No redeemed man desires to be lacking in faith when matters come down to putting circumstances into the hands of God’s providence. To doubt is to depart from the instruction of Hebrews 11:6: “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”
Yet, during uncertain seasons, there are episodes when finding our faith in God’s promises seems like feeling one’s way through the Valley of the Shadow of Death. If you are caught in the no man’s land between faith and fear, rest assured that what seems like a time of failure and doubt is actually a training ground for future perseverance.
The War for Your Faith
Satan schemes day and night to sully the character of God in our eyes. He urges us to draw a dividing line between the recorded history of God—who protected the likes of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego amidst the fiery furnace—and your current estimation of God’s potential to will and to work in your own life. In essence, Satan wants you to be divorced from God’s record of faithfulness.
While effective, Satan’s campaign of character assassination is an archaic tactic. For example, even though Satan is the Father of Lies, we still take his word sometimes when he whispers, “Do you really think God can work in this broken situation?”
On the other hand, God has an altogether unbroken record of inerrancy when it comes to both His Word and the actions of the Great I AM himself. Thus, our God wants us to rest in faith, because He can do nothing but be eternally faithful.
The esteemed military tactician General Carl von Clausewitz once opined in his military treatise On War, “Everything is very simple in war, but the simplest thing is difficult.” To rephrase the General’s aphorism—with faith, the simplest things are often the ones we struggle most to believe. For instance, Jesus is the Author and Finisher of our faith, yet it can be difficult to abide in that fact when we strive to live faithfully on our own accord.
Don’t Take My Word for It; Take It from the Testimonies
Long memories are usually paired with mental images of personal vendettas and unforgiveness, but when it comes to God’s dealings with man, a short memory can be disastrous. Psalm 119:111 chronicles the benefits of having a long-term memory when the conversation comes to God’s faithfulness:
“Your testimonies I have taken as a heritage forever, for they are the rejoicing of my heart.”
Having been reconciled by God’s grace and Christ’s blood, we have also been ushered into a relational covenant sealed through God’s faithfulness from prior to forevermore. To slay the dragon of inner doubt, we can consult the testimonies of God, whether in the Old or New Testaments.
When we have second helpings of God’s faithfulness throughout history, our own faith is bolstered. By consuming the annals of our heritage, we foster our own faith and can move forward in prayer as to how God intends to author another account of faithfulness in our own circumstances.
Authoring Your Own Faithful Heritage
To continue the military metaphors, faith requires attention to detail. With most NFL teams in training camp and playing preseason games, thoughts of the Super Bowl are flooding every team’s front office.
However, before a team raises a Lombardi trophy, it must slog through the two-a-days in August and recalibrate its chemistry in preseason games. In the same way, those of us who desire mighty miracles must trust God in our own “preseasons.”
When we remain loyal to God’s integrity with the seemingly insignificant hindrances—dealing with anything from a flat tire, to a lost wallet, or a frustrating co-worker, etc.—we provide God an opportunity to weave His providence through our lives. Small details left untended often form our strongest snares, and confronting them with faith continually calls us to our heritage in Christ.
Before long, we can look upon the “Red Seas” of our lives—instances like marital or relational struggles, ministry burnout, or looming student debt—with sturdy faith due to our record of trust in terms of the everyday blockades.
And what is the outcome of remembering this heritage I have been speaking of? Martin Luther depicts the inevitable outcome of consistently abiding in Christ, the Author of our Faith.
“Faith is a living, daring confidence in God’s grace, so sure and certain that a man could stake his life on it a thousand times.”
This is our heritage; it precedes us and will continue on without us when we pass. But while we’re here, let us partake of this heritage and put our faith in the God whom we draw our trust from.