By Maria Fontaine
I asked myself recently what keeps me steady in times of crisis. What keeps me from giving up and saying, “I don’t want to keep trying,” “I don’t want to give so much,” “I don’t want to care anymore,” “I don’t want my heart broken anymore,” “This burden is too heavy for me to keep carrying.”
What keeps me from doubting God’s promises when all of my faults and failures hang over me like a black cloud and my feelings threaten to overwhelm me? When I don’t know if I can cope, what keeps me from giving in to that feeling?
If the answer is faith, how does it work? What can I do to have more faith? And then, what does that faith do for me?
As I pondered these questions, some answers came to me—answers that are like jewels in a treasure chest that I can dip into when my faith needs a boost. Here are three of them:
Reminding myself of God’s promises puts me back on solid footing.
If faith is believing God, what am I believing Him for? Generally, it’s that things are going to turn out all right eventually. Specifically, I usually believe something He has said, some specific promise He has made that fits my particular situation at the time. Here are three examples, which I committed to memory many years ago and which have always stood firm:
“Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.” (Psalm 34:19)
“No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)
“Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.” (Psalm 55:22)
My faith in God’s promises has strengthened me and brought me through many difficulties. I feel like I have every reason to keep trusting Him through trying times, because He hasn’t failed me in the past. In His time, He has always pulled me through, answered my questions, given me peace of heart and mind, healed my body, or directed me.
I know He’s not going to go back on His Word; He said so. It doesn’t matter what my circumstances are; I choose to put my trust in Him, to keep believing that He has the power to change things.
“There has not failed one word of all His good promise.” (1 Kings 8:56)
“Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” (Numbers 23:19)
Knowing that tough experiences put me in a position to better help others encourages me to keep going.
God doesn’t spare us from all trials and tribulations or deliver us from them immediately. Rather, He comforts us as we pass through them—and He does so “that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” (2 Corinthians 1:4)
Even if that were the only reward for endurance, it would be worth it. I can’t think of anything that is more satisfying and fulfilling than helping to bring about wonderful, lasting change in the lives of others by passing on that treasure, that assurance that God is with them in their trouble and will see them through as surely as He has me.
Remembering that patience pays off helps me have more of it.
Thomas à Kempis wrote, “There is no means of escaping from tribulation and sorrow except to bear them patiently.” That may be true, but on its own it isn’t a very happy thought. When we’re in the middle of a crisis, we need to know that the struggle will be worth it. God gives us that assurance. “Count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience,” James the apostle wrote. “But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” (James 1:2–4)
And consider what Paul the apostle, who suffered more than most of us, was able to say: “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:18) Besides pointing us to the gloriously happy ending, Paul reminds us that our sufferings are for “this present time.” They aren’t going to last forever.
So that’s another thing that helps me “continue in the faith, grounded and settled.” (Colossians 1:23 KJV) I know from experience that the feelings of turbulence, disappointment, or sadness will pass. In the end, I will come out stronger and better for the experience.
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Seeds of faith are always within us; sometimes it takes a crisis to nourish and encourage their growth.
—Susan L. Taylor
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