Authored by Tina Kapp
It’s second nature for some people to have faith and show trust in God. They somehow see the good in difficult people or trying situations. To them, the glass is always half full. You’ll often hear them say things like, “God will supply,” and, “Don’t worry, things will work out.” Upon meeting a person like this for the first time, you’d probably think their life was pretty peachy—with very little problems and everything going their way.
It might surprise you, though, to discover that people with such exemplary personalities didn’t necessarily become faith-filled and positive because life floated along like a song. Many people have taken on this nature as a result of facing difficult, trying, sometimes heartbreaking and painful circumstances, and choosing to wait to see how the Lord would come through for them—even though it sometimes took a while.
They may have fought battles with their health, or watched their children battle an enduring sickness, or lost a loved one. Whatever it was, these faith-filled people came out strong, courageous, and compassionate. I take my hat off to them. They gave life and meaning to the word faith and showed me that no matter how bad things get, the Lord will be there to help me through; all I have to do is hold on to Him and to that faith I have received through His Word, which will keep doubts and discouragement away.
God promises in Romans 8:28, “All things work together for good to them that love God.” It took me a while to realize that the verse doesn’t say, “All things are always good” but that, “All things work together for good.” To me, that means that even though bad things do happen to all of us, God works it into the story of our lives to bring out the best results. When I take this approach in life, I also realize that we can’t thank Him for all the good in our lives and then blame Him for the bad things. It means we can trust Him through the bad and be absolutely confident that He’ll make our difficulties become something good, or through them bring something good into our lives.
The Bible is so full of examples of this principle, and I think it’s because God wanted to get His point across. Here are two of my favorites:
You have Job, who tried to be an upstanding citizen till Satan received the green light from God to test him. His aim was to prove to God that Job’s faithfulness and trust in Him was all fluff. But as you know, that all backfired on Satan, and God won that bet hands down. After all Job went through, I don’t think he went on business as usual. I like to think he became a wiser, more compassionate, understanding man, who rather than being so proud of his righteousness, now actually appreciated and took time for his family and friends. Most of all, his love and trust in God meant so much more than they had before, as they had gone through the ultimate test.
Then there is King David—a serious “rags to riches” story. Imagine for a second that your big career plan was to be a shepherd, which from my vast knowledge (and vivid imagination) of shepherding amounted to watching sheep eat for hours, fighting off the odd life-threatening beast, and fiddling on your harp. Then suddenly, you’re hitting the big time: you get anointed king; kill a giant in front of two armies, the king, and big brothers; and become best buddies with the prince. At that point if David was all like, “Yeah, God’s really great and stuff,” you’d know it was easy for him to say.
However, reality hit later on when he nearly lost the kingdom (a few times), had his own son betray him, and had to face God’s punishments for some seriously bad choices. You know that when he praised God after that, he was doing it from a place where he had experienced major ups and downs and knew exactly what it meant to trust God through everything.
I was reading some verses in Psalm 86 where King David says to the Lord, “For you are great and do marvelous deeds; you alone are God. I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever. For great is your love toward me; you have delivered me from the depths, from the realm of the dead.”1 In that chapter he’s desperately praying yet again for God to deliver him from his enemies, but he also knows and is confident in God’s protection and care for him, so that his faith is not shaken but is stronger than ever.
Faith is compared to gold in the Bible. And like gold, faith has high value. Faith that depletes when it is tested would be like having a currency with little or no value, which would be pretty useless. But like gold, faith is precious, rare, costly, and lasts a lifetime.
The novel, The Shack, written by W. Paul Young, has also helped me to put things in perspective. It helped me to better understand that while the Lord uses challenging and sometimes painful situations to make us stronger, wiser, and more loving, it doesn’t mean He is the cause of these bad events. The character of God in this man’s story, whom he affectionately calls Papa, says, “Just because I work incredible good out of unspeakable tragedies doesn’t mean I orchestrate the tragedies. Don’t ever assume that my using something means I caused it or that I need it to accomplish my purposes. That will only lead you to false notions about me. Grace doesn’t depend on suffering to exist, but where there is suffering you will find grace in many facets and colors.”
In my own life, I can look back at situations and events that weren’t easy to experience, or that I definitely wouldn’t want to relive again, but I realize that if I hadn’t gone through the tough times I would have missed some of the wonderful things that I gained along the way. Having this knowledge and experience has strengthened my faith and given me the assurance that no matter what emotional storms I go through, I know the sun is behind it waiting to shine through and give me exactly what I need to move forward with grace and strength, ready to face whatever else life throws at me.
Faith is knowing that God is looking out for you and that He won’t ask you to do more than what you’re capable of, which, when God is by your side, means there is nothing you can’t do.2
Patrick Henry was the governor of Virginia in the 1700s. He was also an attorney, an orator, and a politician, and together with his cousin he owned a 10,000-acre plantation. He’s mostly remembered for his “Give me liberty or give me death” speech. But I read a quote of his the other day which shows how highly he valued faith in the Lord above all his other accomplishments. He said, “I have now disposed of all my property to my family. There is one thing more I wish I could give them, and that is the Christian religion [faith]. If they had that and I had not given them one shilling, they would have been rich: and if they had not that, and I had given them all the world, they would be poor indeed.”3
1 Verse 10–13, New International Version
2 Philippians 4:13
Read by Stephen Larriva. Music by sindustry(CC). Copyright© 2013 by The Family International