"How Strong is Our Faith?"

Life is full of uncertainties, questions, and things that don't make sense. Very often, circumstances halt our forward motion--or at least slow us down. One element that is often overlooked in the struggles of life is the power of faith. Some people think that faith is a crutch, and others never fully realize its power. While it is not easy, faith is the anchor that helps you weather life's storms.

Some structure their lives to feel they are in complete control. They may plan, make lists, organize, watch for potential obstacles, and work to circumvent them before they materialize. But the sense of being in control of our life is merely an illusion. Perhaps in your work, you agreed to a project or took on a new position prior to finding out you have a major health issue. Perhaps you made a large expenditure that almost depleted your savings and then were suddenly hit with a job termination. Circumstances occur that are beyond our control, and when we feel ourselves in a tailspin of lost control, we are in the perfect position to put faith and trust in God for the outcome.

Many people are doers. When crises come, an attempt to do something to fix or change what is happening feels like we have made progress. Doubt is the biggest deterrent to faith. Yet doubting is inherent in believing what we can't see.

Fear joins forces with doubt, and we say, "There is no hope," or "This can't be resolved."

Faith says, "Hope exists," "There is a way through this," and "God is walking with me." Trusting God involves believing that the One we can't see or touch is real and working on our behalf.

"Faith" is one of those words that is commonly used but not very often understood. Some of this confusion comes from the many different ways the word "faith" is used in our everyday conversation. Dictionary.com gives seven different uses of the word "faith". One common way people use the word is to refer to a belief in something despite lacking any evidence. The closest the Bible comes to offering an exact definition is found in Hebrews 11:1: "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." From this passage, we see that the central feature of faith is assurance or trust. From the scriptures, we learn that the object of faith is God and His promises. An example is Abram's encounter with God as found in Genesis. In response to God's promise of countless descendants, Abram believed in the Lord, and He counted it as righteousness. In commenting on this, the Apostle Paul writes in Romans 4:20-22,

"He (Abraham) staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; and being fully persuaded, that what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness."

Thus, faith means putting your trust in God and having confidence that He will fulfill His promises.

Faith requires living in the current circumstances without knowing the ultimate outcome. We have all experienced those situations where we have to trust someone else to diagnose and come up with the best treatment plan for an illness, perform surgery, provide safe passage, relay a message, or repair something. Sometimes, the person we place faith in has let us down. They fail to deliver what they promised or what meets our expectations.

What about those bigger issues in our lives-- those things that seem impossible? Perhaps sometimes it feels like God lets us down because He does not answer prayers in our time frame or with the answers we want to hear. Many of us abandon our faith when circumstances are difficult and answers are slow in coming. Learning to trust takes practice. If you employ faith as you wait for solutions, you will experience spiritual growth and peace.

Genuine biblical faith expresses itself in everyday life. James 2:17 says, "Even so faith, if it have not works is dead, being alone." Faith works through love to produce tangible evidence of its existence in our lives (Galatians 5:6). Put another way, the obedience that pleases God comes from faith (Romans 1:5; 16:26) rather than a mere sense of duty or obligation.

Faith is so important because it is the means by which we have a relationship with God. "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; but it is a gift of God" (Ephesians 2:8). Faith is how we receive the benefits of what Jesus has done for us. He lived a life of perfect obedience to God, died to pay the penalty for our sinful rebellion against God, and rose from the dead to defeat sin, death, and Satan. By putting our faith in Him, we receive forgiveness for our sins and the promise and hope of eternal life. Faith means relying completely on who Jesus is and what He has done to be made right with God.