loved ones who are still resisting God—my husband, her grandson. Our prebelievers.
Her answer is simply it’s a matter of time because we know we are praying God’s will. It’s as simple as that for her. No doubt, no questioning. At some point our prebelievers will step into belief because it’s God’s will.
The other is a gentleman whose wife and he have suffered more loss than I can imagine. He walks the road of faith but I see his discouragement, his despair. His wife turned away long ago. He expressed a kind of “what’s the point” perspective to me in regards to Bible study because it just seemed to make things more difficult.
I could only answer him that as we walk in this world we can know two things. One, this is not our home, and two, the closer we draw to God, the harder the enemy works to pull us away. Even Jesus said we will have trouble in this world, but I confess, at times, like this man, I have wondered how much I will have to endure.
I believe it’s normal for us to have doubts. God does not expect us to have perfect faith. Hebrews 12:2 tells us Jesus is the author and perfecter of our faith. And the key to running this race is the keep our eyes fixed on Him in order to persevere.
Even the man who exclaimed to Jesus that he believed asks Jesus to help him overcome his unbelief in the very same line (Mark 9:24). My translation: “I believe but I want to believe more.” I think this is the path many of us are on, or dare I say all of us?
A while back someone on Twitter replied to my tweet about Big Faith with, “I don’t need to have big faith, I have a big God.”
He’s right, but in a way, he was also wrong. I can’t fully put into words yet what this all means. And I’m not saying our degree of faith determines whether God will answer us or not. That’s completely untrue and if it were, we’d have no stories of how God has met his staunchest resisters with love and acceptance. Or saved the lost ones whom others assumed unsavable.
As I said, God does not expect us to have perfect faith but He does want us to believe Him. Not just in Him but to believe Him when His Word tells us things like not to worry, that He’s with us always and not to be afraid.
Perhaps the difference in these two kinds of believers I mentioned is where their focus is. The first is set on Jesus, the second is fixed on trials. The first is a constant reminder of promise and the second of despair.
In the end, we make the choice of what to believe and what (or Who) to focus on. Think of it like going to see a movie. We can sit in the theater watching the people around us talking or texting during the show, noticing the gum stuck to the seat in front of us, or the garbage strewn on the floor from the last showing. Or, we can focus on the movie playing on the big screen, waiting in anticipation for what’s going to happen next.
Despair or expectation.
When we focus on God we will see miracles, the impossible become possible and faith the size of mustard seeds sprout into the strongest of trees. I know it’s not easy. There are days that I seem to see more of the gum stuck to the floor than the story playing out in front of me. I am so very thankful God is patient with my times of unbelief and waits patiently for me to lift my eyes back up.
The enemy wants us to walk in despair, discouragement and discontent. Then we become the victims of our own bitterness. God desires us to walk in hopeful expectation, truth, and knowledge of Who He is. Then we are no longer defined by our trials but by the confidence of knowing we are totally loved by God and that He is in complete control.
Closing the gap between doubt and belief takes a step of faith, and when we take that step, we release the power of God’s Holy Spirit. And that, my friends, is when we begin to walk in victory and joy!
Praying & believing,