Where does your faith and trust come from?

"Hi Sunny, I found your blog not too long ago and I am amazed at your heart for the Lord. I am no where even close to feeling what you feel for God. It always seems to be a struggle for me. It is a long story.

As I read your post in regard to your husband's diagnosis I noticed at the bottom you included this statement in regard to yourself, "in addition to of all that the Lord has chosen for me regarding my health", I have to admit I was amazed to see that. In regard to your statement I wonder if you can explain to me how you came to the place of knowing that your illness is something God has chosen for you? Can you tell me where you found Scripture in regard to this so I can see it and perhaps apply it in my own situation although mine is quite different from yours in that I have constant pain and no diagnosis. It is scary sometimes, yet you seem to have peace. I guess I haven't learned to trust God very well. Blessings to you and thank you for sharing your faith the way you do.
~ L"

Dearest sister L,

Thank you so much for writing and sharing your heart with me.

First, I’d like you to know that I am saddened to hear about your condition sister and have been praying for you every since I received your email. Second, I pray that Lord God will give me words of comfort and relief, imparting much grace to you sister, so that your faith may be built up and your hope in God restored.

You asked where in Scripture I have found the confidence to say that God has “chosen” these past 7 years of illness for me and how you may also apply these same Scriptures to your life and your situation.

Here are some of the Scriptures the Lord has graciously provided for me:

Psalm 139:16
“Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”

Job 2:10
“But he said to her, ‘You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?’ ”

Psalm 73:24-26
“You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

Romans 8:28-29
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.”

1 Corinthians 4:16-18
“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”

There are many more, but I believe these will suffice for the purpose of confirming that God is truly sovereign and nothing happens in our lives without His choosing or consent and that the greatest good in our lives is to have the privilege of being conformed into the perfect image of His Son, Jesus Christ, the Lord and Master of our souls.

In all the above Scriptures, God has spoken plainly to His children in regards to His unfailing love, mercy and abundant grace that is poured out to us from His glorious riches through Christ Jesus our Lord (Ephesians 1:17-23).

You specifically asked where this faith and trust I have in the LORD came from. My faith itself and the measure of it came from God (Romans 12:3) – both the faith necessary for salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9) and the spiritual gift of faith (1 Corinthians 12:9). For those whom the Lord hasn’t chosen to give the spiritual gift of faith, may request an increase, as our Father God generously provides all things in Christ to those who ask with a humble and genuine heart. If our almighty Father God has generously given us His one and only begotten Son, is there any good thing God would withhold from us if we ask?

As far as how I came to trust God the way I do…well, it came mostly from reading, studying and meditating on His word, and believing Him. The rest of it came from seeing His word fulfilled without fault, in every aspect of my life.

God taught me at a very young age that whether I suffer persecution or any physical trial that is common to all, His love for me is far greater than the pain of any suffering; and that no suffering of any person will ever be greater than the pain in which my Savior, Christ Jesus the Lord, suffered in my stead.

My great trust and deep abiding faith was cultivated through the fires of many adversities in my life, in which the LORD God, in His great wisdom and sovereignty chose/allowed. Though at the time I could not say what I am saying now with the same measure of confidence and gratitude towards God, I now see myself more soberly as I meditate more on God’s glory and less on my circumstances.

I think most often, we become disgruntled with God or lose our faith in Him, because we do not view God as He has revealed Himself to us through His word. Instead, it seems many people, whether Christians or non-Christians, tend to hold a view of God that is contrary to who He says He is. In other words, we’ve made an idol to worship, attached the name “Jesus” to our idol and then say things like, “Well, my god would never allow such evil or painful things to happen.” And honestly, that statement is true because that god is a false god and is void of any power. On the other hand, my God, the one and only true living God is all powerful and states clearly in His word that He never promises that His children will not encounter storms in their lives (John 16:33). Instead He promises that when the storms come, no matter how scary, violent or horrendous they may be, He is more powerful than all storms and will safely see you to the other side.

I’m not perfect and I too, from time to time have forgotten this truth; much like the disciples in Mark 4:35-40. In this passage, the disciples were terrified of the great storm that came upon them as they sailed to the “other side”. Now, these were seasoned fishermen, who had undoubtedly endured many fierce storms in their lifetime. So I am sure, this was no usual storm that caused such fear in these men. But after Jesus rebuked the wind and the sea, He also rebuked the disciples, stating that they had no faith because they were afraid. On the surface, this seems to be a harsh rebuke from the Lord, but since we know that the Lord is not harsh with us, we must search deeper so that we might know and understand Him better. Why did our Lord Jesus question their faith? Well, because the disciples forgot two essential things the Lord already told them.

  • He, God, will be traveling in the boat with them; they will not be left alone.
  • He, God, said, “Let us go across to the other side.” He did not say, “let us try to go to the other side.”

Like the disciples, I have had times when my faith is weak and my trust is questionable, not because God is weak or because His word is questionable, but only because I forget what He’s already said and what He’s already done. And why does this happen? Because I forget to do one very simple thing…daily – give God thanks in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18) and view my life from an eternal perspective.

The lack of gratitude for God’s promise that He will never leave us nor forsake us, and the lack of remembering that God has said and proven that He always gets His people to the “other side”, breeds weak faith.

So what are some practical ways you can apply the above Scriptures to your life so that your faith may be strengthened? I've listed below, some things I do to "work out my faith" (Philippians 2:12) and remain steadfast in the Lord:

  1. Feed your eternal spirit (read/mediate on Scripture) at least as often as you feed your temporal body (a minimum of 3 times per day)
  2. Give God your first fruits by starting the day in thanksgiving, prayer and listening intently to His counsel through His word and worship Him in spirit and in truth
  3. Look for opportunities to live out all that He is faithful to teach you. Be intentional. Don’t wait for opportunities to hit you over the head, seek them out and find someone to bless each day
  4. Seek out occasions in which you can practice humility
  5. When trials come your way, ask God two things: a) What lesson can I learn from this Lord? b) How can I use this experience to honor you and bring you glory?
  6. End each day, repenting of any sins and thanking God for His faithfulness and mercy as you recount all His goodness to you.
Most merciful and gracious Father God in Heaven, please help my sister and others out there who feel the same as she does. Give them the faith you have given me and impart to them the same comfort and rich blessings you have bestowed upon me. I know that I am not better or more deserving than others, so Father, please I pray, give to them as you have given to me, for with You, there is no favoritism. Strengthen their weak faith Lord and graciously teach them Your way. With great love and gratitude in Christ, I thank You Father. Amen.