There are times in all of our lives when our faith wavers, when the waves crash over us and we can barely stay afloat, let alone courageously believe. Our emotions become numb and we can find ourselves too discouraged to even think about all of the times in the past when our God saw us through. Yet it is in these fragile moments when doubt and fear grip our heart that we are forced to reconcile what we believe about God and whether or not we will fully trust Him and His Word.
But wait! This isn’t new to God. The Bible is full of examples of people who struggled with everyday situations that put their faith to the test. Often they passed the test, but sometimes they failed. Nevertheless, God continued to love them and to use them in spite of their straying hearts, and He will do the same for you and me when we find it hard to trust Him and believe.
Even when we are too weak to have any faith left
He remains faithful to us and will help us,
for He cannot disown us who are part of Himself,
and He will always carry out His promises to us.
2 Timothy 2:13 NLT
I love the assurance this verse gives that when our faith wanes and we can’t find the strength to believe, God is not offended, insulted, or even tempted to give up on us because our lack of faith will never affect the character of God. No matter what we do or don’t do, He is ALWAYS FAITHFUL and nothing will ever change that. When we know Jesus as our Savior, we belong to Him and He indwells us, He fills us, and He has promised never to leave us or forsake us.
So what do we do when in those moments when our faith is faltering and we are struggling to believe?
- Remember that God’s faithfulness is not contingent on our faithfulness. He knows that we are human and will make mistakes, and He is full of compassion and willing to forgive us. When the Israelites forgot the One Who parted the Red Sea, Who led them through the wilderness, and Who provided mana for them each morning, Scripture tells us that “He being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and did not destroy them. Yes, many a time He turned His anger away, and did not stir up all His wrath. For He remembered that they were but flesh…” Psalm 78:35, 38-39. Does this mean that we can have a casual attitude towards sin in our lives? Absolutely not. But what it does mean is that when we fall, we can find forgiveness and get back on our feet and continue on in our walk with Him.
- Recognize that faith doesn’t come from us; it begins with God. I’m reminded of a story in Mark 9:17-24 of a desperate father who brought his son to Jesus. This son had been possessed by a spirit since childhood that made him unable to speak and caused him to convulse and foam at the mouth. The father had tried everything to help his son but to no avail. His last hope was Jesus. As the father begged Jesus to have compassion on his son, Jesus responded by saying, “Everything is possible to the one who believes.” Immediately, the father of the boy cried out, “I do believe! Help my unbelief.” In that instant, Jesus heard the desperate father’s cry and answered his prayer by rebuking the spirit out of the boy. This story is so encouraging to me, for it shows how God cares for every detail of our lives. He will intervene when there is no other way. Nothing is impossible to those who believe. And perhaps the greatest salve for my weary soul is found in “I believe. Help my unbelief.” I think God knew we would need to know that we can ask Him for the faith to believe. Perhaps that is why He even included this story in Scripture to let us know that when we can’t even muster the strength to find the faith that we need, God will come through and give us the faith to believe. So rather than giving up in those fragile moments of our faith, we can get on our knees and ask our God for the faith to see us through.
- Renewing the heart restores a weakened faith. Oswald Chambers defines faith as the “inborn capacity to see God behind everything.” People with faith see more than the circumstances they are facing; they see God working. So when we lose sight of God’s work in our lives, our faith diminishes and can cause us to drift from what we know is true. That’s why it is so important to renew our minds each day. The Bible says in James 4:8, “Come near to God and He will come near to you.” How encouraging to know that we can come to Him with all of our faults, our imperfections, our inconsistencies, and even our failures, and we can find forgiveness and a fresh start. We don’t have to remain faithless, for we have a God who is faithful and can give us the faith we need to live a faith-filled life for Him.
Lord Jesus, forgive me of the times when I let my circumstances dictate the emotions of my heart and find my faith at the mercy of it all. I don’t want to doubt. I don’t want to fear. And I certainly don’t want anything to come between You and me. Help me to keep my eyes fixed on You and keep my heart so in tune with yours that nothing hinders me from living a faithful life for You.